Having been a fat, sedentary kid, I empathize with those who learned to dislike exercise, early in life, and avoid it. When out-of-shape people begin an exercise program, they must overcome years of negative psychological programming, and most don't make it. Everything turns around when exercise is gentle enough. The daily workout becomes joyful and energy-giving.
The research I discovered in writing FIT KIDS--SMARTER KIDS showed that each individual can turn their life around. The process is accelerated when there is a leader who brings the group together, pacing conservatively so that each exerciser experiences a feeling of self worth and personal empowerment. Just this year I've met parents of GIRLS ON THE RUN participants in California, Charlotte, Atlanta and Jacksonville who were impressed with the physical improvements their girls received from joining the program. More amazing, however were the changes in attitude, motivation, mental awareness and vitality from even modest gains in fitness.
Susan Kolbinsky, who administrates my Tahoe Retreat in July, decided to offer a running program to the kids in her son's school. Over the last few years there has been so much interest that she's had to set a cap on registration to ensure that the kids get proper leadership. As she recruited more and more parents to help her, and saw the positive changes in kids, she received an unexpected reward of internal satisfaction from helping others change their lives for the better. Susan is one of hundreds of adults who are doing something about the problem, and making a difference.
The popularity of marathons has overwhelmed all of us who've been running for decades. Many of the popular races are filling up quicker. Before the start of one of my recent running schools each person told how he or she had waited a bit too long to enroll in a favorite race, and could not get in. The Marine Corps Marathon (Washington DC) opened for registration this week, and is expected to close out sooner than last year (about two weeks as I remember). Galloway Training has become a sponsor of the MCM and will have some entries available to members if they don't get in through the normal registration process.
I suggest that you look ahead 12 months and keep a "wish list" on your refrigerator, etc. As you get within 8 months of a race, make a decision to enter or not, and fill out the forms if you wish. Many of those who've already signed up for the BREAST CANCER MARATHON have told me that this registration process has already motivated them to be more regular with their running or walking. Since 100% of the entry fee goes to breast cancer research/care you get an extra dose of motivation--you're helping to rid the world of this disease.
Motivation In Helping Others
I continue to ask the former sedentary members of our Galloway Training programs how they came to join up. Most were referred by others. People like to be asked to join a group. Most who try out a running group at the right fitness level, experience a series of positive experiences from the first day. There's a primitive trust that bonds people together when they run or walk together. Forward movement almost always instills a positive attitude. When you share this with others, you receive internal rewards that keep on giving.
More than anything I love the time spent at our beach retreats and at Lake Tahoe. The woods and the beach provide an extra boost and bonding for everyone. We still have space in our upcoming retreats at the beach, and at Tahoe. I hope you can join us for some good fellowship, invigorating runs/walks, and the information you need to run injury free.