Tips For A New Year’s Running Resolutions

A woman running against a backdrop of trees

By John A. Tures, Professor of Political Science, LaGrange College

It’s the time where people start to think about their New Year’s Resolution, and running is among the most common plan for the year. In fact. I found 383 million hits on Google for running matched with New Year’s resolutions. Here are some tips to help you run throughout the whole year, rather than just maybe the first month.

I am not a guru and I don’t have a fitness product to hawk. I’m someone who took it up so I would be in better shape for recreational league soccer that my classmates and professors played in graduate school. I bought a pair of tennis shoes and just started running.

Here’s my first tip. Don’t just buy a pair of tennis shoes. Get a real pair of running shoes. Asics, Brooks, and Hoka are some of the best I have worn. There are probably some other good brands. Yes, they cost a little more, but they are worth it. I’ve had them last awhile, even after I switch running shoes, and wear these every day. Get them from a running shoe store, especially those with pros who can look at your style, and make good recommendations. I’ve had success with Dick’s Sport Goods, and Play It Again Sports too. Wear the shoes around, and see how they feel when you jog up and down some aisles. Change them out at least once a year. I wear the old ones casually around the house and yard for a few years afterwards.

For my second tip, get the right gear to wear. Starting in the winter seems almost like a cruel joke for new runners, but there will be warm days as well as the cool days. Runners are always watching the weather channel, planning the timing of their jogs. I run at Planet Fitness when the weather is too rainy or freezing but a gym with treadmills will do. For days when you have to be outside, get a ski hat and gloves, and don’t bundle up too much. Dri-fit long sleeves shirts work as well for me. I recommend a cap and short-sleeve dri-fit in the summer, and make sure you don’t jog in the worst of the heat; go early in the morning or later in the evening. If you’re running at night, get a light so you can see your way, and not trip and injure yourself.

Build up slowly when you start. Don’t go too long, too fast, too many times. I started at a mile and a modest pace, then worked my way up. Now I run a 5k (five kilometers or 3.1 miles) every other day, and don’t push myself hard unless I have a race in a week or two. Think of the long game. You’ll catch up with other runners in due course. For longer races like a half-marathon or marathon, you’ll need a running plan and schedule to last a few months. Don’t think about those until you’ve run for a few years.

Get with a group of runners who are of similar speed. They’ll likely help you keep pace, and make it a great social event. You might meet them at a race (Run Georgia lists several). I would run for a few months before competing in such any run, like a 5k. Use that in the Spring to set your baseline pace, and then compete with yourself, trying to set a p.r. (personal record) or p.b. (personal best) as some call it. Some even have awards for age groups, which are nice. But make the joy of running the reason for it all.

Don’t focus on it as a means simply to lose weight. Proper eating habits (good foods, no snacking, plenty of water) will establish that. On days I run for a 10k or while training for a half-marathon, I’ll simply eat more to compensate. You may lose weight in the process of running, but most people I know who run only to lose weight don’t last long.

Finally, listen to your body carefully. Don’t do what you can’t do. I know runners who quit because they get injured all of the time. Take care of yourself and realize those ankles, heels and knees aren’t bulletproof. Heal from injuries slowly, over time. Go for the long game with a goal to keep running, rather than attain insurmountable speeds or distance. As someone who has been running for the last 25 years will tell you, it’s one of the smartest decisions I ever made.

John A. Tures is a professor of political science at LaGrange College in LaGrange, Georgia. His views are his own, and do not speak for LaGrange College faculty, students, staff or administration. He can be reached at His Twitter account is JohnTures2.