Not the competitive type? You don’t have to be! Learn why it’s worth your while to fill out an entry blank.
Races are everywhere these days, and on any given weekend it’s not difficult to find one to run. A quick search of the internet can find a race for you in no time at all. Runningintheusa.com reports that there are currently over 34,000 races in the U.S. alone. So why should you run a race if you’re not signed up for one already? Here are 10 good reasons:
- Motivation. Everyone needs a little help getting out the door to run every once in a while. We get tired, busy or just plain lazy. If you have a race penciled in on the schedule it can help you get out there and log those few extra miles that you wouldn’t get in otherwise. Accountability is everything, and signing up for a race can be the motivation you need to get out there and get it done. Whether you’re running for a personal best or just to get to the finish line, you’re going to have to train to get there.
- A sense of accomplishment. There isn’t anything quite like coming across the finish line of a race. It doesn’t matter if it’s your first 5K or your tenth marathon, the sense of accomplishment you get after a race can’t be duplicated. Remember to flash a big smile when you come across the finish line — there’s a good chance someone is taking your picture!
- Make new friends. Attending a local race can help you to meet some people that you won’t find running around your neighborhood. Whether it’s a few dozen people on the starting line of your local 5K or several thousand at a major marathon, there’s potential at every race to make a whole bunch of new running friends.
- Explore the city. It’s not often you get to run down the middle of closed roads or on marked trails. Running a race can be a great way to go on vacation and see a city, as oftentimes race routes will take you to parts of a place that you haven’t been to before. Everyone needs an excuse to get away for a week (or even just a weekend), right?
- Get a new shirt. Most races will offer you a t-shirt when you sign up to participate. A t-shirt is more than just a shirt: it’s a reminder of your accomplishment and might even encourage a friend or two to join you for the next one.
- Fitness check. One way to find out what kind of shape you are in is to step up to the starting line and race. Simple as that. There’s no way to fake getting from the start to the finish. The end result will be a good indicator of how your training is going and if you need to change anything.
- Quench your competitive spirit. Get your friends together and challenge each other to run a race together. This is one way to foster friendly competition and keep each other accountable. No ties allowed.
- Exercise. You will be hard-pressed to find another form of exercise that will yield a better sweat or burn more calories than giving it your all at a race. According to the Cleveland Clinic Center for Consumer Health Information a 125 pound person will burn 253 calories running a 5K and 2,139 calories running a marathon. A 150 pound person burns 303 calories in a 5K and 2,566 in a marathon. If you are 175 pounds those numbers are 354 and 2,994, respectively. At 200 pounds you’re looking at 405 calories in a 5K and a whopping 3,422 calories in a marathon. What are you waiting for?
- Get outdoors. Get off the treadmill and head outside to get a few miles in. There’s no reason to hide indoors when there are races to run! If the gym treadmill is your sanctuary, you’ll be amazed at how much more fun it is to get out with people and run a race than it is to log another mile running in place.
- Learn something about yourself. Racing allows you the opportunity accomplish something you once might not have thought possible. You may be faster than you think, or perhaps you will learn to push beyond your comfort zone. Want to find out? Start by filling out an entry blank!
About The Author:
Chad Worthen competed in the 2004 Olympic Trials Marathon and is a USATF Level 2 coach based in Sacramento.