Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Getting in Shape for a GREAT Cause? Step 1

So you've made your New Year's Resolution to get in shape. Maybe you want to lose weight, maybe you just want to get back into the shape you were in before the holidays, or maybe you were always a casual athlete but want to challenge yourself. In any case, before the new year, you made excuses for yourself, but now you're ready to go for it. However, you need a little more motivation than to fit into your skinny jeans. Maybe you also have a cause you're passionate about. You volunteer at a soup kitchen every Saturday, or you walk dogs at your local animal shelter, or you're a tutor or mentor. This is your motivation, to raise money and awareness for an organization that you love by running (walking, swimming, biking, basically moving) in a race.

Trust me, I've tried the going to the gym every day type of resolution. And the lose 10 pounds resolution. But last year I realized that in order for a resolution to stick, I'd need to combine a goal that I couldn't back out of (signing up for the Chicago marathon) and doing it for a cause I'm passionate about. So here's Step 1 of fulfilling that New Year's Resolution and helping your favorite charity:

1. Sign up for a race. Be reasonable and be KIND to yourself. Don't sign up for a marathon if it intimidates you. If running a 5-k is a big step for you, sign up for one if you think you can finish it. Also, if you hate running, but enjoy swimming, or biking, or even walking there a variety of races where you can raise money for your favorite charity. Do some research, and I'm sure you'll find something. A favorite resource of mine is the Chicago Area Runner's Association website, which has a calendar of races that you can enter throughout the year. They also give you resources for training groups and other fun races along the way. I think you'll find the mere fact of signing up for a race (which you'll raise money for) a very easy and much more concrete goal than just fitting into your skinny jeans.

But how will you get the motivation to stick with your training? Find out tomorrow . . .

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