Here we go. Another article by a personal trainer, waving the pom poms and saying you should just sign up for that race! It will be so. much. FUN!
“Your idea and my idea of fun are different”, you might be thinking. You might also be thinking:
- Exercising is my ‘me time’. Crowds not invited.
- I don’t want to be held to a specific time and date. What if I seriously don’t feel like it that day?
- I’m not really competitive. Exercising is its own reward and I don’t really care how I place in comparison to others.
- Except that it would be a bummer to totally suck in comparison to others.
But here’s the deal; you really should sign up for that race… for reasons that have nothing to do with running.
1. It will create an anchor memory for your summer.
If you participate in an event, I think we can probably agree that you will be more ‘present’ than on any other regular Saturday. The unfamiliar surroundings, the heightened emotions, the spandex-clad strangers….it’s just like traveling in Europe.
I make the analogy because the reason we remember our travels so vividly is because we spend that time AWAKE. I’m sure I won’t be the first person to tell you that when we are present and paying attention to the moment we are happier. But did you know that being present in an uncomfortable situation (say, for example, huffing through your first 5K) makes you happier even than fantasizing about something pleasant?
And when we are present and paying attention, we start to create memories. It’s the reason you might remember your 10th birthday party more than any other day of being 10. Now, if summer isn’t about creating happiness and memories, what is?
2. You will start to measure your fitness in performance, not pounds.
Most of us start exericsing to lose weight and it can be so satisfying when zippers start co-operating and everyone is complimenting you and the scale is getting downright flirty. You might recognize yourself in this moment:
However, the body is going to adapt and the weight loss will – and should – slow down and eventually level off. So now what? You could just keep busting it for weight maintenance or you could start a new challenge. What else are you interested in improving? Your stamina? Your speed? Your adherence to a set training schedule? How would your experience of being ‘fit’ change if you stopped measuring pounds and instead started measuring push-ups and participation medals?
3. You reinforce your identity as an athlete and create accountability
Let me tell you something. I am a personal trainer of over 14 years. I’ve even won medals that weren’t for participating. And yet if someone were to ask me if I consider myself an ATHLETE, I would immediately revert to being a sedentary, artsy teen who would have rather died than be caught in the act of physical exertion.
However, every day that I say I’m going to work out and then I actually DO IT, I am reinforcing my new identity as someone who is active and athletic. When I sign myself up for an event, I am declaring that identity publicly, which further reinforces it, and creates social accountability (no small force).
4. You’ll suck less than you think. In any case, you’ll definitely suck less than you do now.
Straight up: The race day is going to come or go whether you do the race or not. But if you do the race, you will definitely be closer to your peak physical condition. Why? Because of your big, beautiful ego! When you have moments where you lie in bed thinking, “I don’t want to go to bootcamp this morning…I didn’t sleep well… I’m still sore from last time…” and then you’ll think: “Crap. I signed up for that *&%!! race! I’ve got to get up and go train or I won’t be ready.” And then you’ll get up.
Thank you, ego.
You’re welcome, ass.
5.The beer you will have afterwards will taste so good.
Even if you don’t achieve some superstar time, you will drink that beer like a champion because you are proud that you committed to do this thing. And it wasn’t always convenient, or fun, and you had to put yourself out there a bit, but goldang it, you are the kind of person who does what she says she will do.
And then a year later, Facebook will dig up the anniversary of this picture:
and it will cause a lot of your friends to swear they would NEVER do a race like that, but you’ll smile and tell them that it’s actually…alot of fun.