Dear 2016:

Let’s Be Friends

New year blog post featured image

Photo by Jess Baumung, courtesy Nike+ Run Club Toronto

I’m well aware that each new day, week and month present us with equal opportunities to start anew, but I still can’t deny the power of a fresh calendar year to make me want to be better. And even though the feeling is usually fleeting, I do see value in taking time every Jan. 1 to reflect on the year that was and to look ahead at the one to come. What did I accomplish? Where did I falter? What did I learn that can help me as I move forward?

Looking back

This past year was definitely a memorable one for me. Though my professional and personal lives were fairly uneventful (sometimes that’s a good thing), it was an exciting year on the fitness front. I began 2015 by training solo for my fourth full marathon, the Goodlife Fitness Toronto Marathon at the beginning of May, which I completed—but barely. At the race’s halfway point, a tight adductor muscle began causing a sharp pain and locking sensation in my right knee that persisted for the remainder of the marathon. I somehow managed to cross the finish line, but needless to say, it was not the personal best I had hoped for. That season taught me that I needed to start training with a group again. I had lost the motivation I once had to train sufficiently on my own, and even if the injury I experienced during the race wasn’t caused by a lack of training, I just knew I wasn’t as prepared as I should have been. I needed to make a change.

Goodlife Fitness Toronto Marathon 2015

That’s where Toronto’s Nike+ Run Club came in. While I was in my post-marathon recovery mode, I started noticing the hype building on social media for the upcoming Nike Women’s 15K Toronto race that, luckily, I had already registered for. I decided this was as good a time as any to get out of my comfort zone and sign up for some group sessions with the Nike running community. And I was so glad I did—I immediately sensed the welcoming vibe and took notice of the expert coaching and challenging programming. I kept going back.

I ran the 15K race in June and then continued to participate in Nike’s running and training programming week after week. I tried all the various sessions on offer—Ready, Set, Go; Speed Run; Local Run; Home Run; H.I.T. & Run; Long Run; and of course the Nike+ Training Club Live and Studio Sessions—and not a single one let me down. Not only did I feel my strength and speed improving as the months went by, but I noticed myself getting excited about fitness again, eager to register each Sunday and see what surprises Nike would have up its sleeve.

A chip-timed mile trial on a private track? Check. A 5K run with comedian Kevin Hart? Check (OK, he was much faster than me, so I wasn’t technically running with him, but we did high-five). A jog around the baseball field at Rogers Centre during MLB playoffs? Check. An NTC class on the rooftop of the TIFF Bell Lightbox with a special appearance by Toronto Maple Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf? Check. A cross-country speed workout to celebrate the Nike Cross Nationals? Yep. We did it all, and then some.

NRC Toronto at The Loft

Photo by Jess Baumung, courtesy Nike+ Run Club Toronto

I ran my first out-of-country race in October and even though it wasn’t a PB finish, and I hadn’t intended it to be, I felt stronger and more confident in my abilities than I ever had before. Now, I’m heading into 2016 with some pretty huge goals in mind, and I’m feeling ready to conquer them with the support of the wonderful community I’ve found.

Lindsay MacAdam running NWSF

Starting fresh

To help us all start the year off right, Nike is challenging us to 21 Days of Better For It beginning today, Jan. 4. Take the quiz at Nike.com and you’ll be matched with the 21-day fitness program that suits you best. I ended up being mostly red, which gives me six workouts a week—a mix of running, training and yoga. Perfect—let’s do this.

21 Days of Better For It

Setting goals

Setting race goals at the beginning of the year is an important habit to get into if you’re a running enthusiast, because in most cases you can’t just decide you’re going to run a race tomorrow and then go out and do it. You typically need to register well in advance, and you definitely need to factor in ample training time. I like to make a rough plan for myself every new year about which races, or at least which distances, I’d like to tackle each season. That way, I know what I’m working towards. It gives me the motivation I need to get out there, while also ensuring that I’m prepared for the challenge when the time comes.

Here are the major races I have in mind for this year:

Some of my other fitness goals for the year include finally mastering the headstand I’ve been so fearful of (with the help of YogaGlo) and increasing my core strength. When I sat down with Nike Master Trainer Eva Redpath for a one-on-one training session in November, she suggested I add five minutes of planking to every workout to achieve this goal, alternating between forearms and palms, and from one side to the other. Challenge accepted.

NRC planking

Photo by Jess Baumung, courtesy Nike+ Run Club Toronto

Word of the year

Speaking of challenges, I’ve noticed a lot of people bringing in 2016 by choosing to focus on a “word of the year” instead of the more traditional resolutions. Though I’ll admit I have a few resolutions in mind for myself, I’m digging the idea of having a single word to define and inspire the entire year. And with that, I’ve decided my word of 2016 will be BELIEVE. Self doubt, you’re so 2015.

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