12 New Year's Resolutions for Runners

"More than just stretching, yoga gives you whole-body strength, especially in the hips, core and upper body," says Sage Rountree, Ph.D., a yoga instructor, USA Triathlon-certified coach, and author of The Athlete's Guide to Yoga. "Yoga's mental training is ideal for runners because it teaches you to be present and breathe fully even in the face of intensity."

Make It Happen: It's possible to find yoga classes designed for athletes or runners, but you can start with any class with the terms hatha, gentle or level 1 in the title. "In any class," Rountree says, "do what you can and rest when you must. Follow your breath, and don't push too far—just like in running. With regular practice, you'll get stronger, more flexible and more focused, and that will extend to your running." Do yoga twice a week, preferably on nonrunning days.

Degree of Difficulty: 4

This Year I Will: Lose 10 Pounds for Good

Ah, the $400 billion question. That's the net worth of the bloated U.S. diet industry, and what's it get us? "Not much, because most diets fail," says Enette Larson-Meyer, Ph.D., R.D., a trail runner who heads the University of Wyoming nutrition and exercise lab. She does say that runners have half the weight-control puzzle solved by exercising regularly—but that the other half, eating less, is even more critical.

More: Running to Lose Weight

"There's no magic bullet," says the sports nutritionist, instead offering a barrage of bite-size tips (below). Adopting even a few can help you shed pounds, and if you stick with them, you won't gain the weight back. But she cautions against overreaching: "Don't set a goal like becoming as thin as a supermodel. That's unrealistic and can even hurt your running, because below a certain weight you'll lose lean muscle and become more susceptible to injury or illness."

The 10 Rules for Weight Loss That Lasts

Make It Happen: It would be nice if you could lose weight by simply running more. But most of us neutralize the 100 or so calories we burn per mile by eating more.

"We reward ourselves by thinking, I've earned it," Larson-Meyer says. The key is to reduce calorie intake gradually so that you're dropping just a half-pound to one pound per week. "That's consuming 250 to 500 fewer calories a day, which isn't a lot," she says. "Don't think of it as a diet, because you can't diet forever. Think of it as permanent changes to eating habits that you can maintain." Larson-Meyer's advice:

  • Include protein in every meal. A 2010 study found that athletes were more successful losing weight with a diet that was 35 percent protein than one that was 15 percent protein. "Protein preserves lean muscle mass and controls appetite," she says. But it should be lean, such as poultry, fish, lean meats, beans, lentils, soy food and yogurt.
  • Eat a meal within an hour after running. "This aids recovery and makes high-fat snacks less tempting."
  • Don't skip meals. Doing so almost always leads to excessive snacking.
  • Stay hydrated before, during and after running. "Some people perceive thirst as hunger, and water dampens hunger." Don't bother with sports beverages except during intense workouts or on runs of 90 minutes or more because you won't need the extra carbs. (Remember these Hydration Rules That'll Boost Your Performance.)
  • Eat food, don't drink it. Guzzling an 8-ounce glass of apple juice, for example, won't fill you up as much as a large apple. The real deal also has five more grams of fiber and takes longer to finish.
  • Run from fast food. A database of people who have lost significant weight and kept it off for at least a year shows that most consume only one fast-food meal per week.
  • Some "duh" tips you've heard that bear repeating: Eat only when you're hungry. Eat smaller portions at meals.

Degree of Difficulty: 10

More: 8 Tips for Losing Weight

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About the Author

Runner's World

Runner's World is the world's leading running magazine. Covering topics such as shoes and gear, race training, nutrition and health, Runner's World appeases to the novice runner and veteran alike.
Runner's World is the world's leading running magazine. Covering topics such as shoes and gear, race training, nutrition and health, Runner's World appeases to the novice runner and veteran alike.

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