One of the best ways to motivate yourself to stay active is to set a goal, and if you’re thinking about joining one of the many fitness events out there, now is the time to get going. Finding a fitness event to participate in is a great way to stay on track with your routine, while challenging yourself to do something different. And it’s fun.
So whether you want to run with zombies, walk in a tutu, or scramble through mud, there’s a fitness challenges out there for you. So how do you choose and prepare? We have 5 tips.
1. Find your options. There are all kinds of fitness events to consider, including 5K walk/runs, obstacle courses for adults and kids, bicycle races and events, 3-day walks, triathlons, and half-and full marathons. Check out active.com to help you find potential events. You can search near your hometown or look in a place you’d like to visit. If you’re looking for a challenge, AICR is participating in several half and full marathons across the county. Combining a vacation with a goal fitness event is a really fun way to see a new place and celebrate your accomplishment.
2. Consider your current fitness level and reach a little further. Setting a goal event to work toward can help you push yourself beyond what you think you can achieve, but it is important to be realistic. A goal event should represent the next step in your fitness journey. Look back at your activity level over the last month and use that as your base. If you’ve been walking a mile a couple times a weeks, a 5K walk or run is a great option. If you’re an avid runner, consider a longer distance race. The event should feel like a stretch, but shouldn’t feel impossible. Also, be realistic about the time you have available to train.
3. Determine whether you want to include fundraising in your training. Many events, such as walk-a-thons and charity team endurance events, require you reach a minimum fundraising goal. It’s a great way to get involved with a cause that is meaningful to you, just be sure that you are up for the challenge. TeamAICR is a great way to support cancer research while participating in an endurance event. And if there isn’t an event listed on our page, you can still fundraise by creating your own personal webpage; email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
4. Schedule in time to train. You’ll likely enjoy the event – and be safer – if you’ve taken the time to train properly. Before you sign up, be sure you’ve got the time to fit in the necessary training and then find the support you’ll need to ensure your success. If you’ve signed up for an event as part of a charitable team, find out if they offer coaching support—it’s often part of the benefit you receive for your fundraising efforts. Otherwise, find a tool that provides the support you need. There are several online resources that can help, such as the Walking Connection’s endurance walking schedules, Coolrunning.com’s Couch to 5K program, and Active.com’s training tips (click “Training” on top tool bar). Finally, if you can find someone who has done the event before, talk to them to see if they have any event-specific training tips to offer.
5. Grab a friend (or online buddy) to train with and – have fun. Working toward accomplishing a new fitness goal should be fun; make sure you keep that in mind as you plan your training. Find friends and/or a community to train with, plan in small rewards along the way (such as getting a massage or buying new fitness gear), and keep a positive attitude throughout.
It may be tough, but that’s the point–you are challenging yourself to do something you’ve never done before. Enjoy the process and view the event itself as a big celebration of your hard work.