31 Free, Fit, and Fun Things to Do in January for a More Inspired 2018
Hello, January, the month when we're supposed to set resolutions—but when we also battle things like cold snaps and bomb cyclones. If you need some help progressing toward your #ResolveToRun goals, check out our list of 31 tips with free, totally feasible things to do to keep motivation high this month—and throughout 2018. Use it for crafting your resolutions, shaking the winter blues, and keeping money in your wallet.
1) Write down your goals.
Whether you pen them in a training journal or share them in a social media post, record your running and fitness goals for the year. Hey, Shalane Flanagan did it, and look how that turned out!
2) Start a running streak...
Don’t worry, it doesn't make you permanently compulsive. Streaking can give your running structure and meaning during periods of stress and distraction, like vacations and holidays, or times when you might otherwise skip your run due to external factors—too cold, too dark, too busy, etc. Go easy on yourself: Attempt just one or two miles per day at any pace that works for you.
3) …Or a strength-training streak.
Plank challenge, squat challenge—whatever you choose, know that it’s something you can anytime, anywhere, no gym membership required. Not sure where to start? Try a push-up progression, where you begin with one pushup (or any strength-training move of your choice) and do just one on the first day of your streak, then add one each day. Work your way up to 25, 50, or even 365!
4) Earn NYRR race entries through myNB Rewards
As a myNB Rewards member, you'll earn points to put toward exclusive NYRR rewards that will help you stick to your New Year’s resolution. The more you shop, connect, or even work out, the faster you’ll earn NB points for upcoming rewards, including entry to United Airlines NYC Half and SHAPE Women’s Half-Marathon. Register for free at newbalance.com.
5) Register for a virtual race—the first one's on us!
In case you missed it, we just launched NYRR Virtual Racing Hosted by Strava and we’re excited for you to give it a try—for free. Sign up for the NYRR Virtual Resolution Run 5K and complete 3.1 miles anytime now till January 15.
6) Attend a class at the NYRR RUNCENTER featuring the New Balance Run Hub.
RUNHealthy Yoga, #ResolveToRun Group Runs, NYRR Family Running Class—there’s a lot going on at the NYRR RUNCENTER this month, and it’s all free! Check out the full schedule of programming and reserve your spot in a class today.
7) Check out NYRR Open Run.
NYRR Open Run brings free weekly runs to 13 neighborhood parks across NYC. Visit openrun.nyrr.org to find a park near you and join us for a 5K. Bring friends and family—everyone is welcome at Open Run!
8) Fill your social feeds with inspiration.
Finding motivation could be as easy as following a few new faces on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram. From hilarious professional athletes...
To those who might train a little differently than you do...
To those who will inspire you to run in all conditions…
To TCS New York City Marathon vets who might tempt you to run 26.2...
There’s a little something for everyone out there.
9) Inspire your friends to get moving.
Speaking of social media, keep tabs on the hashtag #ResolveToRun and use it when you share your progress toward your 2018 running goals. You’ll encourage your friends to get moving with you in the new year.
10) Go through your gear.
Ever skip a workout simply because you couldn’t find your favorite running tights or because you forgot to toss socks into your gym bag? Don’t wait to “spring clean” your running gear—do it now. Get your running clothes and accessories organized, and donate what you don’t use to Goodwill. Start laying out your running gear—or packing it in your gym bag—the night before, and you’ll be one step closer to following through with the next day’s workout.
11) Add some new recipes to your routine.
Whatever you’re resolving to do with your diet in 2018, you’re probably in search of some new recipes to help you eat cleaner and order takeout less often. If you’re overwhelmed by the volume of recipes that show up in a Google search, check out the websites and blogs of names you know and trust. Mark Bittman puts his favorite recipes on his website, for example, while a sampling of TCS New York City Marathon champ Shalane Flanagan’s Run Fast, Eat Slow recipes can be found at runnersworld.com and on the Run Fast, Eat Slow blog.
12) Squeeze in a living-room workout.
Can't make it through one more "dreadmill" workout this winter? Try a quick indoor cardio session. NYRR coach Melanie Kann suggests this 30-minute routine, which takes advantage of the stairwell in your NYC apartment building.
- Warm up with 1 minute each of the following:
- March in place with high knees and arms pumping in opposition
- Jog in place, continuing with high knees and arms pumping in opposition
- Jog in place, kicking your heels up behind you
- Jumping jacks
- Deep squat into a jump
- Next, head to the stairwell in your building. Starting at the bottom floor, run up five to six flights of stairs at an effort level of seven on a scale of one to ten. You should feel out of breath, but still be able to speak. Walk down to recover. Repeat this routine for 20 minutes.
- Conclude the workout by repeating the first five minutes in reverse order (start with squat jumps, end with marching in place).
13) Use the NYRR RUNCENTER as your gym.
