It’s no secret I enjoy running and participating in all types of events that draw large crowds together along the streets of a city or a town. Besides the obvious health benefits, I find it absolutely exhilarating to run alongside thousands of people, hearing the cheering of family members and friends throughout every kilometer of the course.
I truly appreciate being on my own on some of my long training runs, being left alone with my thoughts and my choice of cheesy music. However, I see these running events as a reward to all the hard work. It’s not every day that thousands of people join you on a run.
I highly recommend you get involved and sign up for a run. You won’t regret it. If you haven’t tried it before, just head to a local running shop and you will find information about races and how to get started. If you are a runner but haven’t raced before, consider adding a bit of excitement to your training and sign up for a race.
Here are some of the reasons I think you should sign up for one:
- You will get in the best shape of your life. Running is a simple sport that requires very little in terms of investment of time and equipment. I took up running to stay fit between business trips where I couldn’t pack my bike or had the time to go for a ride. All it takes is a pair of running shoes and half an hour, and you can get a good quality training run. And once you begin it, you will be surprised at how far you can go after a few weeks.
- You will have an incredible sense of accomplishment when you finish. There’s nothing like crossing the finish line after a long run, especially if you have never done it. Believe me, the feeling is exhilarating. You will feel rightly proud of yourself and of what you can accomplish in all areas of your life.
- You will feel more energetic and productive at work. This is a benefit I didn’t expect when I first started. I thought regular exercise—especially training for a half marathon—would sap my energy. It had exactly the opposite effect. I am never more focused and energetic than when I am in the middle of training.
- You will have a more positive outlook on life and on dealing with stress. The stress of modern life takes its toll. The economic realities of the past two years haven’t helped. Training for a run will also train your perseverance and your discipline, and in term you will be able to deal with any stress more efficiently. You will even sleep better. Guaranteed.
- You will gain the confidence to take on other challenges. This is one of the main reasons I love to run. It gives me the opportunity to tackle my biggest challenge—me. If I can overcome the mental obstacles I encounter on the way to the race, I can put those skills to use in other endeavors.
- You will provide an example for others. True leadership begins with self-leadership. When you lead yourself, you inspire others to want to follow. Maybe it’s a spouse, or a friend, or one of your children. They need to exercise, but they don’t have an example to follow. You can be that example.
- You can help raise money for a worthy cause. This takes running to a whole new level. It’s no longer just about me, but about something significant that makes a difference.
- A great excuse to travel. You can make running a race a weekend event for you and the whole family. Nowadays there are tons of running events in every city, and you can make a whole trip out of the event. A chance to explore a new city. How about the Rome Marathon? A 10K in Madrid? Half Marathon in Paris?
Truth is these are just a few of the reasons I love signing up and participating in running events, and they only begin to scratch the surface of the hundreds of reasons I’ve heard over the years from runners. So take advantage of the good weather and sign up today for a 5K, a 10K, a Half Marathon or a full Marathon.
A few days ago I had the opportunity to run the Toronto Half Marathon, and even though the conditions were less than ideal (wet start, light rain and a bit windy on the course), it really makes no difference when so many people are running together. Passing so many people standing in the rain waiting for their family members or friends go by, only fuels you to stay on target and keep going all the way to the finish line.