Runners World Articles: Archives
Reasons to Race
About half of today's runners never enter a road race. That's a
shame, because they're missing an energy jolt that enhances the
running experience in more ways that I can possibly describe in
a single column. Many runners find that participating in races jump-starts
their motivation for running; others improve their performance by
training for challenging events. Many recreational runners are surprised
to find in themselves the seed of a true athlete, and almost everyone
comes away from a community road race invigorated and inspired.
Here a few goals that runners at any level can accomplish through
Embark on a mission. When you put a race date
on your calendar, it adds meaning to your training runs. You'll
find more motivation for logging those miles.
Just finish it. Most nonracers are surprised to
learn that road races aren't super-competitive. Yes, a few speedsters
at the front are going for the win, but the rest of us are there
just to finish, and to enjoy ourselves along the way.
Start a running relationship. While a few runners
meet their future spouses at road races, thousands more forge long-term
friendships by comparing notes with and encouraging others during
Have an adventure. If your running is settling
into too much of a routine, a monthly race will help you shake things
up a bit.
Tune in to your tribal instincts. In a way, community
runs echo prehistoric times, when our ancestors migrated in groups
to find food, escape predators and search for better place to live.
Things like cooperation and teamwork developed to help us survive
these journeys. So it's natural to feel a sense of belonging when
you gather with your community's fitness tribe for a "migration"
of 5 or 10 kilometers. To enter is to join an enthusiastic, positive
group of people who are pulling one another along to the finish-and
the feast afterward.
Get to know your town. Running a road race allows
you to experience a community more thoroughly than many residents
do. Suburbanites can safely tour downtown areas, and inner-city
denizens can get a taste of the suburbs. You can string together
your own racing tour of scenic areas and historic districts you
might not visit otherwise.
Sneak in some speedplay. Many of us want to improve
our pace but have trouble doing the faster training that can make
it happen. By running two 5-k races a month, you'll incorporate
enough speed to improve, without having to do the work alone.
Take an annual fitness test. Almost every year,
I run Atlanta's Peachtree Road Race to see if I've lost any speed.
Events that are always run on the same course give you a good measure
of your progress.
Be inspired. From the kids' energy to the determination
of the 70-plus group, from the beginners' fresh enthusiasm to the
grace and speed of the elites, you'll come away with enough inspiration
to last for weeks.
Win some prize money. A group of fun-runners I
know pooled all the loose change they found on runs during the year
into their own prize purse at an annual race. You and your running
friends can arrange your own reward system.
Extend yourself. About half of those who enter
races don't push themselves at all. But if you wish, you can challenge
yourself a bit. You'll usually find that you've got a lot more inner
strength than you gave yourself credit for.
Feast. Most races have a food reward system beyond
the finish line. And some runners choose a special reloading restaurant
where they gather after a race.
Remind yourself that we're at our best when we help others.
It's so easy, yet so satisfying, to give support and encouragement
at a road race. Races put us into this positive role and virtually
guarantee uplifting feelings afterward. You'll increase the effect
when you get one or more new racers to join you each time. All you
have to do is ask-and give them an entry form.
World, March 1998, p. 3
Home | Site
Map | Contact Us
About Jeff | Training
| Resources | Nutrition
| Training Groups
| Retreats | Merchandise
Copyright © 2003, JFG, Inc.
Direct comments and questions to email@example.com