To race or not to race

Focus on training rather than racing

As always, that is the question.  Do I race?  Or do I train?

This question goes through our heads a lot, I’m sure.  Should I sign up for another race or should I continue training?  There are obviously good reasons for doing both, so let’s break each down and see what the best option is for you.

Reasons to race (or not to race)

If you’ve ever tossed and turned between racing and not racing, below you’ll find some valid reasons why you should (or shouldn’t) race!  The athlete in you probably always wants to race, however, the smarter decision might be to just do a workout.  While a race is definitely the reason why most of us run, there’s always the possibility that a race could set you back (think: injuries, sickness, or missed days of running).

What should you do?
Tweet: Choose your racing schedule wisely, as not every run needs to be race day via @marcpelerin

Here are some options you might consider:

Reasons to Race

  • If you LOVE to compete.
  • If you think you’re in shape to run well.
  • Racing breaks up the monotony of training.
  • This race will help prepare me for longer races in the later in the season.
  • If you run well, you’ll build confidence.

Reasons not to Race

  • Recently overcoming an injury.
  • Injured often; not worth the risk of being injured again.
  • Will this race improve my fitness and prepare me for later in the season?
  • Does the race fit into my current training plan?

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As much as you might WANT to race, think about the long-term approach to racing.  Races are great, and who doesn’t love a great race?  But at the end of the day, if a race will not improve your health, you could get injured while racing, or the race won’t improve my fitness and has no great benefit in my overall training plan, then a workout will do much better.

When Training
Reasons not to race

Different Approach

In educational terms (I’m a teacher, what can I say?!), races are a lot like quizzes and tests. They tell you what you need to work on or whether you’ve done your work.  They’ll alert you if you’re on the right path or if you need to go back and relearn something.

Since my goals extend beyond this race, I know that I don’t need to race.

For this race, it wouldn’t help me decide what to do because I already know I’m lacking short-term fitness – and when I can put in consistent training, I’m at my best.  Since I know I’m not ready, there’s little reason to “quiz” myself and be disappointed, especially when I don’t have to.

Tomorrow’s workout will have 5 miles worth of work – most likely threshold with some speed work in there – and I’ll have a good warm up and cool down.  And afterward, I’ll be having dinner and dreaming about what I could have raced a mile in.

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Still not sure what to do? Reach out to someone who’s had to make those decisions!  OR do some research of your own.

2 thoughts on “To race or not to race

  1. I’m always in that situation,i love to race 5k maybe 2 in in a weekend, but sometimes to much kinda burns me out and throws my running workout off track.
    If it’s a race close to my house I’ll race or if it has a good files of runners I’ll race.
    Sometimes I’ll pass on a race to rest up.


  2. I love racing too, but that doesn’t mean we have to race EVERY race that’s out there. Good luck with training!


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