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Fun Runs, Walks & Rides for Weight Loss

Fun Runs and Events

Keeping motivated to exercise for weight loss and fitness can often be the hardest part of shedding unwanted kilos. One of the best ways to stay motivated is to train for and participate in exercise related events like fun runs, walks and bike rides.

For those of us with weight loss goals, these events are a godsend because they provide us with the perfect opportunity and motivation to exercise more and in doing so help us achieve our weight loss goal.

This article explains why it's a good idea to participate in fun runs, walks or rides if we're trying to lose weight and provides some training tips and places to get information about upcoming events in your state.

Fun events are for everyone

Fun runs and the like are great things to participate in if our goal is to lose weight and improve our health and fitness.

Fun runs, walks and bicycle rides are perfect for people of any age, fitness level and experience because they:

  • Typically include various course lengths (e.g. 1k, 5k or 10k walks)
  • Typically include options for various fitness levels (e.g. 5k walk or 10k run)
  • Typically have very generous time limits (even for the slowest of us)
  • Typically provide all necessary support (including medical, massage, drinks, etc)
  • Are typically open to anyone and everyone

Another great thing about most of these events is that the proceeds they generate through entry fees, etc, are donated to worthy causes, such as cancer research and the like.

Fun runs and weight loss

Fun walks, runs and rides are particularly good for those of us wanting to lose weight because they provide us with:

  • Exercise motivation
  • A short term goal
  • An opportunity to exercise with others
  • An opportunity to test our fitness
  • An opportunity to meet new friends
  • An opportunity to become a regular participant

The secret to successful long term weight loss is to focus on the lifestyle habits that will help us to achieve and maintain a healthy weight range, like exercise, instead of the problem itself.

Training for and participating in fun walks, runs and bike rides gives us that focus and provides us with the other great benefits above, not to mention the positive things they contribute to our health including weight loss, improved cardiovascular fitness, etc.

Before training begins

Before you begin training for an upcoming fun event, consider doing the following first:

  1. Get the all-clear from your family doctor or health professional
  2. Enter the event
  3. Plan your exercise schedule
  4. Make sure you have the right exercise gear

Getting the all-clear from your doctor

Age, risk factors, injuries and exercise history are the four most important considerations when beginning any exercise program.

When it comes to age and risk factors, it is always a good idea to consult your family doctor or health practitioner and discuss your exercise plans.

While most doctors will applaud your initiative to improve your health and fitness and lose weight, they will need to consider the risk factors associated with your current health and family health history, and advise you accordingly.

Injuries can occur when any of us exercise, but they can be minimized and managed with the right planning, progression and attention.

To reduce the likelihood of us experiencing an injury while training for an upcoming event, we should ensure:

  • That we have safe and appropriate equipment (running shoes, bike, etc)
  • That we start training at a comfortable pace and cover easy distances
  • That we progress our training distances, speeds and frequencies slowly
  • That we get plenty of good quality sleep while training
  • That we drink plenty of water before, during and after exercise
  • That we adopt a common sense approach to training (like not training outside at night when visibility is poor)
  • That we stretch our muscles after our warm-ups and our workouts
  • That we seek appropriate help with injuries if we do experience them (from osteopaths, physiotherapists and masseurs for example)

Entering the event

Officially entering the event(s) by filling in the appropriate forms and sending off our entry fee is a key component to cementing our commitment to the event and training for it.

Finding an event or events in our state is often as easy as contacting:

  • Our state tourism body (e.g. tourism Victoria or NSW)
  • Local bicycle or running organizations (e.g. Bicycle Qld or S.A.)
  • Our local city council (e.g. the Perth City council)
  • Our local gym or fitness club
  • Visiting the events pages on this website

Ensuring enough training time

Leaving ourselves enough time to improve our fitness in order to successfully tackle and enjoy the event without leaving so much time that we lack a sense of urgency is critical.

As a general guide, 6 to 8 weeks should be sufficient time to get into shape for a relatively short walk, run or bike ride (5 to 10k walk or run and a 20 to 40k ride for example). Of course, if we haven't exercise for a while or are coming off a zero fitness base, we may need to allow ourselves a little more time.

The key is to not to bite off more than we can chew, if 6 to 8 weeks isn't long enough for us to get into good enough shape, we may be aiming too high and entering an event that is a little too long for us at this stage of our fitness development.

Generally speaking, the longer the event and the lower fitness base we are starting at the longer we should leave for training.

Plan your exercise schedule

Planning our exercise schedule for an upcoming event is all about planning our weekly:

  • Exercise duration (time and distance)
  • Exercise frequency
  • Exercise intensity
  • Rest periods

Here's a twelve week example program (starting from scratch and walking/jogging three times per week) that leads to a continuous 35 minute run that should get most of us within range of 5k:

Week Time Activity (J=Jog, W=Walk, Time=minutes)
1 20 1 J + 1½ W x 8 repetitions.
2 21 1½ J + 2 W x 6 repetitions.
3 18 1½ J + 1½ W + 3 J + 3 W x 2 reps.
4 23 3 J, 2 W, 5 J, 3 W, 3 J, 2 W, 5 J.
5 21 5 J, 3 W, 5 J, 3 W, 5 J.
6 21 8 J, 5 W, 8 J.
7 20 20 J.
8 23 10 J, 3 W, 10 J.
9 25 25 J.
10 29 12 J, 5 W, 12 J.
11 30 30 J.
12 35 35 J.

Every workout should begin with a brisk 5 minute warm-up walk.

Remember you can tailor this program to suit your individual needs (for example skip the initial few weeks or progress faster if you already have a base level of fitness, or stick with the same week's workload for longer if you need to and extend the total number of weeks).

The right exercise gear

To participate in and train for a fun event, we don't need a lot of expensive equipment, but we do need some to make the experience as safe, comfortable and enjoyable as possible.

For a fun walk or fun run we should consider the following as a minimum:

  • Good quality, properly fitting walking or running shoes
  • Good quality walking or running socks
  • Good quality and comfortable shorts or Lycra track pants
  • Good quality and comfortable running singlet or t-shirt
  • Good quality sunglasses
  • A baseball cap

For a fun bike ride we should consider the following as a minimum:

  • A well maintained, appropriately sized bike
  • A good quality bicycle helmet
  • Good quality bicycle gloves
  • Good quality bicycle nicks (Lycra shorts with chamois)
  • Good quality and comfortable cycling top
  • Good quality sunglasses
  • A good quality bike pump and spare tubes

Conclusion

For anyone wanting to lose weight and get fit, signing up and training for upcoming fun runs, walks and bike rides may be just the ticket.

These types of events can be fun, and for those of us with weight loss goals, they are a godsend because they provide us with the perfect opportunity and motivation to exercise more and in doing so help us achieve our weight loss goal.

So now that we've explained why it's a good idea to participate in fun runs, walks or rides if we're trying to lose weight and provided some training tips and places to get information about upcoming events in your state, the rest is up to you.

Have fun and thanks for visiting weightloss.com.au!

Copyright Ultimate Weightloss.

This article was written by Scott Haywood.

Scott is the editor of weightloss.com.au. Scott has developed an expertise in fitness and nutrition, and their roles in weight loss, which led him to launch weightloss.com.au in 2005. Today, weightloss.com.au provides weight loss and fitness information, including hundreds of healthy recipes, weight loss tools and tips, articles, and more, to millions of people around the world, helping them to lead happier, healthier, lives.

You can follow Scott on Google+ for more interesting articles.

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