Pro’s & Cons of racing a lot

Happy Monday my friends!

One thing that you might have noticed is that I really like to run races. During the fall, it feels like I’m running one every weekend. There are sooooo many good ones! I would race every Saturday and every Sunday if I could afford it, and, if I knew that it didn’t drive my family nuts!

Because I like to save the best for last, I”m going to give you my cons first. I like to give you the good stuff at the end…That’s just how I roll!

CONS:
1.) Racing a lot gets expensive. I sat down to do the math for 2015. I haven’t finished making the list yet but it is long so I’m a bit afraid… Between registration fees and potential traveling, you can spend a ton of dough!

2.) Racing “all out” on a consistent basis will indeed burn you out. I try to pick and choose when my racing efforts will be at my highest level of awesomeness. It doesn’t always go my way, but I do know there will always be a “next time.”

PROS:
1.) Races help you run your goal pace. Something about the race environment makes you ready to push yourself harder than you would on your normal Saturday/Sunday run. There is nowhere better than at a race for you to practice goal paces!

2.) Races are FUN. Whether it’s a themed race or a race in memory of someone: THEY ARE FUN!!! Last weekend was the “Stache Half” and it kicked off “Movember”. This silly theme cracked me up and the runners had fake stache’s in their goodie bags. Prizes were also awarded for Best Stache! Little touches like that go a long way!

3.) Racing is a great social activity! Most longer races that I run have shorter options, too. It’s very easy to get a friend to sign up for the shorter distance! And, a bonus to running the short races like 5k’s/10k’s-I can pretty much always convince someone to run it with me!

4.) You get to see new places and check out new areas that you normally wouldn’t go to if it weren’t for a race. I don’t do much traveling for races, BUT I think that is going to change for 2016. I have my eye on a few key races for next year and I’m really looking forward to it!

5.) Even a bad race teaches you something: No runner can have the perfect race every time. I feel like the stars need to align, my stomach has to be perfect, itunes playlist must be on point, and if I’m really lucky?? I ((ahem)) have used the bathroom before the race. I’ve had just as many bad races as I have good. From every race, I learn something new that I get to take with me and apply to my next race. From my last race, I learned that when there are hills at the end of the course and you aren’t a lover of hills: you may want to rethink registering for that particular race. Or just don’t set a time goal. Just saying, Nicole, just saying…

6.) Racing a lot teaches you where your strengths and your weaknesses lie. During every 5k, I’m challenging myself on so many levels. 5k’s are a weakness for me. The marathon distance shows me all kinds of crazy strengths: That I am highly motivated during distance runs, that I love the long course that is the marathon, that I’m really good at visualizing the finish line. It’s also taught me that I need to keep putting emphasis on fast finish long runs and pushing my speedwork. Do a few races and you will learn your own strengths and weaknesses, I will promise you that!

7.) I GET to race. I never, ever take that fact for granted. I get to run and that is a precious gift that I’ve been given. I’m fast, but not the fastest, but I am damn good at what I do. I GET to RACE. How lucky am I??

Do you like to race? Do you do it a lot?

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21 thoughts on “Pro’s & Cons of racing a lot

  1. I like this post, and agree with everything you said! Races do add up in cost, but they are so great for training runs, for running camaraderie- and I am so happy that I can just get out there and run them! I have a few “runcations” coming up, those are my jam (why not mix vacation with a race?? Great way to explore the area you’re in! This sounds crazy to most people, I know). Happy running!

  2. I have raced a ton this fall (more than I have in a while) and it’s been a great change. Fun, refreshing, good social and running time. I love races for so many reasons, but like you said you can’t race a lot AND go into every with the all out racing mentality….definitely can cause trouble!

  3. I like to race BUT I always kick myself the morning of, because I HATE the pre-race anxiety. I’m not sure of what I will sign up for for 2016, but I will definitely seriously contemplate doing Chicago again, and may think about Shamrock, and I think that will be it for me for this year!

