Why race? – running in races to increase motivation and focus – Brief Article

Shelly Glover

We are out to convert you from a runner to a racer. Why? Racing is good for you. Racing is a rare treasure–both good for you and fun. This is the age of the casual racer. At a race you’ll meet packs of people, like you, who are not out to win a race, but to accept its challenge at their own level.

As a beginner you can start racing as soon as you can run non-stop for one mile. You can try two-mile to five-kilometer events running as much as you can and walking the rest. These practice races give you a sense of belonging to the running community. And most importantly, they give you confidence, not to mention a new race T-shirt.

Of the hundreds and sometimes thousands of racers, only a handful are top competitors. The rest are just like you, doing battle against their own limitations. Think of a race as running with other people, not against them. Be proud. Show off what you can do to an appreciative audience.

Two things happen when you dare to race. One–the crowds help you run much faster and further than you could by yourself. Two–it can get uncomfortable. That’s the price for running faster and farther. So, why work hard at running to be uncomfortable?

* It gives your training a focus.

Higher intensity efforts can have big fitness payoffs and racing can be a great incentive to crank up your intensity and consistency.

* It’s a thrill. It’s exciting to put yourself on the line.

* There are warm feelings when the race is run. Camaraderie and congratulations are a runner’s thing. We know running well is awesome, but even finishing a race is good.

* Most important–you’ll feel great about yourself. If it is a good race you’ll feel confident, even jubilant. If it isn’t a good race, there are lots of consoling runners. Maybe the best consolation prize is sweating out the emotional stress that only a high intensity run can purge.

* And then there’s the competition. Of course you’re after your own personal record. but a little healthy competition brings out your best effort.

If you’re inhibited by a fear of finishing last, here’s news for you- that’s who gets the most applause–last place. Besides, if you finish last you are still ahead of all the people who didn’t run at all.

RELATED ARTICLE: New Jersey runner Toshi d’Elia started running at age 40 to keep up with her hiker husband Fred. Toshi’s teenage daughter Erica invited Mom to tag along in a local 5K. With her Mom there, Erica reasoned that she and her friends wouldn’t finish last in the race. But instead of being last, Toshi finished third, only seconds behind the race winner-daughter Erica. Toshi went on to set many age group world records including the first woman in the world to break three hours in the marathon at age 50 with a 2:57:21. What if she had never raced?


Maybe you are over age 40–presumably past your peak and all those fast times you used to run are in the past. The World Association of Veteran Athletes (WAVA) knows how you feel. So they’ve come up with an index of adjusted times for your aging body. By scoring your past and present performances with the WAVA system, you can compete against your younger self. You can also rank yourself with other same-aged and same-gender runners. For age graded tables contact: National Masters News, P.O. 16579, North Hollywood, CA 916156597 or their Web site at www.WAVA.org

COPYRIGHT 2002 American Running & Fitness Association

COPYRIGHT 2003 Gale Group

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