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Why Racing is Our Most Important Goal as Runners

My sister, Amy, who I wrote about in my last post, tells me the training sometimes really tires her out. What it’s really doing is making her stronger.  The accomplishment of setting a goal and obtaining it is so important. I am travelling to New Jersey to watch her race. I look forward to it because when she crosses that finish line, she’ll feel so proud.

Kristen, however, another runner I profiled this summer who was training for the Baltimore half marathon, may not run the race. She got all the way up to running about 7 miles or so. She started losing weight.  However, training for a half is time-consuming and and the stress of actually doing the race was getting to her.

Her very supportive husband, Dave, told her not to sweat it. She had already accomplished too things.

1. She’s now in great shape
2. She lost some weight

The race was the motivator. If she doesn’t run the race in two weeks it doesn’t matter. What matters is that she chose the race, set a training plan, and executed that plan to the best of her abilities.

The reason racing is a runner’s most important goal is not to say we ran a race. It’s to say we prepared for one. Life happens. We sometimes cannot get to the starting line but we shoot to run a race of any kind and begin to seriously train – the benefits of the planning and training far out weigh the costs of not having started at all.

Deciding to run a race puts you in a certain place mentally. It gives us a reason to strive for something.  Racing keeps me motivated, focused, and goal-oriented. For me, it makes me plan my time more efficiently. By telling people about it, I feel important – like I have something to do; something to accomplish.

In my mind, Kristen and Amy have already discovered the purpose of running a race. They both crossed the mental starting line of that first training run and completed that. They moved on to other runs, increased distances, and gained fitness. I cannot think of anything greater than that.



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