  4. I find races to be huge motivating factors to train regularly so they definitely help keep me running more. Over the summer I had such a hard time convincing myself I needed to get up and run since there wasn’t anything specific I was training for (and the heat and humidity of the FL summer even at 5 am don’t help matters much). Now that I have consistent races on my schedule I have less excuses to stay in bed and hit snooze. I tend to run Disney a little too much which has gotten WAY expensive so tried to find some more local races this year. Actually found quite a few local halfs for $30-$75 range so that helped a lot…or just helped me sign up for a few too many 🙂

  5. There are definitely alot of benefits to racing alot! I think I need to race more because I tend to give up on myself in races and get scared to push myself too hard- I think by racing more I would have to practice being uncomfortable!

  6. I haven’t done a race in a long time but I’m starting again in the early spring. It gets pricey but it can be such a social high to share a run with so many like-minded people. I’ve missed it and can’t wait to get back out there.

  7. Yes, I’m all about the race,’bout the race, no training. I’m all about the race, ’bout the race, no training!

    I’m lucky in that there are several close cheap race options, so if there’s a race that fits the training run I need to do, I go do the race.

  8. i used to hate racing…now i am all about it. i think this year i have raced more than i have in my life. so i PRed for the 3rd time in 6 weeks this past saturday! you should be glad that seacoast was full when you tried to register. i ran tangents, and the course came out to 13.35 miles; and the wind was insane (where was the tailwind?! there seemed to only be a headwind)…and the hill Hill HILL the last mile was HORRIBLE. much much much worse than any hill i have ever ran in a race! but, hey, i’ll still take the PR. but because the course was long, i want to get one more race in by the end of the year…i cant stop! have you done wolf hollow?

    • i just read your wolf hollow recap! not sure this is a PR course and therefore i dont know if i want to run it! i like running on some trails, but it sounds like the majority is on the trails, and it sounds pretty hilly. hmmm the gloucester merrython sounds hilly too. crap i may need to find something else. wish i didnt have a wedding on the day of the jingle bell half which i love!

    • I hate wind!!!! Bla!!!! But CONGRATS to you that you PRd-how awesome! The 13.35 is so annoying! I know that courses are measured extra-however that seems to be a lot!!

      I’m cramming in races too!! I actually am doing half merrython bc my husbands Bday is 12/12. I think that the elevation profile for merrython looks better than jingle bell though! And you’re right-I love the course too! It’s a good one:)

      I love Wolf hollow BUT the trail sections kill me. I don’t remember how much of it is actually on trails. I’m so clumsy, that’s the only reason I don’t like them-haha!!!! But the post race goodies are terrific!! I’m doing a race the day before but still considering wolf hollow bc it’s literally 10 minutes from my house!!!

  9. Great points! I started scheduling races as training runs and it gets so pricey. I’m trying to focus on more local races or places we don’t have to fly to.

  10. You’re going to travel further for races? I must find some here for you 🙂

    I think I mostly prefer training to racing – I still don’t feel I’m that great at racing, though I am now trying to “race” my races instead of “run” them (not necessarily trying to place but trying for high performance). But racing only rarely – given the marathon is my favorite distance and 2/year is about what’s reasonable – puts more pressure on me in the limited races I run. Racing shorter distances to get more speed and more racing experience is something I’m interested in trying.

    I do have to get past the “every time I race a distance, it must be a PR” mentality. (maybe once I “refresh” my PRs to numbers I like better? LOL) It’s hard for me to feel okay paying for a race and making myself deal with logistics (even local races are challenges for me to get out to sometimes) if it’s just going to be a “catered training run”.

    Happy Monday!

  11. If I could afford to race more I def would! It’s already such a tight squeeze for me to participate in three or four 5k, 10k, marathon, trail race usually). But I find that I enjoy the long build up to the races. But, on the other hand, if I have a bad race (like Saturday lol) then it’s over. Done. I’d like to try to race more next year. It really is fun!

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