Today my race number came for my first race of 2018! I’m so excited to be racing again after taking December off and can’t wait to run my first race of this year. If you’re new to running or have been running for years, but have never signed up for a race, it is something I would without any doubts recommend. I ran for years before I entered my first race as I was worried I wasn’t good enough or I wasn’t a serious enough runner to be entering, but when I did start doing them I realised that you didn’t have to be a professional, or even semi-professional, runner to take part and enjoy the race day experience. Now I love racing and, as I mentioned in my 2018 fitness goals post, I’m aiming to do a least one race per month this year, although I’m not sure this will be achievable! Sure I get nervous before a race and sometimes the weather conditions are rubbish so I wish I had stayed in bed, but I’ve never regretted a race after crossing the finish line.
If you still need more convincing these are the reasons why I think you should run a race this year.
Focus your training
If your goals this year are to either get fit, lose weight or get better at running, entering a race will give you something to aim for and motivate you to get out the door for that run! Nothing is more motivating than knowing that you have to get round a 5k, 10k, half marathon or even a marathon course. The great thing about running is that there are races to suit all abilities, if for example you are completely new to running a 5k Race for Life is an ideal race to choose as it still motivates you to train but it is a fun race with no major pressure – my first ever race was in fact a 5k Race for Life! Alternatively, if you’ve been running for years and want to push your distance there are loads of friendly and relaxed half marathons and marathons to choose from.
It’s not just the motivation to run that signing up for a race creates, but also the chance to experience something completely new. A race day is a completely unique experience, from the nervous energy of waiting at the start to the great feeling of crossing the finish line. It is something all runners should experience. Plus it creates memories that will last long after your running trainers have worn out and been thrown away.
Sense of achievement
Nothing compares to crossing the finish line of your first race. The sense of achievement you get of knowing you’ve done that entire distance by yourself, is like nothing else. Most races make a big deal about the finish line, with some even calling out runners names as they pass through – no matter if they came first or are the last to finish. Also it doesn’t matter how hard the course is, your tiredness completely disappears and you always find that extra little bit of energy when you see the finish in the distance and can already hear the cheering as you get closer.
Runners love medals and collecting medals from races; but they are not just a vanity trinket; instead are solid reminders of what you went through to earn that medal. The running medals I love the most are the ones where I had to struggle through the course or I managed to get a new PB, as those are the medals I feel I truly earned!