Time to race

It’s time. It has been in the calendar for weeks, months, maybe even a year. It’s the only thing that’s been dragging your eyes out of Netflix. Your internet search history has turned into a hub of good pasta dishes. Your Spotify playlist has reached a whole new level of upbeat motivation. Porridge is your new best friend and is supplemented with: coffee, beetroot juice, lucozade, protein shake, electrolyte mix…and water. Your pockets are overflowing with the dusty remains of jelly babies. It’s race time. 

(For the record, I don’t do any of that)

This weekend, so many people I know have taken part in events. The Big Half, Barcelona Marathon, various 10ks and Parkrun! I looked through the results twiddling my thumbs, eager to get out and take part. I was so happy for everyone taking part in these events but also so so so so jealous. I can’t wait to get back racing. I want that race day feeling, that ‘winners’ medal, that finish line happiness. 

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You race? You must be good…

Are you doing the marathon? Whenever I mention my running, this question ALWAYS pops up. You start running and everyone presumes you’ll be running a marathon. It’s the expected. Nothing else matters. Other distances seem irrelevant. Stay tuned as the 2020 London Marathon could be on the cards for me…

When I first started completing races, the first question from my students would be; “Did you win?”. After endless responses of “Yes…No”, they soon got sick of asking and realised it was very, very rare for me to win a race. Running ‘races’ are a funny concept as I never race to win. I race myself. I challenge my own goals, my own times. Races are the perfect opportunity to put my training to the test and see the progress I’ve made.

But what’s the point? I’ll probably finish last… 

Don’t be silly. Your place often means nothing, unless you’re an elite striving for the top. There are so many reasons I would consider entering a race. Here are some:

  • Raise money –Use running as a way to spread awareness or raise money. Most races are fantastic for this!
  • Motivation – An event can be the perfect goal. It gives you something to aim for. Stick an event in the calendar and it will certainly help you take that first step out of the door. If you’re still struggling to motivate yourself, think about the money it cost you to enter!!
  • Challenge – It’s the perfect way to ease yourself into a challenge. New Year’s resolution? On your bucket list? Challenged by friends/family? Push yourself out of the comfort zone and try something new. You don’t need to worry about organising anything yourself. Pay your entry fee and get training. Easy!
  • Social – The running community is amazing. You meet so many people at running events. Use it as a way to meet new people, or use it as a way to catch up with friends. Running brings everyone, and everyone’s personal success, together. I’m always excited to meet new people through running. It’s great to share experiences, progress, training and running routes!
  • See a new place – It gives you an excuse to visit somewhere different. Whether it’s in the UK or abroad, events can give you an excuse to visit somewhere new. Make a weekend of it! Take part in the event, then head out and explore the area – this is also a great way to get friends/family/partners on board!
  • Competition – Nothing beats a bit of healthy competition. Try and beat your  friends, family or your own personal best! And, if you’re the next Mo Farah, it could be your breakthrough. Racing others often pushes you faster and can give you more hunger to achieve. Put your training to the test. What can you achieve?

Remember, start slow. You don’t need to get swept along on the marathon/ultra train. The marathon isn’t the be all or end all. There’s plenty more distances you can choose from. Build your way up. Maybe start with a Parkrun? Use it as a benchmark. You get a feeling for running with others and get used to the timed aspect. It’s relaxed, welcoming, and it’s free!

Other options could be: your local fun run? Colour run? Charity run? Rough runner? Tough Mudder?

Vitality 10k 2018.

My race plans:

I normally stick a race in the calendar as it gives me something to work towards. A race in the calendar helps motivate me to stay active and healthy. It also reminds me of why I’m embarking on a lonely, heart racing training run.

My calendar is looking very empty… Soon I have the Southern Road Relays with Abingdon AC, which will be my first event back since Telford 10k! I also hope to enter some trail races this year; I have my eyes on the Maverick trail races. My Dad absolutely loves these and is tempting me to enter. I’m also aiming for a Half Marathon in the Autumn but I can’t decide. Oxford? Cardiff? Manchester? Or I could push the boat out and do a little trip to Copenhagen? Amsterdam? Help!?

Have you got any races in the calendar? Or, any amazing events you’ve completed in the past? 

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