10 Ways I’ll Run Happy in 2016

December 31, 2015

I blinked and 2015 is gone.

The year was like the wind. It started as a gentle breeze. I was in my home in Atlanta where everything felt familiar, including my training and running routine. I was calm and confident, focused and strong.

The wind continued to build until it was a violent gust, pummeling and pushing my husband, me and our worldly possessions from Georgia to Florida. We wanted to be somewhere where we felt safe and could be close to our family. We sold our house in 24 hours in April, moved to Florida in May, searched for a house until we decided to build our own, lived at the beach for two months, demolished a house and started construction, moved in with my parents while our house was being built (still in progress … coming March 2016) and have gone back and forth between life today and what life will soon be like when we are finally settled. The powerful gales tossed me up, pushed me back, spun me around and left me dizzy, continuing to move forward but not entirely sure where to go.

10 ways to run happy in 2016
10 ways to run happy in 2016

On the running front, I experienced something closer to hurricane force winds. 2015 was my year of running for fun. It certainly started that way. I ran 25-30 miles a week while still in Atlanta, met a close-knit group of friends for long runs on the weekend and ClassPass classes during the week. I ran a strong half marathon in Savannah in March despite my easy running and cross training. When I moved to Florida in May, I started to lose the joy I’ve found in running for so long. The oppressive heat slowed my pace and melted my confidence. The eternal summer didn’t prevent me from running, but it sucked out the joy in my miles. It has left me questioning if I want to keep running long distances in my new normal.

In between refreshing breezes and forceful tempests, the wind kept blowing blessings through the air. I started the year seven hours away from my family and can now see them every day of the week. I began the year in the middle of a big city and can now watch the sun rise and set on the water every morning and evening. I started the year in a place where I was constantly looking over my shoulder and now live in a place where I feel safe.

10 ways to run happy in 2016

It has been a year of change and transition. It has come to an end but the ending is still to be determined.

Inhale 2016. Exhale 2015.

I’m excited about all the New Year will hold. Moving into our new house, meeting new friends, immersing myself into a new running community, maybe getting pregnant and/or having a baby. There are so many things to be hopeful and enthusiastic about.

As I think about the year ahead and what it truly means to RUN HAPPY (the Brooks Running mantra that has become one of my own guiding principles for running), there are goals I want to focus on to regain my running joy and feel stronger again.

10 ways to run happy in 2016 on runladylike.com

1. Stop complaining about the weather in Florida.
No matter how much I kick and scream about the eternal summer in Tampa, no matter how much I complain about the intense humidity and unseasonable heat and no matter how much I look at the weather in other parts of the country, I live where I live and the weather is what it is. I can’t change it. The only thing I can change is my attitude and how I approach running. I’m never going to like the weather here, but I am going to commit to being more positive and solutions oriented to running in my new climate.

2. Get settled in our new home and design a home gym.
The house my husband and I are currently building should be complete in spring 2016. I’m beyond excited to get settled in our new home and design our new space. We are creating a dedicated gym, which will be 17-feet x 17-feet and include rubberized flooring, a new (my first!) treadmill, my bike trainer, weights, balls, running inspiration and much more. I’ll be posting about the process as it starts and would love your suggestions if there are treadmills or gym equipment you love. Having my own gym in my house will help keep my motivation high and my excuses low.

3. Wake up earlier to complete my workouts before 8 a.m.
I’m a late-to-bed person, and I’m committing to trying to go to bed earlier to accommodate those pre-dawn alarms to both run when it’s not quite as hot and to begin my days in a way that will help inspire positive choices throughout the rest of the day.

4. Hit my 10,000 steps at least 6 days per week.
I started wearing a Garmin Vivosmart in August. On the days I don’t run, I rarely hit all my steps. I’m committing to move more beyond my daily workouts to consistently achieve my step goal throughout the day. As someone who works from home, this is especially important since I often find myself at my desk for hours on end.

5. Eat cleaner.
If you’ve heard me say I need to clean up my diet once this year, you’ve heard me say it a million times. I’ve become a broken record, and I’m truly committed to fueling my body in ways that will enhance performance and overall well-being. I’ve become lackadaisicle when it comes to eating. I’ve been sabotaging myself and it leaves me feeling unhappy, sluggish and downright blue. Next week, I’ll be sharing what I’m doing to jump start my nutrition.

6. Get stronger by strength training more consistently.
I strength trained more than I ever have during 2015. I love the way it feels to get stronger. But I have a long way to go. I’m going to focus on strength training three times per week this year, and I’m starting a new strength training program this month that I’m excited to tell you more about. One of my goals is to be able to do three unassisted pull-ups this year.

7. Get reacquainted with swimming and biking.
Remember when I was a triathlete and trained constantly for triathlons? Yeah, I barely do either. Ha! For several years, my training revolved around swimming, biking and running. After the Beach2Battleship Half Iron Triathlon in 2013, I hung up my goggles and bike shorts and have mostly been “just running” ever since. I’m excited to get back to the pool and on the bike (even if it’s just spinning or on the trainer). Both sports make me a stronger runner and can help me prevent injury by boosting endurance without all the pavement pounding.

