Reasons to Run Your First Race This Year
It’s hard to believe we’re nearly halfway through 2018. How are your new year’s resolutions coming along?
If you’re like most people, you’ve long forgotten all your audacious goals by now, the ones you set on December 31 and loudly proclaimed for all to hear.
Just because you may have forgotten your goals by now, that doesn’t mean you have to abadon them completely. If you’re itching to challenge yourself for the rest of the year, make some great new friends in the process, feel better than you have in years, and have a ton of fun in the process, allow me to suggest that you make 2018 the year you run your first race.
Before you counter with but I hate running! Or I heard that running is bad for your knees! Or any other knee-jerk response that you may have, hear me out. There are tons of distance options available for you to attack this year, so if you want to do *only* a 5k (3.1 miles), that’s totally okay. If you’re more inclined to go longer, like a half marathon (13.1 miles/21k) or a marathon (26.2 miles/42k), that’s perfectly fine, too; your training will just look completely different.
There’s a lot of misinformation out there about running (see: the ‘it’s bad for your knees!’ commentary above), but in training for your first race this year, you’ll surely learn and hear a lot of it and will begin to understand where the errors reside.
Below, I’ll describe in more detail additional reasons as to why you should run your first race in 2018, as well as tips to help you go about tackling this wonderful goal.
Some reasons to make 2018 the year you finally run your first race include the following:
Having a date on the calendar is key
Many people struggle with getting into and then maintaining a fitness routine because they begin to lose steam or interest after a while. They may begin going to the gym consistently, for weeks on end, and then suddenly they start skipping days because of one reason or another, and before long, they haven’t gone in months. Having a race on the calendar removes a lot of the guesswork from the equation because it’s a day that’s set in stone.
It’ll urge you to be accountable
Related to my earlier point, having a specific date on the calendar can be instrumental because it’ll help you be accountable. You’ll know at any given time how many days, weeks, or months stand between you and Race Day, and you’ll likely be more inclined to show up when you have a date looming over your head.
You’ll probably not want to waste your money
Unless you have an egregious amount of disposable income, chances are high that you won’t want to waste your hard-earned money on a race that you couldn’t complete because you didn’t train for it. Paying for an event, like a race, and then having that special date on your calendar can be what gets you out the door each day, even when you don’t want to, because you won’t want to feel like you’ve wasted your money.
It’ll allow you to meet people
The running community is robust, diverse, welcoming, and a ton of fun. When you’re training for your first race, particularly if you’re training with a training group organized out of a local running store, you’ll be afforded the opportunity to meet tons of other like-minded people, some of whom are probably also training for their first race. There’s something special and magical about the strength in numbers in the running community, and it can be really nice to “talk shop” with other runners when you’re experiencing similar highs and lows during training. As adults, we don’t often get many opportunities to make new friends, so don’t squander this opportunity.
Challenging yourself is fun
Many of us more or less live within our comfort zones in our lives, never diverting from what we know to be usual and predictable, and after a while, we get the doldrums and begin to get bored. We rarely afford ourselves the opportunity to challenge ourselves, probably because we fear failure, even on a subconscious level, but we all know that if we don’t challenge ourselves, we’ll never really know what we’re fully capable of achieving. Training for your first race is an exercise in challenge yourself each day and overcoming obstacles and in the process, becoming both mentally and physically stronger and more resilient than you ever thought possible. Don’t fear failure; instead, simply give yourself the opportunity to try. You may completely blow away your expectations.
Putting in the hard work is extremely gratifying
Training for and running your first race can be a challenging process, to be sure, but it’s also extremely gratifying and rewarding. Working hard to realize your goal allows you to create such an impressionable model for those around you — be they your own children, your family members, or your adult colleagues at work or school — and realistically, you’ll never know whom you’re inspiring to get out there and do the same. It becomes somewhat addicting to see what we can pull out of our bodies — how much faster we can run, how much farther we can go, or the like — and having the ongoing feedback from our bodies is really rewarding.
Work with a coach to stay healthy and get results
Finally, when you’re training for your first race, it’ll be worth the investment to work with a coach to help ensure that you’re training in a way that is sustainable and healthy for you. It can be tempting to simply download some random training plan from the internet and try to follow it accordingly, but it’s important that you take things conservatively when you’re doing this rodeo for the first time. A coach will help guide you through your workouts each week and will help you get healthy — and stay healthy — so that you show up to the starting line in prime shape and ready to roll.
If you wanted to do something positive for yourself and for your health in 2018, training for and running your first race is the way to go. In doing so, you’ll learn tons about yourself, and chances are high that you’ll surprise yourself, too, and accomplish things that you never knew you were capable of doing. Never look back, and go join the millions-strong worldwide running community; you (and your health!) will be glad you did.
AUTHOR’S BIO: JANE GRATES
A professional runner and blogger. Doing at the crossroads of simplicity and sustainability to express ideas through design.