I was thinking about this real hard yesterday. Especially why do I pay to run. I had no problem coming up with reasons. Initially I started running because it was only so fast I could walk. Once I couldn’t walk as fast as I wanted, I started running. I was walking and running for my life, literally. I am running from heart disease. I am running from obesity. I am running from an early death. Those were the reasons I started running, basically to lose weight. Well, I’ve lost the weight, why am I still running?

I still run because I obviously love it. I don’t dread it like I dread the elliptical or the rowing machine (my two least favorite machines in the gym, HATE THEM). I miss it when I’m not able to do it. I run because it challenges me. It’s not easy, but it gives me a sense of accomplishment when I’m done. I run because it is a good calorie burner and helps me to stay at a healthy weight. I run because it gives me some well needed alone time. I run because it allows me a chance to think, plan, decide, then clear my mind. I run because it gives me focus. I run because it reduces my stress. I run because I CAN. I run because it helps to tone my muscles in my legs and my butt. I run because it is an activity for which I can continually set goals, work to achieve them, and be successful. I run because it keeps me fit. I run because it helps to offset what I eat. I love to run!

Now, why would I PAY to run? Most people think it’s absurd to pay to do something you can ultimately do for free. Those aren’t people who are motivated by goal setting and accountability. Once I pay for a race, I am accountable to that money. That means I have to train for the race and I have to actually show up and run the race or my money is wasted. I DO NOT WASTE MONEY! Paying makes me committed. When I’m not training for a race I’ve signed up for, I won’t train consistently, let alone watch what I’m eating. Training for a half-marathon demands that I run a certain number of miles per week and it demands that I eat to fuel my runs and recovery afterward. The money I pay is my incentive to complete my training and my race. It is an investment in my success. It forces me to work toward my goal daily. So while I’m frugal, I know what it takes for me to meet my goals. I have to have someone or something to which I need to be accountable. For weight loss, it was weighing in at WW meetings. For fitness, it’s running races and paying for a personal trainer. It’s what works for me.

What works for you?