If you’re interested in losing weight, or in maintaining a recent weight loss, then you’re probably already well aware that both what you eat (or do not eat, as may often be the case), as well as how you move your body (or more specifically, how often or how vigorously) will hugely affect your short-term and long-term success rates.
In other words, to get at a healthy weight, it’s imperative that you actually care about what foods and beverages you put into your body. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it’s also really important that you make exercise part of your daily life.
There are tons of different “diets” out there, spanning the gamut from the super restrictive to the “everything is ok in moderation” mentality, and similarly, there are tons of different types of exercises out there that you can do. What works for you may not work as well, if at all, for someone else, so it’s important that you “do” you, that you “be” you, that you worry only about yourself and your progress.
My recommended exercise of choice? Running. I love running, and have been a runner for most of my life, and part of the reason I love it so much is because of its flexibility.
You don’t have to run marathons or ultramarathons to be a runner; you can do high intensity interval training (HIIT) at your local track and still work up a great sweat and reap the health benefits from the exercise.
Why You Should Sign Up for a Race
If you’d like an extra kick in the pants this year, however, consider registering for your first race. Again, you don’t have to register for something huge and arduous like a 26.2 mile/42 kilometer marathon; even a 3.1 mile/5k is a great goal to have and something that you can fold into your health and wellness training.
Let me outline five additional reasons as to why you should sign up for your first race in 2017:
1. It’ll give you accountability
Having a race on the calendar helps to motivate me to get up and do my prescribed workouts every day.
I know many people like this; if they don’t have a race on the calendar, something to direct their training, they’re more likely to flounder and not follow-through on their commitment.
2. You’ll become financially invested
Once you register for your race, that money is gone; races rarely refund registration costs. If you register for a race and ultimately don’t train for it, you’re essentially throwing your money away, and most people wouldn’t willingly do that.
3. Racing helps get you outside your comfort zone
As adults, we so easily and so often become creatures of comfort. Racing, however, helps push us beyond our comfort zones, even if only for a few moments, and in racing and in training for said race, we have opportunities to push beyond our self-imposed barriers, expectations, and limitations.
You may think you could never run a 10 minute mile, for example, so imagine how empowered and floored you’ll feel when you finally do it for the first time! Maybe the thought of running an entire mile seems impossible, but with time and practice, I bet you’ll get stronger than you ever thought you’d be able to become.
Racing is like the carrot on the stick that we’re all chasing, and once we finally “get it,” it’s a feeling unlike any other.
4. Racing will allow you to meet tons of like-minded people
You’ll see a sea of humanity at the start/finish line of every race, and every person comes to the line with a story.
Some people are there to try to run personal bests (their fastest possible time for that distance), while others might be there to celebrate the months of hard work of training. Others might be there because they want to prove to themselves that this is something that they’re capable of doing, regardless of what others might have told them or what their self-imposed negative voices have convinced them to believe.
Ultimately, these people – the people who are empowered, who have taken control of their lives and their health – are the people you want to surround yourself with. Good vibes only for these guys – and the running community is full of good, positive, and welcoming vibes.
5. Racing is a ton of fun! You’ll feel like a kid again!
Rarely, as adults, do we get to throw our concerns to the wayside and simply have fun.
I often feel that racing is like structured play time for adults. There’s such joy to simply go out there and run as fast as possible – essentially playing chase or tag with the other racers – and the positive energy it creates is incredibly invigorating and uplifting.
It’s hard to convey this feeling if you’ve never raced before, but I can all but guarantee that once you complete your first race, you’ll be hooked on the feeling.
If you’ve committed your 2017 to making yourself into the very best “you” that you can become, I urge you to seriously consider putting a race on your calendar this year.
It’s an excellent way to healthily push your boundaries, while still taking good care of your health and wellness, and you’ll probably find that training for a race will buoy your diet and exercise ambitions as well.
You’ve got nothing to lose and tons to gain from the experience, so don’t delay!