Nothing is more frustrating to me than talking to people about getting in shape, or wanting to start exercising more, and as soon as I bring up the idea of training for a race, being met with a “no, I don’t think so… [and, insert waffling here].” Honestly, even if you don’t think you can do it, training for a race of any kind is an incredibly rewarding experience—even if the only thing you take away from it is being relieved at having finished. But you might surprise yourself.
Not convinced? Here are 5 reasons you should get out and train.
1. The sense of accomplishment
What better feeling is there than working long and hard for something, and seeing your effort rewarded? It doesn’t matter what race it is—whether it’s a 5k, a triathlon, or a century bike ride, putting in months of hard work and seeing it pay off is one of the greatest feelings in the world. And, who knows… maybe you’ll even stick with it once the race is over.
2. Getting fit
Let’s face it, everyone wants to be in shape; but the idea seems daunting. Everyone knows it’s harder to get in shape than it is to maintain, so having a goal you’re working towards will make that fitness goal much easier to wrap your brain around and kickstart your road to that six-pack—plus, those endorphins!
3. The excuse to travel
I do the Cal Poly March Triathlon Series every year because a) it’s a great race, with incredibly friendly people, a beautiful setting, and lots of collegiate triathletes to ogle, and b) because it’s an excuse to go to San Luis Obispo. My mom and I will be taking our third girls’ weekend to SLO, and this race has been the perfect excuse. When you’re looking for races, the location is absolutely something to keep in mind—why not pick somewhere cool? That’s motivation in and of itself.
4. The badassery
For every person who trains for and competes in a race, there are (roughly) 50 that do nothing. So being able to tell people you’re training for, or have just done, a triathlon is a pretty sweet feeling—and, even if they’re an Ironman or an ultramarathoner, they always come away impressed that you’re going for it. And hey, every time you wear your race t-shirt, people will see how awesome you are.
5. The camaraderie
“But wait,” you say, “running is an individual sport. Camraderie?!” You’re right; in the end, a marathon completely depends on yourself and you can’t rely on any teammates to magically shave minutes off your time. But there are countless clubs out there where you can meet people who have a passion for the sport and know a thing or two about training. You’ll be surprised by how much teamwork there can be, even though everyone’s competing against each other.
Happy training! Let me know what you’re training for in the comments.