If you’re like the millions of people worldwide who set new year’s resolutions in January, how are they working out for you? Chances are high that you probably decided that 2017 was going to be the year that you finally took control of your health and began to finally make decisions that would be advantageous to your health (and waistline).
For many of us, these proclamations probably also included a commitment to a regular exercise routine, too. The reality, however, is that it’s more likely than not that you probably didn’t follow through on your resolutions. Life got in the way, you lost your motivation, and before too long, you’ve reached the final quarter of 2017 really no better than you were when you began.
The nice thing is that when you decide to take charge of your health, it’s something that you can start literally doing right away. If you want to make better dietary choices, start the next time you eat.
If you want to start a regular exercise routine, start the same day that you decide it’s a habit you want to begin. Motivation is hugely important, of course, but so is setting up structures and routines in place that will help support your new habit when your motivation wanes (as it likely will, at one point or another).
Personally, I think one of the easiest ways to get committed to a regular exercise routine is by training for a race. As we’re approaching mid-October, an excellent goal would be to train for and participate in your first 5k race (approximately 3.1 miles) by the end of 2017. Even if you’ve never run a mile before or don’t consider yourself a “real runner,” most everyone can train to complete a 5k race in about 10 weeks’ time.
Below, I’ll provide some reasons that you should seriously consider running your first race before 2017 is over. It’s also important to get medical clearance from your medical professional to ensure that you can safely go about this goal, so don’t jump right in until (and unless) you’ve been medically cleared to do so!
Having a race on the calendar is great for accountability.
It can be really tempting to skip a workout (or not work out at all) if there’s nothing (tangible) you are striving for. Having a race on the calendar can be the difference between getting out of bed or sleeping in each morning. Plus, you may feel more inclined to work hard every day when you know that you’ve actually paid for something and don’t want to feel like you’re wasting your money.
Training for and running a race is a great way to meet people.
Running can be a very solitary endeavor if you choose it to be, but it’s also a fantastic way to meet people. Runners like to talk about running and ask all sorts of questions to people with more experience, and the non-runners in your life will appreciate you finding an outlet to “talk shop” each week (and not subject them to all your banter!). Many running stores offer free community fun runs each week, and after you log some miles together, you’ll likely be able to simply hang out with your new training buddies over some cold beverages.
Running is great for making you mentally tough.
By its very nature, running is really, really tough. Sometimes you may think that you won’t be able to complete a workout or a run, and you’ll often be presented with other moments of self-doubt. Running gives you an opportunity to work through these challenging moments, and even if you don’t always overcome the challenges, you will often get the self-satisfaction of knowing that you at least tried your very best, even if you came up a little short. This mental toughness that you cultivate in running can carry over to other aspects of your life, too, because sometimes we think we’re incapable of handling things, whereas in reality, we’re far more capable of more than for which we give ourselves credit.
Running your first race is intimidating but also a ton of fun!
There aren’t very many opportunities in our adult life when we get to do something for the first time. So many of us stay squarely in our comfort zone — because, well, obviously, it’s our comfort zone! — and as a result, we become a bit complacent and don’t fully grow into our potential. Doing something scary and intimidating like running your first race is an opportunity for you to get outside your comfort zone, but once you’re on the starting line and are in the thick of the race day atmosphere, you’ll see how awesome, magical, and fun race day really is! There’s really no feeling quite like it. You’ll soon understand why finish lines are some of the most special places in the world.
You’ll be setting an incredible example for your family and friends.
By training for and running your first race, you’ll be putting yourself (and your goals) out there in a very real and public setting. People will start to pay attention to your actions and words, and most likely, people will want to root you on and cheer for your success — even if they don’t know you!
You never know whom you will inspire by your training, and some of the most impressionable ones may be your very own family members. Think of the wonderful positive example that you’ll be setting. It’s totally worth it.
As we near the end of 2017, there will be several opportunities still to run in tons of 5ks — and many of them themed for Halloween, Thanksgiving, the holidays, or new year’s.
With a Couch-to-5k training plan under your belt, and the systems in place to help support your training, before too long you’ll find yourself at the starting line of your very first race! There are few places more special than that — unless, of course, you’re talking about the finish line. 🙂 Enjoy the process, and let it change your life for the better.