Thinking about entering a race? Here’s why you should
With race season in full swing and Bermuda Day in under four weeks, I thought it would be a perfect time to talk about reasons to participate in a race.
Races give you a goal
One of the first things I enjoy doing when I start planning a training schedule is to spend some time categorising the race I have entered. There are many ways you can list them – most exciting, most challenging and milestone. Categorising the races helps to define their importance and helps you understand how to train for each event. Pick training programmes that are designed to fit the races you plan on participating in.
Races take you on adventures
This is the most exciting for me. Ever since I began running in Bermuda, I love to make it a fun experience; my groups have even won prizes for best dressed. My last international race was in Las Vegas and it was very empowering and exciting. When choosing a race, try one that is in a different location so you can learn about a new culture and how others live. Races can be about more than just running or walking.
Races help you learn about yourself
Races reveal strengths and weaknesses that can be challenging to identify outside of an actual race. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses will assist in your performance in the next race – you will realise where you can push harder or when you need to dial back a bit. Races help you understand what works in your training and what doesn’t.
The feedback you get from your races can be incredibly useful. You can use your easier races to try new techniques and practise various skills to see how things are developing.
It doesn’t matter if you are a beginner
You don’t need to be speedy to take part in most races. If you are just beginning you probably won’t win however you probably won’t be last either. Even if you are last, there will be a large cheering squad at the finish to pull you in. Everyone will also be extremely impressed by your achievement and you will get better and better with time!
Races build resilience and strength
Most journeys begin when you have an idea that develops as you look for an event to reach your goals. This is usually the fun part; the easiest part of the journey. Planning your training schedule is also exciting. However after a couple weeks, some of your enthusiasm may have worn off as you realise how challenging it is to prepare. It’s that way for me even now – I am scheduled to run in a couple hours and I don’t want to do it!
Training for anything – especially endurance sports – is all about staying consistent; sometimes repeating the same or similar things over and over each day. Sometimes training may feel more challenging than other times however, building a routine and getting out to complete at least the majority of your sessions builds mental strength which will carry you till you reach your goals.
Even if you do remain consistent, things rarely go as planned. Setbacks such as injuries, illnesses and other unpredictable situations build resilience. Learning to refocus and restructure your training to counteract the obstacles that challenge your original plan and then still achieving your goals despite of the challenges, will heighten your feelings of accomplishment. It also teaches you about how to deal with challenges outside of training and achieve goals in your life.
Finishing a race builds confidence
Finishing a race or challenge builds your confidence because it reinforces your belief that you can achieve your goals. The harder you push towards a goal the more confidence it builds. This confidence gives you the ability to take on more challenging experiences. As you gradually work towards each goal you will feel better about yourself.
Enter a race, make memories, have fun and B-Active For Life!
Betty Doyling is a certified fitness trainer and figure competitor with more than a decade of experience. Look for B. ActiveForLife on Facebook