10 Inspirational New Year's Resolutions for Runners

Do you believe in New Year's resolutions? Some don't. Some do. 

When I was younger, I used to set new year's resolution as long as a laundry list that would run down to 20 items. :) Mind you, some of them were more of wishful thinking than something practical or achievable. And you guess it - I ended up feeling depressed and demotivated at end of the year for not achieving the goals and resolutions I set earlier of the year. How depressing! 

And then I would recycle my new year's resolutions - same laundry list. ha! ha! Sounds familiar?

But in recent years, I have learned to set my new year's resolutions in a more practical and functional way. Shorter (Good bye - laundry list!). More practical. More impactful. Stretched yet achievable.

Greatest inspiration comes from running and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. (You can read about how Mark sets his annual personal challenge at my previous article: My Personal Challenge 2016 - Inspired by Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg )

You can call it new year's resolution, new year's goals, new year's target, or new year's personal challenge. The name doesn't really matter. What's most important is that it helps to set a clear direction for the rest of the year to improve oneself, to progress in life, to be better.

At the start of a new year, I would like to joyfully share with you what I thought would be very good new year's resolutions for runners. If you haven't set your running resolutions yet, you may consider picking few from the list below and make it your own. :) 

10 inspirational new year's resolutions for runners

1. Run Further

The more I run the more I love my body. Not because it's perfect. Far from it. But because with every mile, it's proving to me that I'm capable of more than I ever thought possible.

It's always good to challenge yourself to run further in new year to test you limit. :)

If you have run a 10 km race, then you are encouraged to set a new year's resolution to up a notch to run a 21 km half marathon. Similarly, if you have run a half marathon before, then you might want to aim higher to complete a full marathon

And for the hardcore runners who have run several full marathons, perhaps it's time to go a little crazier to run an ultra marathon (50 km, 84 km, 100 km, etc). :)

In retrospect, I still remember back in 2010 when my friends and colleagues dragged me to accompany them to run at Lake Garden for their preparation for Penang Bridge International Marathon, I could barely run 3 km. I was panting and sweating crazily and I felt like my heart was jumping out of my chest.

Little did I know that I managed to slowly but surely conquer my own fear to run further and completed my first 21 km race in June 2011, 8 months after my first 10 km race in Nov 2010. And it took me another to finally lose my virginity in full marathon at Standard Chartered KL Marathon 2012. And I have never looked back since with the completion of 21 full marathons to date. 

Make it happen

In new year, I'm aiming to go beyond full marathon - to try an ultra marathon! haha! Do I sound crazy? May be! But hey - I would like to prove to me that I'm capable of more than I ever thought possible. Whether I can make it or not, at least I will try. :) Never try, never know. 

How about you? Do you intend to run further too? That means you will be ready to lose your virginity in a half marathon, full marathon or an ultra? :)

To start it off, you can increase your weekly mileage gradually (+10% per week or so) leading to your next target. 

You can do it! Make 2017 a year of "beyond limit"!

2. Run Faster

Every time I go out and race, it's a goal to go out and run faster than I've done before.

I have a very close friend who used to tell me this, "I run to complete, not to compete." But recently the same friend has been motivated to run faster with the help of newly bought Garmin GPS watch. :) I am overjoyed seeing the change of mindset! So so awesome! :) Yes, my friend definitely can run faster!!

I believe some people might think that running a race is very pressure due to the competitive environment. And when they see others running faster than them, they might feel demotivated. May be they have tried to run faster too but somehow no improvement in their time due to whatever reasons. Therefore they have given up on trying to run faster. 

There is nothing wrong with running to complete, not to compete. 

In fact, I also run to complete, not to compete. Hold on a second, let me rephrase it, " I also run to complete, not to compete with others, but compete with my own self." :)

Yes, the day I knew I wasn't born a Kenyan, and the day I knew I picked up running only after I was over 40, standing in a podium to win trophies and cash prizes was never my aim because I probably stand no chance at all or 0.0000000000000001% chance only!! haha! And if it ever happens, it's God's blessings. A bonus!

With that in mind, I always look to faster runners as a motivation for me to become better, to run faster. I don't feel intimidated by them seeing them run faster. Rather, I'm forever curious how they manage to run so fast and I want to learn from them.

