Reset your run: Why 2021 could be your best year of running — ever.
2020 was a difficult year for lots of us, but the heart of why we run is still there.
Lots of what we love about the running community had to change in 2020. COVID-19 forced runners to adjust to virtual races and socially distanced training. The sport’s biggest events — everything from the Olympics to the Boston Marathon — were either canceled altogether in 2020 or postponed to 2021.
Despite these changes, there was a silver lining for the sport: running might be more popular than ever. The fitness-tracking app Runkeeper, for example, saw a 252% jump in registrations globally and a 44% spike in monthly active users in April 2020 compared to the same time in 2019. The app also reported a 62% increase in people heading out for a weekly run. With gyms shutting down and exercise classes canceled, many chose running to fulfill their fitness needs.
In addition to figuring out the sport during a pandemic, running communities in the U.S. and across the globe embraced social justice initiatives. Last year brought renewed and vital attention to the work we need to do to make running and our society inclusive, equitable, and just. This effort will continue in 2021 and beyond.
Running in 2021
Right now 2021 is a blank slate, leaving you plenty of opportunity to plan your year of running. One place you can start your planning is by understanding your motivation. Think about why you’re running and what’s valuable to you about the sport.
The next step? Make goals to match that motivation. Are you running to get fit? Set goals for calories burned, pounds lost, body-mass index, and other health metrics. Maybe you’re searching for a new hobby or an active way to get some quality time with yourself. If so, schedule out your runs weeks or months in advance so you can take ownership of that time. Preparing for a virtual race or looking for training inspiration? Our beginner 5K and 10K training plans can guide you to run your best.
The new year is also the perfect time to recommit to your running community: connect with those who have similar goals or with runners you can learn from. Engage with the run community in your area to get advice and support. Find a way to give back through the run by mentoring a young runner, fundraising for non-profits with your miles, or supporting a run group or organization that promotes equity and diversity. Here are some examples of how we are working to make running more diverse and inclusive. Use this list as inspiration for giving back in your community.
We’ve got your back
Now is the time to dream big and make plans to help you achieve those dreams. All the benefits of running — cardiovascular fitness, stronger bones and muscles, a boosted metabolism, decreased stress, and more — are there for the taking.
We’ll have stories this month that can improve your running from the ground up. Expect to learn about setting goals, the importance of mental toughness, injury prevention, and the role of food and nutrition in our sport.
Are you ready to make 2021 your best running year ever?