Without goals and variety, exercise can become monotonous, which decreases the liklihood that you will continue with the program. That’s why it’s important to compete or participate in a few events each year. Participating in events can bend your life toward exercise and away from overeating in several ways.

First, having an event on the calendar keeps you honest. Knowing that you are going to run a 5k in May or ride a century (100 mile bike ride) in September, gives you that extra motivation to log your base mileage in the short, cold days of winter.

Second, if you are anything like me, then you’ll find it interesting to compete against yourself in these events. For example, I like to run a local 5k race on Thanksgiving Day each year. I keep track of times from year to year and it’s interesting to see how I’ve improved, held steady or lost ground from year to year.

Which brings me to third way competing in events helps burn the calories and prevents calories from entering your mouth. There’s more to a competition than just putting in the miles and showing up the morning of. Every year I gain more knowledge on how to prepare for such races – sometimes I learn through my own trial and error and sometimes I pick tips up from others. But, the important thing is that when I’m thinking about how to improve my times and prepare for an event, I’m not thinking about the dessert on the menu of a local restaurant, which is a double bonus for my waistline.

Finally, you’ll push yourself in an event like you’ll push yourself nowhere else. The energy and excitement of being around others helps pump the adrenaline and make you do things you didn’t think you were capable of doing. Participating in an event is great training. Of course, one of the things you learn early in your event career is to calm that rush so you don’t go bust too soon.

Now that I have you convinced to set a goal to participate, go find out what events are held in your area and set your sites on one or two for this spring and summer. Chances are there are dozens of events around your home every year. Find the local running and cycling club websites for calendars. Also, charities host many events. Ask your friends and co-workers for ideas.