How could Mr Tan - the barefoot king who has completed >100 full marathons running barefoot , older than me, yet clocking in much faster time than me?

How could Lim Huat - 62 year-old famous runner for Skechers - achieve sub 3:30 in his full marathon and scored countless podium finishes in races?

And those young guns - countless of them - all run very fast!

I'm inspired - not to compete with them, but to learn from them so that I can become a faster runner than my old self. 

Make it happen
In the new year, I'm aiming to achieve sub 3 hours 50 min in a full marathon. I know it's very very very super duper tough. But I am still determined to give it a try. If I can't achieve it in 2017, i shall put into my 2018 resolution. haha! It's always good to have a direction and aim.

How about you? Have you set a new year's resolution to run faster and break your own personal record? Be in a faster 10 km, faster 21 km or faster full marathon

I look forward to seeing many many many Personal Best (PB) posts on the Facebook next year!!

Be encouraged!! Make 2017 a PB year! :) 

3. Run Injury-free

You know you are a runner when you get mad that an injury keeps you from running, not that it damaged your body.

No matter what runners do, the worst situation is to be injured. 

The most common running injuries are runners' knee, Achilles tendinitis, plantar fasciitis, shin splints, iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS), stress fracture, patellar tendinitis, ankle sprain, pulled muscles, blisters, chafing, side stitches, etc.

It's never fun to be sidelined and not being able to run at all. It's really killing! For those who were injured before would know what I mean. :) 

Therefore, whether to run faster or run further or just to run, please prioritize injury prevention

Make it happen

In the new year, let's continue to prioritize injury prevention.

Here is how we can make it happen: don't increase our mileage for more than 10% a week, warm up and cool down, fix our running form for efficient running, replace our running shoes if we need to, avoid running on uneven surfaces that put unnecessary pressure on ligaments, include strength training, and know our limits by not over training.

Cheers to our successful, fun-filled, challenge-filled, injury-free great running season in New Year.

4. Improve Running Technique

Running doesn't cause injuries. Running WRONG does!

Running only what... why we need to be technical to improve our running technique?

But seriously, I have sought for running advice from a few seasoned runners over the last few years. Amazingly, those who run fast without injuries tend to be technically inclined. 

What I mean by technically inclined is that they read and learn a lot about running techniques in magazines and books. They also figure out their GPS watch so that they can fully utilize the features and functionalities of the awesome watch to help them understand their body better. And last but not least, they constantly improve on their running technique - from breathing to cadence, to core strength, etc.

Make it happen
In the new year, let's put sometime to learn more, be a bit technical, and then apply what we have learned. Personally, I try my best to learn from all the runners around me in addition to reading. A tip or two from a runner or a magazine / article can serve a lifetime if we apply well.

You may be amazed by how just a simple improvement on a running technique can bring extra ordinary outcome - which could potentially lead and help you to achieve your other running new year's resolutions. :)

5. Have Fun

Just play. Have fun. Enjoy the game.   - Michael Jordan

One of the marathons held in Taiwan. So many runners dressed up in various interesting costumes! Run hard, play hard! Image courtesy of running biji

There are some runners who just know how to combine running with fun!!!

The inspiring Mr Tan - not only he runs barefoot fast, he also wears costumes, sarong, cute bright glasses to run. He also runs in many countries in his > 100 full marathons, combining running, holidays, travel. leisure, food and drink all into one.

Then there is Kin K Yum whom I truly admire as well. He also runs very fast with half a dozen sub 4 full marathons in 2016. What truly amazes me is the effort he has put in to tailor make or buy full suit costumes to wear during full marathons. So far, I have seen him wear Santa Claus costume, Keep Out Man costume, traditional Malay costume, Pikachu costume, Super Mario costume, etc. It's countless!! And he runs a full marathon in almost every Sunday - in different exotic countries too!! Truly a global, international, fun-loving, fast runner!!! I'm so inspired by his lifestyle!

And there are a few other runners - Yimster, Deo, Allan Koh, Jerry Young, etc who travel around the globe visiting exotic countries to run and makan angin (holiday) at same time. It's truly inspirational!

