Go Ahead, Get Running: Why You Should Finally Register for a Race

Posted August 1, 2013 by Ellen Hunter Gans in Life After Five
running woman

You’re a goal-oriented person. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be part of Career Girl Network. So what’s stopping you from crossing that big fat running race off your bucket list?

I hear from people all the time who say things like, “I’d love to do a race, but I don’t have the time.”

Or, “I could never really do it.”

Or, my personal favorite, “I’m not a real runner.”

Stop with the excuses. This is your year. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Pick a race distance. If you’ve never run before, start with a 5K. If you’ve been dabbling for a while, consider a 10K. If you regularly run 4-6 miles comfortably, try a half marathon. Ready for the big kahuna? There’s always the full 26.2.
  • Determine how long you need to train. I recommend nine weeks for a 5K and 18 weeks for a full marathon. If you don’t have time to squeeze in a race this year, don’t worry — start building up mileage now, and you can run a race in the spring.
  • Find a race. Use Runner’s World’s Race Finder to locate one in your area.
  • Sign up. Seriously. It really, really helps to have something on the calendar. It’s all about accountability, people!
  • Find a training program. For 5Ks, I love Cool Running’s Couch to 5K plan. Women’s Health magazine has a beginner 10K training plan. For half and full marathons, I’m a huge fan of Hal Higdon’s training plans.
  • Find support. Use the Road Runners Club of America to find a running club in your area. Not a fan of running with others? No worries. Search online forums for support, or hit up a friend or co-worker who is willing to talk running with you.
  • Start — and keep — running. This is the hard part. You’ve probably heard about the runner’s high. Some people get it. Some of us don’t. Don’t worry about it. All of us benefit from running. You’re doing your body a favor, and it’s a whole lot cheaper than therapy. Running is your “me” time. It won’t always be sunshine and roses, but it’s a lifelong relationship, and those require work. Start ramping up mileage slowly, listen to your body, and focus on that finish line. Finish lines are addictive. Trust me.

About the Author

Ellen Hunter Gans

Ellen Hunter Gans is a freelance writer and communications strategist. She's also a marathon runner, an Ironman triathlete, a wildly untalented cross-country skier, a newly minted Crossfit junkie, a yoga devotee, a wannabe culinary genius, a voracious reader, a grammar snob, a world traveler, an outdoorswoman, an oenophile, a mediocre gardener, and a secret fan of awful television. Her blog is at www.lifeinreviews.com, and her business website is at www.wordcoutureconsulting.com.