When I think back to my very first time, all I can remember is how nervous I was. Was I really ready for it? What if I was just awful? What if I got a cramp and couldn’t finish? Or what if I came in last?
These were all the thoughts that were running through my mind as I laced up my shoes and headed out the door to attempt my first 5K. I hadn’t been running for very long, and certainly didn’t consider myself a ‘runner’ yet. My Saturday mornings were mostly spent sleeping in late and recovering from Friday night (keep in mind this was 15 years ago!).
As soon as I got to the site though, my anxiety quickly turned to excitement. And, as I crossed the finish line surrounded by my fellow racers of all shapes, sizes and ages, I knew in that moment things would never be the same.
Here are the 5 reasons why I think everyone should experience the magic of a 5K…
1. It’s energizing. The energy is amazing! It’s so positive and inspiring and everyone is friendly and encouraging. You are literally surrounded by hundreds of other people who are excited to be up and going for a run. And, at the finish line, people applaud you. It doesn’t get much better than that.
2. You get a change of scenery. If you do run outside on a regular basis, you probably tend to do the same route most all of the time; past the same houses, through the same intersections and around the same neighborhood. Running a 5K somewhere new gives you the opportunity to see your city (or maybe even another city) in a different way. You just may discover some new restaurants or shops or neighborhoods, or nature that you didn’t even know existed.
3. It’s motivational. It can be easy to blow off a workout here and there, but if you know you have something you are actually training for, it makes it easier to get out of bed, or to get it in after work in the evening instead of heading to happy hour or an 8-hour binge on Netflix.
4. You can make friends. What better place to meet other runners than at a race? And there’s plenty of ways to strike up a conversation with someone too: At the starting line, the queue for the porta-potties (honestly not creepy at all given the circumstances), or over a post-race banana and bottle of water.
5. You get to give back. Since most races support a good cause or benefit a charity, running a 5K can be a fun and healthy way to be a part of something bigger and to give to others. It’s amazing how inspired you can be when you are running for a cause that you are passionate about.
And if I haven’t convinced you so far, here are a couple of bonus reasons to consider doing a race. It’s a great excuse to buy some new gear, like shoes and running clothes. You will also end up with a free t-shirt. This can be a great conversation starter when people see it, or your new favorite nightshirt.
So now that the weather is getting nicer and you’re trying to think of fun things to do outside, pick a race and get yourself signed up!