There is much therapy to be gained from running. Almost every runner I speak to, comments on the therapeutic nature of getting outside on a run. Yet, It’s racing that I want to comment on today. I started running to get fit, and once you’re feeling an improvement in your fitness trying your hand at a race is the next logical challenge, as well as a good benchmark as to how your improving.
Run a Race – Competition is good
When you run a race, you get the true rewards of all the hard work you’ve put in. You don’t have to be fast, or even all that good, but to compete against one’s peers, is to embrace our raw human nature, we are born to compete.
Many people are nervous about racing because they think they won’t be any good at it. Also, they are worried that they might embarrass themselves. The reality is that races almost always improve your performance, allowing you to surpass times and efforts that you would normally do in training.
When I race, I’m racing against myself as much as any other runner. I’m challenging myself to run harder, faster and longer than I normally do in training. If I can pass other people in the process, then all the better.
The Only way is up
To illustrate my point, This year (2015), I came last in the Shining Tor Fell Race. After just a few minutes, I realised that I was a bit out of my depth in terms of fitness. You might think that would dent one’s spirits, but in truth, it took the pressure off, allowing me to relax, run at a comfortable pace and to take in the stunning scenery of the Derbyshire Cheshire border. I ran badly, but despite my heavy legs, stopping for a wee, and falling twice. I had still run a 10k fell race in a time that I was proud of, against a more experienced field. I felt no shame in being last, in fact, it provided me with the perfect springboard for the rest of the season, because you can’t come lower than last. Later this year I put in a much better performance at the Grindleford Fell Race.
So, to those who haven’t yet taken the plunge of doing their first race, I say forget about the fear of not performing and test yourself, you might surprise yourself.
Phil started running in 2014. His current goal is to compete in as many races as possible and keep improving.