Need somewhere to stash your stuff while you run in Central Park? Use one of the 78 day-use lockers at the NYRR RUNCENTER, open 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Saturday, and 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Sunday. Our community running space also has changing rooms and restrooms, a water bottle refill station, phone charging stations, and free Wi-Fi.
14) Make number pickup a breeze with the NYRR app.
Free in the App Store and on Google Play, the NYRR app stores your QR code and makes number pickup fast and easy—no searching through your inbox for your race confirmation email. You can also use the app to register for most NYRR races and browse upcoming events at the NYRR RUNCENTER.
15) Stay hydrated the high-tech way.
Sure, it's cold, but you still need plenty of water throughout the day to support your miles. For help remembering to refill your water bottle, try a free water-tracking app like Waterlogged. Fitbit's free app also tracks hydration.
16) Run a route that’s a work of art.
Download Strava (it's free) and use the Strava Route Builder to map out a route that sends a message like "happy 2018" or one that resembles your favorite animal. Bonus: you can earn myNB Rewards points for logging miles with Strava.
17) Switch up your routine.
Always run indoors on the treadmill? Take your run outside for a day. Always run on asphalt? Try a track workout or hit the trails. Run your favorite route in the opposite direction for a new perspective. Or switch up the time of day you typically run. That sunrise or sunset could be a game changer.
18) Try a fartlek—it's Swedish for "speed play."
Run and walk, run and jog, your call! Run hard for one minute, then jog or walk for one minute; repeat the cycle a few times for a quick and easy workout. You can play around with the timing, too—maybe three minutes "on" and one minute "off"—it's up to you!
19) Have a movie night with Meb.
‘Tis the season to hide inside, and if you’re going to binge-watch something, why not make it something that will motivate you to get moving? We love MEB: The Home Stretch, a five-episode look at the running legend’s journey from a village in Eritrea to triumphs on the streets of New York City and Boston. You can stream all the videos for free at runnersworld.com.
20) Volunteer at an NYRR event.
Get your +1 credit toward our 9+1 program for guaranteed entry to the TCS New York City Marathon out the way early, meet like-minded people in the running community, and snag a front-row seat to see your running heroes in action. View open opportunities in your My NYRR account.
21) Get all your running questions answered.
Join the NYRR coaching staff on Facebook every Wednesday from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. for a live chat. These hour-long chats are an open forum, allowing you to have a Q&A session with our experts without having to leave your home or office.
22) Make your workout feel more like a game.
Get a deck of cards and a friend (or three) and do push-ups or sit-ups based on the number of the card you draw; continue until you've gone through the whole deck. No cards? Check out a free app called Sweat Deck.
Not sure what distance to run on a given day? Roll some dice and run the number of miles (or kilometers) that you come up with.
23) Literally run your errands.
Need to log some miles but also have something like grocery shopping on your to-do list? Take a jog to each spot on your list, in what we like to call "er-run-ds." Take public transportation back if you’re loaded down with bags. Or run home from work if that’s an option for you.
24) Run with somebody new...
Always run with the same crew? Branch out and run with somebody you’ve never logged miles with before. They'll help bring something new to your workout, whether it’s a new route, a new pace, or a fresh perspective on how to pass the miles. Bonus points if you encourage somebody to run for the first time. Who knows, you could have a new race buddy by spring!
25) ...Or have a "satellite run” with a friend in another town.
Decide on a time and distance, call or text your friend when you get to your starting location, then run. When you’re done, compare notes.
26) Run with a club.
Most let you try out their group workouts before paying a membership fee, while others don’t charge a membership fee at all. Use our Local Clubs page to find a group that’s right for you.
27) Show your local park some love.
Check your local park’s website for free fitness classes and activities for the whole family. Live in one of NYC's five boroughs? Head to nycgovparks.org to get started.
28) Sign up for an NYRR Central Park Running History Tour.
After leaving the NYRR RUNCENTER, coaches will guide you at a comfortable (~10:00 min/mile) pace past various landmarks significant to New York City’s running history, including the "Imagine" mosaic, the Fred Lebow statue, and the iconic TCS New York City Marathon finish line. Learn more and reserve your spot on the next tour.
29) Tap into meditation.
Meditation can help runners by boosting focus during long-distance events like marathons and ultra-marathons. If you're still feeling iffy about it, check out the app Headspace. Learn the basics for free and read up on how to meditate your way through a marathon.
30) Get more sleep.
If you can't rearrange your schedule to immediately accommodate catching more Zs, build in more sleep time gradually: Set a goal to go to bed 15 minutes earlier each night. Stop when you get to a bedtime that allows you to get the amount of shut-eye you need to feel your best.
31) Apply for a spot in the TCS New York City Marathon.
Is this your year?! The 2018 TCS New York City Marathon application will be open from January 15 to February 15, 2018, with the drawing to follow on February 28, 2018. Enter the drawing for free, or claim your guaranteed entry.