Home > Making Progress > Am I Ready to Run Races?

Am I Ready to Run Races?

By: Mike Kiely BA (hons) - Updated: 18 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Running Run Races Racing Running Races

The primary consideration when deciding to step up to the start line and compete in a race for the first time is: why do I want to do this?

There is bound to be even just a little anxiety about entering an organised event for the first time. Many people feel self-conscious that they will be shown up as inadequate, that all the other competitors are bound to be much stronger and much faster. Well, in this case there are two choices: either give racing a wide berth and continue training solo or with a partner – there is no shame in this; or take the plunge because you never know, you may surprise yourself and others around you.

To whatever standard a runner reaches or aspires too, they are all competitive, and don’t let anyone kid you that they aren’t. Deciding to run in the first place is in effect setting both your mind and body a challenge, and getting faster and stronger will only mean you are encouraged to aim to reach the next level.

In terms of ability, some events, especially those run for charity, will not require a certain standard, so you don’t have to worry that you will be out of your league. Others, such as those run by clubs, will be organised according to age groups or a particular level of ability. It never pays to be unambitious, but don’t do yourself the disservice of trying to compete against runners of a much higher level as you will gain little out of the experience.

Finishing Line

So exactly how good are you? That is the question that brings all runners to the aforementioned starting line. Beyond that aim of assessing ability, the ultimate goal is to win. But winning can mean different things to different people. The highly trained professionals that triumph in the London marathon may only find satisfaction in breaking the tape; the thousands of amateur competitors will be satisfied just reaching the finishing line on their own two feet. Both have triumphed in equal measure.So ask yourself what you want out of the experience, and measure the success of the experience in the satisfaction you gained from it. For example, no, you didn’t win, but it was the first time you had run 10 kilometres, and you surprised yourself by being able to complete the course comfortably. Perhaps you would have had trouble walking that same distance only six months before. Now that is a triumph worth celebrating, but only with an isotonic drink, of course.

Running Routine

The flip side of this is disappointment. You struggled to finish that 10k, or you found the presence of your fellow competitors intimidating. You may even have been the victim of a rare incident of road running rage, perhaps though an accidental collision. Again, as in the case of deciding to race or not to race, you either decide that the positives outweigh the negatives, or opt for being content with your usual running routine.

In the end, deciding to enter other races after the initial experience is all down to the individual and how they react. But always remember that the reason you run is because you enjoy it. And if racing does not enhance that enjoyment, then don’t take part. Even in reaching this conclusion, you have in a sense come out of the experience a winner. Because now you know what works for you.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Topics
Latest Comments
  • Tammy
    Re: The Women's Running Network
    Hi, also trying to find out if Swansea groups still going? Thanks.
    7 October 2018
  • Rach
    Re: The Women's Running Network
    Hi I live in the Wolverhampton WV8 area and wondered if you have any activities running close to me please? Thank you Rachel.
    3 September 2018
  • Ali
    Re: The Women's Running Network
    Hi Vic. Try Potters Trotters. They used to meet at Northwood years ago, but now meet at Staffs Uni on Tuesday and Thursday. They…
    30 August 2018
  • Cathryn
    Re: The Women's Running Network
    Is there a beginners club in Torquay for women over 50
    31 July 2018
  • VikingMermaid
    Re: The Women's Running Network
    Is there still a group in Dawlish (S Devon)? I used to run with WRN ca 10 yrs ago here (leader was Sarah, who was a real…
    26 June 2018
  • Vic
    Re: The Women's Running Network
    Hi, Any running clubs in stoke on trent? Northwood area? Trying to rehab and lose weight after slipped disc surgery last year.
    13 June 2018
  • Bigsare
    Re: The Women's Running Network
    Is there. A group in Exeter still and when and where do they meet please
    2 May 2018
  • Verity
    Re: The Women's Running Network
    Hi. I ran with WRN over 10 years ago and was registered with UKA. I am now trying to join another club. Can my link to WRN be…
    22 April 2018
  • JanieN
    Re: The Women's Running Network
    Ha, ha - predictive text! Passing my message on - thanks
    7 April 2018
  • JanieN
    Re: The Women's Running Network
    Hi there I’m looking to reconnect with the Swansea group but can’t find the details. Any chance of either padding my message on or…
    7 April 2018