Make it happen

In the new year, go and register a race (minimum half marathon, most ideal full marathon or ultra marathon) the in a foreign country. :) 

So far I have run races in Taiwan twice (Taipei and Kaohsiung), Hong Kong twice, Indonesia twice (Jakarta and Bali) and Thailand once (Chiangmai). In the new year, I was supposed to run in Japan (Tokyo Marathon) but unfortunately, I wasn't successful in the balloting 4 years in a row! Sob sob! Never mind. I can always try again and again in following years. With Japan out, I plan to run in 2 other new foreign countries - Yangon, Myanmar and Singapore. And I might go back to Taiwan to run too at end of the new year. 

I for one love to experience running in foreign countries, soaking myself in the local culture and people. I remember my run in Bali where I give high fives to the village kids lining up at designated places along the route. It was fun!! I missed out few minutes to reach my time goal but it was well worth it!

Definitely it's not purely for running. We need to run hard, and play hard too, right? :) Let's have some fun!! 

So it will be R U N C A T I O N!!  (running + vacation) :) haha! Awesome yeah? 

Plan your holidays well - check out the race venues and event dates so that you can combine both running and vacation into 1 trip. It will be fun!! 

And if you can - loosen yourself in one of the races. Forget about time, forget about embarrassment. Just put on a creative costume - anything as long as it's not running vest/shorts ( haha!). You surely will bring great joy and laughter to other runners while having fun at same time. This is something I'm working on myself. Hopefully I can get a little crazy in the new year!! haha! 

6. Giving Back

Find yourself in the service of others.  - Mohatma Gandhi

It's fun to run in a race. As a runner, everything is "served". Sometimes we as runners have forgotten about the people behind the success of each running event.

We might complain about some volunteers not doing their job well at water stations, or a photographer taking an ugly photo and posting on his/her Facebook to share publicly. Sounds familiar? haha! I for one am guilty of it. But now less and less after learning more about showing appreciation instead of complaining. 

Additionally, I have selectively chosen quality, well-organised events to register instead of any running events organised by organisers who are in it for the money only at the expense of runners. It's wonderful to see the blossoming of running all over the world. But at same time,it's also important to uphold the quality of running events in our community. So I stick to my principle in this matter.

By giving back, it will allow us an opportunity to appreciate and realize how difficult it's to a volunteer

Do you know that a volunteer at a race will spend longer time than a full marathoner running? He/she needs to be there before all, and finish after all

Do you know that a photographer needs to stand under the hot scorching sun to take photos, after which to go home and upload photos one by one to Facebook for runners to tag and cheer about their runs, PBs? It's very time consuming. It's very tiring. I know. Because I have done it several times over the course of last few years myself as a photographer. No pay. Purely giving back to the running community. But when seeing runners tagging their own photos and posting about their achievements to their friends, the joy on their face is well worth the long hours.

Make it happen

There are various forms of giving back: becoming volunteer at a race helping out the organizers and supporting runners; becoming pacer to help runners who want to achieve their personal best times, or becoming photographer capturing memorable running moments of runners.

In the new year, I aim to be a pacer for one of the full marathons in Malaysia. But it seems that my chance is rather slim as I'm neither famous nor fast enough. I have tried to be a pacer for SCKLM 2017 but so far no news. Sob sob! It's ok. I guess all organizers have their own criteria and requirements in choosing pacers for their events.

Anyway, I will still continue to give back as a photographer in new year.

How about you? Time to give back also? :)

Choose one and make it happen!! 

Appreciation is something you and I will learn along the process by giving back to running community.

7. Be Adventurous

Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.

After road running, perhaps you might want to try trail running, or even a spartan obstacles-filled race, or a triathlon. :)

Shouldn't life be our favorite adventure?

It depends on your personal preference. You can definitely start to be a bit more adventurous and "branch out" or "diversity" from road running! haha!

I joined me first biathlon (swim and run) way back in 2011, a year after I officially did my first 10 km race. I did my first Sprint distance triathlon in 2015. and in 2016, I accidentally jumped the next Olympic distance category and completed the half Ironman distance (2 km swim, 90 km bike, 21 km run). 

Was it torturing? Yes it was. But it was also fun!! :) I guess I'm the type who loves the adrenaline rush!

