Should you be racing?

The short answer is yes.

A lot of people use Ease into 5K to prepare for an organized 5K.  On the other hand, there are also plenty looking simply to improve their fitness and reach the personal goal of running five kilometers without stopping.

There’s nothing wrong with working towards a goal just for the sake of reaching it, but believe me when I say that if you aren’t racing, you’re missing out on a great experience.  There’s nothing quite like the spectacle of a race day with the commotion, camaraderie, and good times before and after the run itself.

For a novice runner (and hey, even some veterans), it’s easy to be intimidated by the festivities.  There’s tons of activity and you’ll likely be rubbing elbows with the fastest folks in town.

Believe me, there’s no reason to be stressed.  We call it a race — which brings a certain dose of competitive anxiety — but in most cases, what we’re really talking about is just an organized, no-pressure run.

Only a handful of competitors are realistically there to win.  The rest are either running for their own satisfaction or to stack themselves up against whoever happens to be working a similar race pace that day.

Whatever your speed or experience level, there’s nothing wrong with putting yourself in the mix and seeing how you do.  In fact, with the extra adrenaline and excitement that comes from a high-energy, organized event, you’ll likely put up a much stronger time than you would on your own.  It isn’t a coincidence that most personal bests are set on race day.

If you haven’t yet finished your training program, finding an appropriately-timed race to prepare for will give you added motivation to do your workouts each week.

Go ahead and register.  Prepay.  Mark your calendar.  Get excited.

Whether you’re sitting on the couch looking for the motivation to go run or fighting your way through a tough bit of interval training, knowing you’ve got a race ahead of you can be just the shot in the arm you need to stay sharp.

There’s just something about training for an actual event — one that occurs on a specific day with a big group of like-minded runners — that can really get you in the spirit of what running is all about.

Once you’ve gotten that first real race under your belt, believe me, you’ll want to do more.  You might want to chalk up another 5K or you might want to move on to a longer distance.  (If you decide you want to train for a longer race, we’ve got apps for that, too.)

And if that doesn’t convince you, then let me at least say this.  There are no better workout shirts than the ones you take home on raceday.  Go get one…and wear it with pride.

6 responses to “Should you be racing?

  1. Doing my first 5K in less than 2 weeks (46 years old), and am excited, but worried about my pace. I have a goal in mind, but while training(mostly treadmill, but try to alternate outdoors) I feel that I might be able to go faster on race day, but don’t want to tucker out, any advice on a pace? I’m not trying to break records, right now I do a steady 10 min mile on the treadmill, maybe a little faster. Also wondering, and I know this sounds dumb, how do I know the route, are there people directing you? Are there arrows painted on the road?

    • Regina,

      Thanks for writing. You will do absolutely great. The tendencies is to start the race off fast because you are excited and the adrenaline is pumping. Go steady in the beginning so that you’ll be passing others down the home stretch not the other way around. Each race does their routing system differently. You may be able to find the route where you registered. Typically they have the route online or on the registering brochure if you went in person. I’ve been to several races where they have orange cones and people directing the route. It’s hard to get lost when you follow the crowd you just don’t want to follow the 10K racers if they are running with you as well. Good luck with your race, let us know how it went, we’d love to hear about it.

  2. I just finished week 7 day 1 I’m almost done! I’m so going to do bridge to 10k. Actually, I just wanted to say thank you for writing this post. I’ve been thinking about trying an organized race…;)

    • Lerie,

      Thanks for writing. I hope you do try a race. They are soooooo much fun and you’ll be amazed at your time. I always run faster and am so happy to see that I can beat my daily running pace. That is a motivator in and of itself. Good luck and please tell us what you decide to do!

  3. Pingback: 5k Sub 30, Week 5 – No more shoelace related issues –

  4. In the middle of C25k – Literally just finished W5D1! I am actually thinking of trying an organized race and your post was great – gave me even more reasons to want to do it! 🙂

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