Every January, people set different goals for themselves to improve upon in the new year; however, only 8 percent of people are successful in accomplishing their goals each year, according to Statistic Brain, and 64 percent give up in the first month! But, people who explicitly make resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain their goals than those who don’t, so in 2017, we want you to be part of that percentage.

Because many set resolutions that are health and fitness related, we asked our readers to tell us what their endurance goals are for 2017, and had experts and coaches respond with advice! Hopefully these tips will help you this year, too.

Q: I’d like to train for my first half marathon, but I am nervous about training alone because I don’t have time to join a group. How do I make myself accountable for the longer distance runs?

– Missy Swiatlo, Bartlett, IL


A: It is very normal to feel nervous as you prepare for your rst half marathon. e fact that the half marathon feels intimidating initially will help make the training and race completion even more rewarding. The reward is in overcoming the struggle.

At CARA, we believe in the magical capacity of group training to help runners, especially beginners, conquer the challenges of the half marathon. If you don’t have access to a running group though, just scheduling a meet-up with a friend will help keep you motivated and accountable. Often times, just getting out of the door is the biggest hurdle.

We also recommend following an organized training plan and scheduling your training sessions onto your calendar well ahead of time. Record your completed training in a diary to build your confidence and keep you accountable to your goals. Train at the same time each day to help running become part of your habitual routine. Seek out some scenic and exciting places to train, especially for your longer runs. While jumping on a treadmill may help keep you accountable to log- ging the miles, running along a interesting route will help the miles y by and get you excited for more long runs to come. Lastly, stay focused on the present and conquer today’s run!

– Kevin Jermyn, Executive Director of the Chicago Area Runners Association

Q: I run a lot of races, and love to bike, so I want to try a triathlon, but I’m really nervous about the swimming portion because I’ve never been a good swimmer. Is there a speci c way I should train for it?

– Holly Petrovich, Chicago Athlete Editor

A: If you are thinking of doing a triathlon, but aren’t a very strong swimmer, I would suggest you seek out a coach to help you with your technique. Look for a coach with both a swimming and triathlon background as swimming in a pool is very di erent than swimming in open water. With a quali ed coach’s eye on you and the ability to video your swimming, show you what you look like and then provide feedback, you will progress much more quickly than if you tried to learn on your own. A good coach can provide a lot of value that results in improvement in as little as one to ve sessions.

A big mistake many triathletes make is thinking that “more yards = better.” is is most definitely not the case for majority of triathletes. Unless you grew up with a swimming background, as you progress through your workout, your technique begins to break down. When you continue swimming with poor technique, you are only reinforcing bad habits.

Another productive practice (where many triathletes fail) is to execute shorter, more frequent sessions in the pool. Once you have developed strong technique and can hold it for a longer period of time, it is only then that you should do “marathon” sessions in the pool. e good news is, if you are starting early enough, with the right coach and dedicating yourself to regular, structured workouts in the pool that focus on your improvement areas, you will have no problem trying your rst triathlon!

– MJ Gasik, Coach at TriRight Coaching

Q: As a traditional gym goer transitioning to CrossFit, I’ve noticed that I’ve been gassed two or three rounds into my workouts. Not neces- sarily physically tired, but winded. Basically, I’m looking to incorporate more cardio to improve my overall endurance.

– Drew Rossi, Chicago, IL

A: You do not need to incorporate cardio workouts to improve your strength. However, if your goal is general tness with a strength focus, incorporating cardio will increase power and stamina. What you want to avoid is doing so much cardio that you cut into your strength gains.

These options have shown success:

• Cardio in the morning followed by a strength session in the evening.
• One hour class with both a short strength session and short cardio session.
• Cardio two days a week and strength three days a week.
• Strength only with short or timed rest periods between sets.

– Heather Refenes, CrossFit Instructor and Nutrition Coach

Q: My goal for 2017 is to set a new personal best. I started running marathons back in 2006 and I just completed my 40th marathon this past November. My focus in the past has been the number (trying to run a marathon in each state) vs. the quality, but now I am looking for any tips regarding incorporating more cross training to achieve a new PR – marathon PR is currently 3:55.

– Lyndsay Palach, Palatine, IL

A: Cross-training is training in another aerobic sport(s) to improve tness and performance in the main sport. Cross training helps train muscles in di erent positions, and this helps to prevent injuries and improve form and function in the main activity.

Specific Benefits of cross-training:

• Improves running performance/runner tness • Aids in active recovery
• Increases motivation
• Decreases potential of injury
• Helps to rehab injuries

Runners cross train best by cycling or swimming. Cross training should be challenging but not exhausting, and it should not detract from your main goal, nor should it require additional recovery time.

What about other sports? Organized sports may sometimes provide e ective cross training for runners, but organized sports can also increase the risk of in- jury. What about yoga and strength training? While activities that increase core strength and actual core activation, exibility, balance, and overall strength are important, they should be done in addition to cross training (which, as noted above, should be aerobic).

– Terri Lynn Visovatti, Level I USAT Coach and Craig Strong, Level II USAT Coach, Precision Multisport

What’s your 2017 resolution? Email [email protected] to be featured online!

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Holly's running career began in high school; after being bummed about not making the volleyball team her sophomore year, she decided to join some of her middle school friends on the cross country team. She also did track in the fall, where the 1600 m race was her niche. Since then, she has run several shorter distance races and two half marathons. Her goal for 2017 is to try a triathlon, and eventually do the Chicago Marathon. She graduated from Illinois State University in May 2016 with a degree in journalism. Working at Chicago Athlete, Holly has been able to explore photography a lot more, which is one of her main hobbies. She enjoys taking photos at endurance races, and is also passionate about nature photography and portraiture.

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