Why Should I Race?

June 16, 2015

I was talking to a friend over the weekend about running. She asked me why she would ever want to pay for a race when she could just open her door and run for free. This got me thinking. Why do I pay for races? Is it a waste of money? I came to the conclusion that there was more to racing than just running, and I’m not just talking about the medal (although they sure are nice to display!).

For one thing, paying for a race keeps you motivated to train on days when you otherwise wouldn’t, like when there’s cold weather or if you stayed out too late the night before. Training in less-than-ideal conditions is a good way to build confidence in your abilities as a runner. That way, when a tricky situation comes up you can remind yourself that you’ve overcome situations like this before.

Another reason paying to race is different than running on your own is the competition. I’m not talking about the competition with other runners. I mean the competition with yourself. Anybody who has ever done a race can tell you the first question that you’ll be asked once it’s over is, “What was your time?” There’s always a little bit of pride in answering that question when you know you’ve achieved a personal record. With this in mind, every time you go out to race you want it to be your best one yet, which doesn’t always happen when you go out for a casual jog.

I’m not sure if I convinced her to sign up for a race or not, but I’m glad she challenged my reasoning behind it. Thinking about why I like to race has motivated me to start searching for the next one I plan to sign up for. I haven’t found one yet, but I know it’s right around the corner!