In the weeks to come and into the fall, there will be many opportunities to participate in various charitable and community run/walks. Go online and you can probably find a race almost any weekend without having to travel too far. Whether it is a local 5K for the community center or a multiple-day walk for a national charity or the city marathon, get those athletic shoes on and join in the fun! There is power in numbers, and nothing is better for your motivation than improving your health and fitness alongside hundreds of other like-minded people.
There are many reasons to participate in a racing event this year. Some people will participate purely for personal enjoyment, some will get involved to raise money for a cause, some will run/walk in memory of a loved one, and some will strive to achieve a particular goal. Whatever the reasons are, there is nothing like the exhilaration of participating in an event. In fact, after you’ve participated in one, you’ll probably be on the computer or paging through the newspaper looking for your next race. The energy is addictive!
It’s not a race to win
Don’t get caught up in the word “race.” I have people tell me that they don’t participate in a run/walk because they aren’t fast enough. As kids, we commonly used the word “race” to describe a competition to see who was the fastest. As adults, the race is really about your own individual accomplishments. Don’t think of it as a race to win, rather think of it as a race to be healthy, a race to get your heart pumping, a race to commit to a cause, or a race to reach your own personal goal — whatever that may be.
When I ran my first marathon, my oldest son (who was only 8 at the time) waited in the crowds of people with my husband to cheer me on. My son exclaimed as he watched me run by along thousands of other participants, “Dad, Mom’s never going to win!” I still laugh thinking about his innocent but misguided belief that I was running to actually win the marathon. I knew my goal was to finish the race, no matter how long it took me. I felt great about finishing the marathon — and about taking the opportunity to explain to my son that it wasn’t only about winning.
Set goals to fit your needs
It is all about setting attainable goals that are tailored to your own needs. As always, you or anyone else who is planning on participating in a race should consult a doctor to make sure there are no medical complications. To avoid burnout or injury, do not push your limits, especially in the first few weeks of training. Injury is one of the biggest disappointments to training, so make sure you have allowed enough time to build up your endurance and muscles. For your first race, you should plan on keeping a realistic pace and just feeling great about your newest accomplishment.
Race for a charitable cause
Many races are connected to charitable causes these days. What better way to work on your health than to join in the cause of improving others’ health and lives. By participating and paying an entry fee, you are supporting a larger cause and meeting fellow enthusiasts who share similar interests and goals.
Race with your kids
And don’t forget that kids can join in the fun, too! Kids seem to have boundless energy, and a race is a great opportunity to channel that energy in a positive way. Finishing a race not only teaches your children that they can have fun being healthy, but the fact that they accomplished something (especially as crowds are cheering them on), will do wonders to boost their self-esteem.
So, whether you are signing up for your first race or your 100th, I hope you have a great time, enjoy the energy and keep on moving!
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