For many running is a way to stay in shape, relieve stress and just have some friendly conversations on a long run with friends.
That is until you start participating in races! Races can bring out the competitive spirit in people,. Whether you are a top runner or just someone in the middle or back of the pack you feel that pressure to run faster to either out run your friends or just finish faster to set a new personal best.
Racing helps you set goals and assess your fitness level. It keeps running interesting and some friendly competition is generally good for the animal spirit in us.
Do you have to race? The answer is definitely not. For many just running is sufficient and works for them. Many runners go through stages in their running careers. They will start running for fun or to get in shape and then do a race or two and get caught up in trying to better their time or beat a friend. They get into the routine of racing just about every week and soon become a regular at local races.
But after a while for many that seems to get old. You are no longer setting personal bests or it is getting to be very difficult to go faster or further without getting injured. Many runners then seem to fade out of the racing scene but continue to run.
There is also a certain amount of stress and pressure associated with racing. No matter how many events you participate in you feel that nervousness before a race. You have trouble sleeping the night before a big event. Getting up early on a Saturday or Sunday morning becomes tougher. This pressure associated with racing for many becomes stressful and less enjoyable.
But for many they continue on even while they no longer may have the same fitness level as they get older they compete in their respective age groups and if you stay active your chances of placing in those groups generally goes up. It seems the older age groups recently are getting more competitive. There are 80 plus age groups in many events with competitive fields.
Do you enjoy racing? Is racing integral to your running? Or can you do without it? What was your first race? Why did you enter?
If you are looking for a race to enter check out The Race Calendar for some local events.
And for those who want to train for their first 5k there is a Beginners Group starting in March.