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Join In The Thrill Of The Race
In the coming months and into the fall, there will be many racing opportunities to participate in charitable and community run/walks. Go online and you can probably find a race most any weekend without having to travel too far.
Whether it's a 5-K for the local community center, a multiple day walk for a national charity, or a city marathon, get those athletic shoes on and join the racing fun! There is power in numbers and nothing is better for your motivation than improving your health and fitness alongside hundreds of like-minded walkers and runners.
People often tell me that they don't participate in run/walks because they aren't fast enough. Don't get caught up in the word "race." As kids, we used the word to describe a competition to see who was the fastest.
But as adults, racing is really about your own individual accomplishment. Don't think of it as a race to win, but as a race to be healthy, to get your heart pumping, to support a cause, or to reach your own personal goal—whatever that may be.
When I ran my first marathon, my oldest son (who was only 8 at the time) waited with my husband to cheer me on. As he watched me run by along thousands of other participants, he exclaimed, "Dad, mom's never going to win!" I still laugh thinking about his innocent but misguided belief that I was running to win the marathon.
My goal was to finish the race, no matter how long it took me. I felt great about finishing the marathon—and having the opportunity to explain to my son that it wasn't only about coming in first.
There are many reasons to participate in a racing event: personal enjoyment, fundraising for a cause, running/walking in memory of a loved one, and achieving a particular goal. Whatever the reason, there is nothing like the exhilaration of participating in a walking event. In fact, after you've completed one, you'll probably waste no time looking for your next race. The energy is addictive!
More from Prevention:Answers To All Your Training Questions
Many races are connected to charitable causes. What better way to work on your health than to join in the effort to improve others' health and lives? By participating and paying an entry fee, you are supporting a larger cause and meeting fellow enthusiasts who share similar interests and goals. This is a perfect time of the year to start training for summer and fall racing. Just remember to set attainable goals that are tailored to your own needs. And as always, consult a doctor to make sure there are no medical issues or complications.
To avoid burnout or injury, don't push your limits, especially in the first few weeks of training. Injury is one of the biggest disappointments in training, so make sure you have allowed enough time to build up your endurance and muscles. For your first race, plan on keeping a realistic pace and just feeling great about your newest accomplishment.
And don't forget that kids can join in the fun, too! My youngest, who is now 8, recently completed a 5-K with my husband and me. The smile on his face at the finish line was infectious. Kids seem to have boundless energy, and racing is a great way to channel that energy in a positive way.
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