Make it happen

Mark your calendar and register for one "adventure" in the new year - be it a trail running, obstacles race or a triathlon. Don't give yourself excuses that you haven't trained, or don't have a pair of trail running shoe or a bicycle or don't know how to swim, etc. I gave myself excuses too until I told myself to shut up and just do it!! haha! 

So you can apply my own approach: Sign up. Shut up. And just do it!! :)

All the best to you in your new adventure!! 

8. Build Running Body

Your body is a reflection of your lifestyle.

Carbo loading, anyone? :) It happens before a race and after a race. A common term used by runners to load up the body and to wallop as much food as possible before and after a race. hehe! 

I used to do that. haha! If there is a race on Sunday, I would start eating a lot of carbohydrate food, ranging from pasta to rice to anything that contains carbohydrates. And due to the fear that I would not have enough energy to sustain the full 42 km distance, I would then end up eating more than I should. And then after the race, I would then give myself an excuse to eat even more. Hungry mah!! :)

The end result? My weight was at 73 kg and it didn't go down even with full marathon races.  Did I eat healthily? Yes I did - 90% of the times. But the problem was - I ate too much! Even good healthy food - too much can add additional kilos to our body. lol!

However, for the last 1+ year, I have eaten much less. Still 90% healthy food (in fact 90% all vegetables and fruits too), but eat less. Meanwhile, I have also increased my weekly mileage

End result? I have lost 9 kg to 64 kg. But now I have gained 2 kg to 66 kg. haha! Still far cry from my 73 kg 1.5 year ago. :) And i intend to maintain it around 64 to 66 kg. 

I also believe that the lighter I'm, the chances will be that I can run faster too. Just take a look at all the Kenyan runners!!! haha!! 

Make it happen

Drop the term "carbo loading" before and after race. Eat as per a normal portion - may be a little extra but not double or triple portion. :)

Eat healthily with less oil, less salt, less sweet. No junk food of course. Eat more vegetables and fruits if you can. But weekend - can cheat lah!! Give your body a break on Saturday and Sunday. But on weekdays - strict diet. :) Oh - and no big meals but smaller meals with higher frequency.

Eat less so that your body will burn the fat instead of the food you consume. :)

Do more cross-training  focusing on strength and core exercises. Such exercises will help to tone up your body and strengthen the core muscles.  You might not become Mr Malaysia by doing this but you might end up to have a lean, toned running body. :) 

End result? You will gain healthlose weight and build a running body with strong core and toned muscles in addition to your speedy happy feet

Unexpected bonus: A six-pack washboard abs might be an unexpected outcome of your perseverance and self control.  :) I'm not joking!!! it can happen!! Give yourself a chance in the new year!

9. Strong Mental Strength
Mind is everything. Muscle - pieces of rubber. All that I am, I am because of my mind.

I always believe in mental strength over physical strength that makes or breaks a person in a race

There are runners who can easily give up or give excuses for not giving their best. Be it in a race or in training. 

If too hot, let's skip training. 

If too hilly, let's go easy. 

If too far, let's walk. 

If running loops, forget it.

If running on treadmill, I get bored.

If too hard, let's not give the last push.

I confess. I am the guilty one, especially running on treadmill and running loops. I find it very very challenging and hard for me to run loops or run on treadmill for more than 3 km. I get bored!! Oh no!! Did I say I get bored? Isn't it a clear sign of my weak mental strength?

And in races, I tend to hit the wall easily after 30 km. And for the last 2-3 km, I find it hard to push myself further. Many times over, I thought I could run faster, but somehow my mental strength isn't strong enough to pull me through. And I regretted after reaching the finish line. 

You might ask - how would I know if I have given my last push? 

Well - it happened once. After the race, I ended up feeling like vomiting, feeling dizzy with leg cramps. I had to sit down for one full hour before I could really stand up and walk.  That - I called I have given my 110% best with strong mental strength (translating to physical strength)!

Make it happen

I hope you are not like me with weak mental strength. :) But if you are like me or you want to improve your mental strength, there are many ways that you and I can do. But it depends on how strong our will and determination are.

If too hot, let's skip training.  continue to run under the hot scorching sun.

If too hilly, let's go easy. go and conquer the hills. Nothing is too difficult.

If too far, let's stop. continue to run, run, run. Even walking or crawling also must finish.

