But after watching last year's New York City Marathon, I decided that I was tired of telling people that I wasn't a runner. The next day, I registered to train for an April 2014 half marathon (13.1 miles) with The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. My dad and brother are cancer survivors, so I knew running for a cause that has impacted my family would be great motivation.
Training for my first half marathon, especially during the winter, was very difficult. Still, one benefit of running is the opportunity to constantly reach new goals. Every day is a chance to run farther or faster than the day before. After crossing the finish line of my first race in Washington D.C., I discovered that reaching so many small goals along the way had renewed my self-confidence. Since then, I have run another half marathon in San Francisco and am about to run my first full marathon at Disney World. I am also registered for at least two more 2015 races.
For me, running has become a lifestyle. The self-confidence that I've gained from racing has carried over into my career, my relationships, and other areas of life. Even when I've just finished a sweaty 18-mile training run, I feel strong, capable and beautiful. However, I don't necessarily think that running is the key to this feeling. I think it's more about setting a big goal and consistently training to reach it. Join an intramural soccer team, ride your bike across the state, complete a Tough Mudder. Here are a few tips to help you get started:
To begin, choose a race, event or activity and officially register for it. This will give you a date to work toward. It's especially motivating to choose a destination and make a trip out of your goal.
Having a friend train along with you is great accountability. It can also make the experience twice as fun. Soon, you'll find yourself trading group happy hours for team workouts.
Purchasing the right gear, whether it be new shoes or a bike, is not only an incentive to begin but is also safer for you. You'll prevent injury by having a professional help select your gear.
If you focus only on your end goal, it will make the training process feel long. Give yourself weekly mini goals to achieve along the way. This will remind you of your progress.
No matter the goal, training to accomplish it will leave you with boosted confidence. There's nothing more beautiful than working toward a physical accomplishment and owning it. In the end, you'll walk away with more than a medal and will be ready to set the bar even higher. Cheers to a healthy new year!
Disclosure: This post is part of a paid collaboration between SheKnows and Nature's Bounty®. All opinions are my own.
Image: The Q Speaks/Flickr
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