8. Plan several racecations/road trips to reunite with my running friends across the country.
Running friends are the best friends, and I truly know some of the most amazing running friends on the planet. The only problem is that they are spread across the country. In 2016, I want to make it a point to plan more get-togethers and trips to see these wonderful friends and run in special places. I already have three racecations planned in February, July and October. I can’t wait to tell you more about them.

9. Help more athletes run a new personal best.
As a certified marathon coach, I believe helping other athletes find their extraordinary is just as fulfilling if not better than achieving my own personal victories. During 2015, I coached seven runners, many of whom achieved a personal best race and/or learned and grew in their running journey. I would like to help my athletes achieve more new PRs in the New Year and continue helping people find the power within themselves that they might not realize is there today.

10. Get more involved in the local running community.
Last, but not least, I want to get more involved in the local Tampa running community in 2016. When my house is finished and I’m actually in Tampa, I’m looking forward to getting to know more of the running groups, running store owners and runners in the area. I want to volunteer at local races and meet more people to run with personally.

I’m wishing you your best year yet in 2016. Dream big, work hard and run happy.

This post was inspired by my role as a Brooks Running Run Happy Ambassador. There are several affiliate links contained within this post.

How will you run happier in 2016?


Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home

I love this. You’ve set great goals for the upcoming year. And me, I want 2016 to be the year I run happy! Actually, I ran happy this year, but next year I want to slow down and enjoy the ride. I’ve got some pretty big races planned in some pretty places. One in Florida in March, the Sarasota half. Interested?


I love that Wendy! Good luck with your training this year! My mom is running a half in Sarasota in February. My hip has really been hurting lately, so I am probably not going to do any racing after my February half (Sedona) until it is 100 percent again. Happy New Year!!!


Love this! I’m adding running happy to my goals. I have a Sole F80 treadmill that I really like – might be one to check out for your home gym:)


Happy New Year Kalie! Thanks for the treadmill recommendation. I will check it out! xo


Maybe all that Tampa heat training is going to make you sooo fast once you get to cool temps?!

I love that you’re building a home gym! Once you have a little one running around you’ll be even happier you have it! We have one in our garage right now (very basic) but it’s nice to not have to set up and breakdown our living room for workouts all the time.

Cheers to 2016! I see good things for you!!


Great goals for 2016! I like how you defined your goals. Good job! I am sure you will absolutely love your home gym. I can’t say how fabulous it is to have a treadmill in your own home. We just recently purchased a new one and it is the Proform PRO 9000. It is awesome and has the ability to program any route imaginable using Google maps. Check it out!


Your treadmill sounds amazing! I will definitely take a look at that one while doing all my research. Happy 2016! I hope your year is off to a great start already. xo

Jess @ Jess Runs ATL

Great goals!!! I can’t wait to see your home gym. 2016 is going to be an amazing year for you, I can feel it!!

Laura @ This Runner's Recipes

You have such great goals for 2016! I love your focus on running happy. 2016 is about racing happy for me, rather than fixating on particular time goals. I still want to race well, but I want to enjoy the training and races as well.
A home gym sounds so wonderful. All that training in the Florida heat will make you fly at your racecations when it’s cooler!

Smitha @ FauxRunner

Have you thought about getting a wahoo kickr? If you are getting back into tri, it is a great investment. I just got one and I need to explore it.


Hi Smitha! Happy New Year. I’ve never heard of that but I will be sure to google it and check it out! Wishing you an amazing 2016! xo

Gabrielle from Austria

Happy New Year, Jesica!
I’m looking forward to running and to reading your blog!


2015 definitely threw some things at you and the weather down here is just ridiculous, i think that it why I lost my running mojo and just being completely burnt out. I love your goals and mine are pretty much the same except the coaching part because I am not a coach, but just maybe I can inspire someone to get up and get moving!

Happy 2016!

Angela @ Happy Fit Mama

Running happy is definitely at the top of my list. Actually to stay running all year long is in the #1 spot! I’m hoping to reconnect with my running community. I’ve lost touch with some of my running friends just because I wasn’t running for so long. It’s so much easier to catch up over a run!

Kimberly @ Healthy Strides

I am so glad you are in a place that feels safer. And it might be muggy but I envy the warmer temperatures right about now. Even with a mildish winter, I’m just not cut out for cold.

I hope you have fun on your racecations! I don’t have any of those planned but several trips – Chicago in April and a road trip in July. Our final destination? St. Petersburg, Florida 🙂


St. Pete is not far from me at all!!! Please let me know when you will be in town so we can get together. Wishing you a wonderful 2016.


Since you’re in FL now you might want to look into http://www.runforfuncruise.com/ as a runcation. We went with them to Alaska June 2015 and had an experience of a lifetime.


Thank you for the recommendation. Happy running.