For some people the word fun and run don’t belong together. Quite the juxtaposition. And if you’re one of those people you might dismiss this article by the title alone, but if you’re here you must be curious, so bear with me, there are more reasons other than enjoyment as to why you should enter a fun run type event.
Motivation towards a goal
Anyone can start running at any time, and you’ve probably done this yourself. You decide for one reason or another that you need to start running. You go on a couple of runs but eventually stop running. This wouldn’t be the case if you’ve entered a fun run.
Therefore, I believe the biggest reason to enter a fun run, especially if it’s a distance well out of your comfort zone, is that it will give you that motivation to put your runners on and get the kilometres in the legs. Having that end goal is one of the best ways to keep the motivation levels high. Even when the event is over, if you’ve regularly train, you’ll be more likely to stick with this new habit.
One of the biggest reasons people decide to start running is for weight loss, which is a commendable goal. The problem with this being your only goal, is that you’re not likely to see results in the time it takes to form the habit. This can lead to becoming disheartened and give up. It’s important to have another goal in mind, as this will help you continue striving for longer. If your event is far enough away, you’ll no doubt start to see some noticeable results and hey presto, you can hit both of your goals come race day.
Increase cardiovascular fitness
Cardiovascular fitness is the ability the heart, blood cells and lungs can supply oxygen through the blood to the muscles, as well as the ability of the muscles to use that oxygen to produce movement. Running is one of the most effective ways to improve these processes.
If your main goal is to build muscle and believe you don’t need cardiovascular fitness, think again. Yes, you will improve cardiovascular fitness by lifting weights, but it’ll be a slower process. If you want to help your muscles lift heavier weights for longer, then you should think about improving your cardiovascular fitness. Running is the quickest way to do that, and entering a fun run will give you a good goal to aim for.
Good for mental health
It is a highly studied field and well documented that running, or any exercise, increases the release endorphins. These are the crucial to the body’s reward system and speaking in evolutionary terms, ensured our survival as a species. But this isn’t a biology lesson, all you need to know is that exercise makes you feel happy and improves your overall mood. Running in the morning can really set you up for a good day. Once you start to notice this high, you’ll crave it, and even miss it when you don’t run.
Cross training for another sport
Running is a great way to help improve your performance in another sport, particularly when you don’t have time to play said sport.
Say you play footy or basketball on a casual basis, you’re probably fairly fit, but by running you’ll be able to effectively improve your endurance for the game with minimal cost of time. Aiming for a big goal will encourage you to go running and vastly improve your fitness compared to just gaining that fitness by playing the sport.
Raise money for a charity
Another big reason many people enter a fun run is to raise money for a charity close to their heart. The London Marathon, for example, raises over £50m for charity from people running. By entering a fun run, you can encourage your friends, family and work colleagues to sponsor you to raise money for a good cause.
As with many other activities, there are other people with similar interests. Running in particular has a huge number of participants, in fact 4.8 million people run in Australia[i]. With all those people there will be other people that have a similar level to you, therefore you shouldn’t struggle to join a local running group to help you get fit for the event. In fact, many events offer up running sessions to help people get ready, or unofficial spin off groups pop up to help. This is a great for building new friendships.
Once you’ve entered an event, you’ll likely let someone you know about it. That person, whether intentionally or just in your mind, will keep you accountable to achieving your goal.
Race day personal records
If you’ve never ran a 5km, 10km, half-marathon or even a marathon before, then the race day motivation will really help you complete that goal. If you have, and you want a better time, if you’ve been training hard, you’ll likely hit that PR!
It’s my favourite thing about entering an organised fun run. That extra drive it gives you on the day. You’re far more likely to get a good time with all the other extra motivating factors; roadside supporters cheering you on, and other athletes to use as pacers and competition.
Whatever reason works for you, running is great for your fitness and overall health, excluding any injuries you might be susceptible to. But if you don’t have the internalised desire to just run, entering a fun run is a great way to set a future goal and help motivate you towards it. At the end of the day, a fun run acts as a defined goal and helps to motivate you to keep running.
For those that want to learn more about running or have clients that are thinking about incorporating more running into their program, even entering a fun run, we have an excellent workshop dedicated to the subject: Running for Personal Trainers.
This workshop everything from running technique, programming and drills and how they can be used to get results for clients with running specific fitness goals.
[i] Roy Morgan Single Source January – December 2015, sample n = 15,367 Australians 14+