Millions of people long to be in better shape.  Mix the desire for self-improvement with the social convention of the New Year Resolution and every gym becomes a crowded mass of winded-patrons during the month of January.  February arrives in a hurry.  The crowded masses running in place on a treadmill tends to thin a bit.  By March, new year resolution inspired gym members pay the monthly gym fee despite never sitting foot inide of the gym.  The start of April assures no members have to wait in line to use equipment.  The majority of the new members who joined in early 2013 have cancelled their membership.

Gym Treadmills

Pushing and pulling weights at a crowded gym is not for everyone.  Running in place on a treadmill, while watching basic cable on a distant TV, doesn’t float everyone’s boat.  If you don’t want to be in a gym, boredom quickly becomes a momentous obstacle to overcome in the quest for improved health.

The common refrain of the process “not being enjoyable” is enough to force most back into their comfortable sedentary lifestyle and begin the process of shopping online for the trendy moo-moo bathing suit for the next summer vacation.

A valuable step to convert your lifestyle from sedentary to active is to become part of the local running community.  The power of community should never be overlooked when pursuing any type of lifestyle change. 

There are many running groups, both highly organized and thrown together by friends, which can influence your performance in positive ways.  Signing up for a group is a commitment.  Once you meet the people in your group and build a relationship, the sense of commitment translates into pride and confidence.  The dread of running is removed and replaced with the excitement of enjoying the company of new friends.  It can spark a competitive nature that pushes you to your full potential and gives you the power to finally catch up with that other runner that always seems to finish just ahead of you.  

Running groups are as diverse as their members.  If you think running groups are only filled with marathon runners wearing bootie shorts, equipped with stopwatches, and $200 shoes, you are wrong.  Running groups have been formed to satisfy every type of runner.

Races or running events are another excellent way to keep you excited about exercising and staying fit.  Scattered throughout the the country are various running events.  Some events are designed for competitive runners while others are designed as an entertaining day for all types of runners.  Other races are created solely to provide unique twists to standard race courses. 

Running race finish line

Charity runs are organized all over the country to raise money for given causes.  From diseases to responses to disasters/tragedies, one can easily have an exciting day in the name of charity.

Brew pub runs exist for runners whom want to cap off a good run with delicious craft brews and socializing.  Typically, brew pub runs are organized by the brew pub establishment or by runners that share a common enjoyment of well-crafted beers.  The group will establish a day to run together in preparation for a future brew pub run which the entire group has signed up for, or the group gets together periodically for a group run with the finish line being the front door of a local pub.

Mud runs are races that involve trudging through mud for some part of the course.  Many of the mud run events require the participants to crawl through mud to reach the finish line.

Races can be found that involve filling downtown city blocks with copious amounts of foam that must be navigated through to reach the finish line.

Paintball runs, requiring runners to sprint through sections of the course where volunteers test their accuracy with paintball guns by taking aim at the participants, are a surefire way to avoid the doldrums of a treadmill.

Different types of races are created each year and will continue to be created to keep runners enthralled and dedicated to maintaining a fitness level high enough to enjoy the festivities.   

In order to find out what running groups and events are available in your area, visit your local running specialty store.  Local running shops are often the primary hub of the running community and will be a wealth of knowledge for all things running in your area.  

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