It can be tough to find the motivation to exercise, so find a goal that works for you. Signing up for a race gives you a deadline and forces you to get up and get moving. It’s also a pretty realistic distance for all people of all ages — even beginners. You can easily train for a 5K in just three workouts a week, so it won’t take over your life like other longer races tend to do. It’s a short enough distance that you can train in just a few weeks, or spread out your training and work up to the distance to improve your speed!
FIND YOUR STRIDE
Participating in a race doesn’t mean it will be an all-out sprint to the finish line. While you can challenge yourself to finish the distance in a certain amount of time, you can go at your own pace. Many races have walking groups, or you can alternate running and walking. Find the way to do it your own way, and make it enjoyable.
HAVE FUN WITH FRIENDS & FAMILY
So often our social activities revolve around sitting at a table full of food and drinks, and while that’s not a bad thing all the time, wouldn’t it be great to find an activity to do with friends that gets you up and moving? Training and running a race with a friend is a great way to stay accountable and make working out fun.
A 5K is a great distance for your child to join you, as well. Many races allow you to run with a stroller or even Fido! It can become a family affair! Encouraging your children to be active and then modeling that behavior can help make exercise fun for everyone and keep your family close and active together. Getting young kids active sets them up to make healthy choices for the rest of their lives.
MEETING YOUR GOAL IS A RUSH
The pay-off of crossing the finish line and knowing you accomplished your 3.1-mile goal is pretty great! All of your work to get ready for the race — whether it was just a couple weeks or a couple months of training — paid off! You might even get a T-shirt, a medal or, at the very least, a celebratory banana or bagel!
Most races help raise money for important causes. You can find a 5K to support almost any organization or cause that you are passionate about, from breast cancer research to caring for premature babies to helping pets find forever homes.
On Feb. 22, Road Runner Sports is hosting a family-friendly 5K and 1-mile fun run to support Mission Valley YMCA’s annual Community Outreach Campaign. Funds raised through this race will go directly into the local community to provide programs like PE in our local schools, literacy help in after-school programs and swim lessons to keep kids safe in and around water.
You can sign up in advance at missionvalley.ymca.org or at the race. The YMCA team will be onsite for all the family fun including a gymnastics demo and obstacle course, face painting, opportunity drawings for great prizes and more!
—Kelly Ostrem is a Certified Health Fitness Specialist and a Certified Health Education Specialist. She writes on behalf of the Mission Valley YMCA.