If running loops, forget it. keep running more and more loops by hook or by crook. :)

If running on treadmill, I get bored. keep running longer and longer by doing self-entertainment.

If too hard, let's not give the last push. keep pushing and pushing until vomiting white foam and fainting on the floor (a bit exaggerating but I hope you know what I mean). haha!

This one resolution is something I definitely, absolutely need to work very very hard on. :) May we improve on this mental strength together.

10. Just Do it

Be fearless. Have a vision. Believe in yourself. Always hustle. Stay focused. Get out there. Get motivated. Get inspired. 

I have listed down 10 inspirational new year's resolutions that you can choose to have for your own resolutions, goals, or personal challenge to achieve as runners in the new year.

I sincerely hope that you will not be overly ambitious but to have practical, functionalimpactful, stretched yet achievable new year's resolutions. 

Remember it's all the little moments, little steps that snowball into a big giant leap / progress in life.

It took me 2.5 years, 12 full marathons to finally achieve sub 4 hours .Yes, it's true. Some others can do it much faster. And some are still working hard. But again. I am not competing with others. I just want to be better than myself at the last race. That motivates me. That keeps me propelling forward. That keeps my passion for running burning like wild fire. 

Little steps. Many ups and downs. Little and big moments. But all add up at the end.

It's still a long journey ahead as running is my life-long passion.

For the new year, I will stay motivated, will not give up easily, and keep my eyes focused on my running resolutions so that I can press on to become a better runner.

I hope you share the same motivation and inspiration as me to be a better, healthier, fitter, faster, fun, giving runner who enjoys an injury-free season in the new year.

Make it happen

D O N ' T      Q U I T     

J U S T    D O    I T!!

Make public declaration to your running friends if you need to. 

Write down somewhere and post on your Facebook if you need to. 

Get support and encouragement from your supportive running friends, family members and colleagues.

Find all means to keep your new year's resolutions alive throughout the year!

And never never never give up!!


10 Inspirational New Year's Resolutions 
for Runners:

1. Run further
2. Run faster
3. Run injury-free
4. Improve running technique
5. Have fun
6. Giving back
7. Be adventurous
8. Build running body
9. Strong mental strength
10. Just do it!

Happy New Year to you!

Wishing you all the best!

You can do it! :)

Written on New Year's Eve 2016.12.31



  1. I just HAD to read this post...as it's a famous article! These are GREAT resolutions. However, now I have to ask YOU regarding #7 Be Adventurous "Sign up. Shut up. And just do it!! :)" .....does this mean a certain someone is going to be signing up for a Full Ironman this year?!?!?!?

    I'm still scheduled for 2018 but have already signed up for 2 more half Ironmans..Eeek! I know!

    What I learned from my first Half Ironman was that swimming wasn't as bad as I thought it would be (seeing that that was what I thought my weakest link was). The race proved that I knew how to ride a bike but had NO IDEA how to cycle. This year I got myself a cycling coach so hopefully any hills I encounter won't be torturous!

    1. You are truy funny, Funny Girl! (Wish I will get to know your real name one day though because I feel really impolite to call you as such... :))..

      #7: you got me there! lol! Well, a certain someone is definitely NOT going to sign up for a full ironman this year!! haha! But a certain someone will try out an "ultra marathon" for the first time instead by starting with 50km. :) I believe I will be like you - scheduled for 2018 for a full ironman!! We go crazy together in 2018, ok? :) This year, let me go crazy with ultra first. I also have another crazy thing I plan to do - also to do with full marathon - but let's keep it under wrap first because I'm worried i can't achieve it!! lol!

      Wow! 2 half Ironman this yeah!!! you are a super super Ironlady!!! So proud of you!! Now you are really encouraging me!!! How I wish we have few half ironman races to consider in Malaysia. There were only 3 last year in Malaysia. But I think this year there is only one. I really hope there is a half ironman event in 2nd half of year so that I can join!! Keep my fingers crossed!! But you - you - you - way to go!! You really "shut up! Sign up! and Just do it!" lol!! so proud of you! do share your race reports yeah! so looking forward to it!

      Cycling coach? Wow! You are really amazing and going serious about Ironman!! How is your cycling lesson so far? I 'm sure you would have improved lots!! That's also the part that can gain you lots of time in the event!! So excited for you!!