Three years ago, I was on my way to New York City–home sweet home–for something I never did in my hometown before. I was returning home to run in the More Magazine/Fitness Magazine Women’s Half Marathon.

I made the decision to run the race just four months before it took place. At the time, I was overwhelmed, overstressed, and overextended. Committing to one more thing seemed like a bad idea. But I realized that the really bad idea was not making a commitment to my health, so I decided to do it.

After deciding to run in that race, I experienced a range of emotions. I had moments where backing out seemed like a great idea because finding the time to train was almost impossible. In those moments, a friend who was running in the race with me convinced me to keep at it by offering constant support. There were moments when the fear of completing 13.1 miles was overwhelming even though I ran a marathon before. In those moments, I realized that training for this race was more of a mental challenge than it was physical, so I pushed the fear out.  There were moments where it seemed like I was headed towards injury and surely I would have to give this dream up.  In those moments I took care of myself and rebuilt my strength.

I know some people hate running. I know because I was one of those people (I kinda still am).  However, I will say that I love how I feel after a good run. That “runner’s high” is no joke. I also love myself and I realize that doing this really isn’t about the running.  It’s about perseverance and drive. It’s about pushing though pain and doubt.  It’s about facing fears head on and beating the sh*t out of them. It’s about truly knowing what I am capable of when I believe in myself and accept that even though something may be hard as hell, it’s doable with the right support and the right mindset.

I actually haven’t been in a race in the last two years. It’s actually about time I sign up for one. I know it can help me push through a few challenges I’m facing. It can remind me of the strength I have.

I know it’s hard to convince anyone to run, and I am definitely not suggesting you sign up for a marathon (or even a half marathon).But if you feel stuck in your life, consider a 5k or a 10k. It might be what you need to help you realize the strength you have within and help you get unstuck.

Here are 5 reasons why I think training for a race helps you get unstuck.

Conquer Fear

If running scares your because you think you are unfit, overweight, or just don’t have time to do it, let me tell you that I fell into all of those categories and I did it. I do not wear a size 4 and I have run in several races. If you conquer this fear, it will bring you closer to realizing you can conquer any fear.

Tap Into Your Strength

Women often find themselves doing it all, but even with that mindset, they still haven’t truly tapped into their strength. Training for a race causes you to dig deep to determine what you are really made of.

Put Yourself First

When you embark on your training journey, you realize that you have to put yourself first, even if it’s just a few times a week. Running may not always be easy, but it’s time you spend doing something for yourself, bringing you closer to your goal.

Clear Your Mind

Running helps you clear your mind and clearing your mind helps you regain focus. That is a benefit that will leak into every area of your life. If you don’t believe me, just try it.

Step Out of Your Comfort Zone

When we are uncomfortable, it’s an opportunity for growth. Since growth is what this thing called life is all about, we should be doing everything we can to grow, right? I think so. If you have never been in a race, or it’s been a really long time, the idea of training for one can be uncomfortable. Do it anyway.

Are you planning to run any races soon? I’d love to hear which one and when.