Establishing a workout routine can be much harder than it sounds. Exercise is essential to maintaining good health and your ideal weight, but it is a lot of work, particularly at first. Many people try to start exercising regularly, but end up losing interest and abandoning their routine.
There are many ways to stay motivated to exercise, but today we’re going to talk about how training for races can be a great way to motivate you to get (and stay) in shape.
Why it Works
The reason that training for a race helps you stay motivated is simple: you’re working toward a goal, and it’s impossible to procrastinate if you plan to succeed.
In addition, registering for races gives you:
- A deadline to meet your fitness goals
- A concrete fitness goal to work toward
Choosing a Race Goal
Most people who want to get into racing start with a 5k race. At around three miles, this distance is perfect for beginners. In addition, the fees are usually modest and all types of people run these races.
After successfully running a few 5k races, you might consider moving up to a 10k. Half marathons and full marathons are also great goals, but take a lot of training. You can find many resources online for easing into a running program (see the bottom of this post).
Training for a race can seem daunting, particularly if you’ve never run before, but the key is to take it slowly. Don’t rush right in to running long distances without pausing every so often. For example, try running on a ¼ mile track and running every other lap until you can run the full mile without needing to walk.
It is highly advisable to incorporate an interval-training program as well because it will help you increase your endurance. You can accomplish this by sprinting (run as fast as you can) in short bursts during your training sessions.
Goal Setting Helps You Focus
Setting goals, such as running a full 5k without walking, or finishing a half marathon, helps you focus on your workout and on what you want to accomplish. Each day you will know what you need to do to work toward accomplishing that goal.
Simply running without knowing what you want to accomplish is more likely to lead to burnout or quitting. Focusing your energy toward the next race or the next pound is the way to seeing your training through to achieving measurable results.
After you’ve met your race goals, it could be easy to slip back into old bad habits and stop running. Nip this in the bud by scheduling more races at least 2 weeks in advance or trying a different type of workout. Invite friends or join a local running group to introduce the element of personal accountability to your workout routines.
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*Smartlipo is a trademark of Cynosure, Inc. The information on this page is not intended to be used as medical advice in any way. Always consult with your doctor for any health related concerns and before starting a new diet or exercise program.