Each year it feels like time seems to fly by even faster than before, and 2018 certainly felt like it went by in a blink of an eye. But at the same time, 2018 was filled with plenty of running, fitness goals, challenges, changes, consistency and everything in between.
Before the New Year begins, I always enjoy spending some time reflecting on the past year. It’s easy to forget everything that happened earlier in the year with all the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, so I always make a point to designate some time to reflect.
Taking time to reflect and remember help me really focus in on what worked throughout the year, adjust my strategy for the new year, and give me some extra motivation to improve.
It’s easy to get swept up in the moment and forget everything that was accomplished in the past 365 days. Before 2019 kicks off, I’m sharing some of my favorite running tips and the most visited posts on Runnin’ for Sweets.
The Best of Runnin’ for Sweets in 2018
Top 10 Posts in 2018
How Running Lower Mileage Has Made Running Feel Easier
Without a doubt, the most visited post of the year was my low mileage running post. I spent the first few months of 2018 training for a 25k in early spring. The weather was less than ideal during those first few months of training, and I found myself battling the typical lull in motivation that happens when it’s dark and cold outside.
As training progressed, I decided to go a little easier on myself. Rather than planning to run four times a week and really fit in the extra mileage, I decided to cut out any unnecessary runs and trim my training down to just 3 runs each week.
This method helped remove a great deal of guilt that I often experience during winter training when I skip or shorten miles that are on the schedule. Having lower scheduled mileage each week allowed me way more flexibility than usual, making it easier to successfully complete each run – leaving me with more motivation to continue.
This post details everything I learned during this process and how I ended up feeling better than ever during training.
What Happened When I Worked Out Every Morning at 4:30 am
This blog post continues to be one of the most visited articles each week, even though it’s more than a year old.
I have always wanted to be a morning person. The few times that I’ve successfully gotten up early to work out always left me feeling motivated and productive before the day even started. But getting up early on a regular basis is hard enough as it is, let alone early enough to fit in a full workout and shower before the day begins.
In the spring of 2017, I finally decided to put my excuses aside and just do it. I decided that I was going to wake up at 4:30 am every week day for an entire month – no matter what. Setting a time limit for my experiment greatly improved my motivation to keep going, because I knew that no matter how terrible it felt – it wasn’t going to last forever.
After years of failed attempts, I finally succeeded. I woke up at 4:30 am every day and completed a full workout before work during the month of April. This post details my experience, what I learned and what surprised me during that month of early morning workouts.
What Happened When I Quit Sugar for 40 Days
This is another post that regularly receives high traffic. For Lent this year, I decided to commit to the ultimate challenge: giving up sugar completely. It’s no secret that I have a ridiculous sweet tooth, but between the harmful effects sugar has on our bodies and battling an autoimmune disease, I knew it was time to get this sweet tooth under control.
In March and April this year, I quit eating sugar completely. This all occurred during the peak weeks of my 25k training plan, which definitely presented an added challenge.
Giving up sugar was ridiculously challenging the first few weeks, and there were certainly moments where I wanted to throw in the towel – but I am proud to say that I was able to successfully complete my self-imposed challenge.
This post details my experience throughout those 40 days without sugar. What went well, what was challenging, and how I felt as my body began to detox from sugar.
5 Secrets to Quickly Increase Your Running Endurance
Increasing your running endurance is a common goal for runners, from beginners to pros alike. Whether you’re hoping to run for 30 minutes at a time without stopping, or preparing to run a marathon, improving your running endurance is a must.
Luckily, increasing your running endurance doesn’t have to leave you feeling winded and wiped out after each run.
This post shares my 5 favorite tips to increase your running endurance quickly and successfully.
How to Make a Running Comeback After Taking Time Off
As runners, we know that taking time of is inevitable at some point. Whether it’s due to injury, burnout, illness, pregnancy, or just life’s busy season – it happens to all of us.
While taking time off may seem like no big deal, starting running again always winds up feeling way more challenging than where we left off. It can be incredibly frustrated to be forced to take time off amidst a really successful training season, and feeling like you’ve never run before when you’re finally healthy enough to return is just a slap in the face.
This post shares some tips to make getting back to running a smooth transition. Whether you took time off willingly or unwillingly, staying motivated upon your return is key.
10 Ways to Overcome the Wall in a Marathon
Deciding to run a marathon is an awesome goal. But whether it’s your first of fiftieth, there will likely be challenges along the way.
The marathon is notorious for its “wall” that stops runners in their tracks somewhere between miles 18 and 22. This wall can sometimes feel insurmountable, both physically and mentally.
But overcoming the wall brings some of the greatest joy in completing a marathon. Knowing that you faced obstacles and managed to power through brings even more satisfaction to an already incredible feat.
This post shares my 10 favorite ways to overcome the wall during a marathon and conquer the distance.
How to Have Your Best Long Run Ever
Ah, the long run. A staple in any half marathon or marathon training plan, and the notorious culprit for early mornings on the weekends.
Long runs usually leave runners feeling either one of two ways: ridiculously accomplished and more motivated than ever, or miserable and uncertain whether or not you’ll actually be able to complete your race.
Completing long runs during each training cycle helps runners build their endurance, both mentally and physically, and provide key practice for race day. While long run distances can look overwhelming when you first glance at your training plan, they might not actually be as challenging as you expect.
This post shares my favorite ways to set yourself up to have your best long run ever.
4 Tempo Run Variations to Increase Your Speed
Trying to increase your speed can be very frustrating if you don’t know where to start, but structured workout plans often feel overwhelming. These tempo run variations create a nice happy medium for regular runners like myself.
Each workout is just structured enough to give me a goal and sense of purpose, but flexible enough that I can tailor the run to my specific location, ability and mileage.
This post shares 4 common tempo run variations to help you create workouts that adapt to your training while still pushing you to improve.
10 Game Changing Tips for Long Distance Running
Long distance running is a unique sport. As distance runners, we push ourselves to complete distances that many sprinters and non-runners find crazy. We push our body and mind to the limits, overcome numerous challenges, and continue to up the anty each day.
Distance running may feel like a far off goal to beginner runners, and it’s easy to get stuck in a rut when you’ve been running for a long time.
These 10 game changing tips will help revamp your running routine, set you up to meet your goals, and motivate you to challenge yourself even further.
7 Tips to Make Running in the Heat Easier
It’s hard to imagine stepping outside and feeling hot right now, but summer running season will be back before we know it. While it sounds glorious right now, the depths of summer is a miserable time for most runners.
Heat, sun and humidity present a challenging combination for all runners. This article shares a few tips to make those hot summer runs easier and more manageable to set you up for success.
And there you have it, the best of Runnin’ for Sweets in 2018. As we head into the New Year, I’m looking forward to evaluating my running progress, creating new goals and kick starting a great year.
Happy New Year! Here’s to the best year ever.