How to Start Your Race…

I will always remember how my heart was pounding through my chest as I nervously stood at the starting line.  I was in Middle School around the age of 13 or 14 and I was petrified due to my own insecurity when it came to sports and competing against my classmates.  You see, I was the one who was the last person picked for team sports – after all the girls were picked. So the overwhelming pressure of running a race bombarded my mind, my emotions and my physical body – although, I never let on how I was truly feeling inside.  Since I was in PE class, I couldn’t get out of it.  I didn’t believe in “pulling a sicky” if I wasn’t ill.  The whistle blew and off I went.   I never fared well in the results, but I did run the race.

You may be at the starting line for the first time or the umpteenth time.  You may have run many races or are just starting out or have left the running line by “pulling a sicky”.  Here are some top tips to get running your race to health, fitness and well-being:

  1. Set a goal.  Before you even start, it is important to set a goal.  If you have no goal, you are aiming for nothing.  Do you want to lose weight? Run a longer distance? Build muscle?  Have stability and ability to walk when you are older?  Do you want to keep from lifestyle diseases?  Grow spiritually?  Develop a healthy relationship? Become financially fit? What is your goal?
  2. Forget those around you and focus on you.  When it comes to getting started, the hardest obstacle to overcome is being self-conscience, “what will people say, think, do?” What you may never realise is everyone has the same obstacle to some degree or another.  The key is learning how to overcome.  When you begin to realise that you are the only one on the track, you will then begin to understand that you are not competing against the world.  You are your own competitor.  Imagine hearing what people are actually thinking as they are running on pavement, lifting that heavy weight, completing the 20th burpee or flexing in the mirror – you’d be surprised.  Sure, there may be a few that may be thinking of you in a negative way, but I have realised that those who look down on others are usually struggling with their own self-esteem.  For the majority of people, you are not that popular of a topic to focus on – everyone has issues.  So rather than focus on others, focus on yourself and begin!
  3. Fix your eyes on your goal.  “Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize…” (Phil 3:13) It is easy to get consumed with your past, your failures, the obstacles of life which seem to keep you down mentally, emotionally and physically, but success comes when you realise they are just obstacles.  I had a client once who seemed to allow the challenges of life knock her off her race towards the goal of weight loss.  During one particular session, she received news of the death of a loved one.  I could see she was about to throw in the towel and quit her race.  Thankfully, she decided to carry on and finish the session and continue in her race despite the tragedy.  You should see her today, for not only is she winning in her weight loss, her entire outlook on life has changed. Rather than blaming life’s circumstances or using them as your excuses, see them as obstacles that you can overcome.
  4. Find a support network. Have you ever seen or taken part in an outdoor obstacle course race (OCR)?  I ran my first OCR about 5 years ago and loved every moment – crawling through the mud, climbing up walls, getting stuck in ditches.  The best part, though, was I ran with a team of people.  We became our own support network.  There was a lot of encouragement, challenges, accountability and laughs!  At one point, we were all looking for my shoe. Some of us were experts, some of us were newcomers, some of us were strong, some of us not so strong. Together, we overcame the obstacles and finished the race.    

When you realise that there are others out running the same race as you, a sense of comradery overtakes you and you can push through the pains of yesterday to strain on for the goal.  One of the best things you can do is get a support network around you.  You may need to hire a personal trainer, go see a professional counsellor, invest in a programme or join a group.  You may think it is expensive – but you get what you invest in.  A client of mine was tired of being overweight and signed up to a Couch to 5K programme and in nine months she lost 9 stone (126 lbs/57.27kgs) in weight.  She hit her 5K goal and kept running!  Her life perspective changed, and she doesn’t allow her life obstacles to keep her from winning the prize.   


Years later, and in a better place physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually, I look back and now see a different person standing at the starting line – not a weak person, but a strong person.  Despite the taunting of my peers, the insecurity and fear of being teased yet again, and the panic of having to line up at the starting line, I did it. I ran and finished the race.  Maybe I didn’t come in first or second or third.  Maybe I came in last or second to last.  But I did run, I did achieve.  I thank the young teenage boy who with trepidation hung in there, didn’t give up, but by God’s grace, helped me become the person I am today.  Be encouraged that in your race to good health, fitness and well-being, you will win if you set your goal, focus on yourself and not those around you, keep your eyes on the goal and find a good support network.  Now, run to win!

If you want to find out more how Horizon Health Network can help you, please get in touch. 

Article written by Aaron Hornback, Founder and Director of HHN, March 2020