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Saturday, January 7, 2012

31 Days of Weight Loss Tips: Day 7 Run a Race

Photo by Katina Rogers on Flickr
If you need help getting motivated to start or stick to an exercise program, sign up for a race.

Few things will push you to workout quite like having an upcoming event that you need to be ready for. I recommend doing a race because it is probably the easiest event to get into -- there are no qualifications and races are held year-round all over the world -- anybody can do it. No matter the type of race you choose, be it a 5k, 10k, half-marathon, marathon, triathlon or Ironman -- the commitment holds you accountable.

The inability to get motivated is the most common complaint I've heard from people who want to get in better shape. They know what they want, but haven't figured out how to become interested enough to get off the couch.

When it comes to motivation, there are two types: internal and external. People who are internally motivated are able to push themselves in their athletic endeavors because they enjoy the sport and competition. People who are externally motivated are driven by outside factors such as rewards or praise.

What I like about planning to run a race, is that both internally and externally motivated people will have their motivation fires stoked. And for a lot of people, the race is just the kick-start they need to get them on a course for long-term physical activity.

Internally motivated people may find themselves really getting into the culture of racing -- researching training techniques, equipment that may help them compete -- all because they find the very idea of competing exciting and they enjoy it.

Externally motivated people may find themselves thinking about how exciting it will be to finish the race and possibly earning a medal for their competition. Or they may be thinking of how they can shut up the naysayers in their lives that think they can't do it.

So if you're finding that you just can't motivate yourself to get started, find a race in your area and sign up for it. Runner's World has a race finder tool on their website. Click here to check it out.

Smith, L.H., Kays, T.M., Sports Psychology for Dummies, 2010

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