Pick a race. Any race. A 5K, mini-tri, or half Ironman. There are hundreds to choose from at this time of year. Now go ahead and get signed up. It will automatically increase your motivation to run, swim, bike or all three.
It’s hard to get up everyday and hit the pavement or pool without a goal. Signing up for an event to compete in forces you to put your money (and pride) on the line. It’s called putting some skin in the game. And it works! You’ll be less likely to skip your workouts or hit the snooze and more likely to set goals to increase your distance and speed between now and race day.
The popularity of 5Ks, half marathons, sprint tris and half Ironman events has exploded over the past several years. They draw amateurs, athletes and everyone in between. Once you complete your first event, you’ll get ‘race fever’ and there will be no stopping you.
There are so many reasons to join the millions of people that participate each year in races.
1. It’s Social – You make new friends and travel to fun places. Here’s a picture of me and my pals – some old and some new – before the Hot Chocolate 15K in Chicago last November. We had a fun time in Chi Town the evening before the race and did a little shopping after the race before heading home.
2. Finish Line Rush – Nothing compares to the feeling of accomplishment when you cross the finish line. My daughter and her friend like to do mini-tris. They recently did one in Southern Illinois that was a 400 yard swim, 14 milk bike and a 5K run. Here they are cheesin’ for the camera before the race.
Here they are post race. Tired but happy. Exactly how they should be!
One more picture that supports the ‘It’s All Worth it Because of The Finish Line Rush’ theory.
3. Bragging Rights – How many people get to run the Indianapolis 500 race track? Actually it turns out to be quite a few. The Indy Mini is the largest half marathon in the U.S. and draws 35,000 participants between the 5K and half marathon. Half marathoners spend about two and a half miles of the race on the Indy 500 race track. Cool beans!
4. You Might Win Your Age Group – There is some serious competition at big events but in some of the smaller, local races you have a chance to work your way up to winning a prize in your age group. I won second place in a small YMCA 5K one year and third place on a trail run I did last fall despite tripping and falling over a tree root buried in leaves. You can bet I’ll be out there next year to maintain my third place status.
5. You Get Cool Stuff – At most races you’ll come away with a participation shirt. At the Indy Mini we got a long-sleeved shirt and a hat.
I wore the hat the next day at the race. The shirt was going to be too warm but I’ll wear it next year when it gets chilly.
6. It’s Fun! – What can I tell you. Running, swimming, biking with thousands of other people is fun! It’s all about setting those personal goals and watching them come to life alongside several thousand people that you don’t know. They cheer you on. You cheer them on. There’s a spirit of comradery that’s hard to match.
Did I mention there’s always an after party?
What Are You Waiting For?
After your first race you’ll have the fever and want to sign up for something more challenging. Once you get the ball rolling there’s no way to stop it. (Don’t say I didn’t warn you.) The training will become part of your life and you’ll get in your best shape ever.
Check out Active.com for a complete list of events and find one close to home.
What are you waiting for? Get signed up! Now!
If you liked this article you might also like: From Swim To Bike To Run: Ten Training Tips For A Sprint Triathlon
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