Recently, there has been a push from trainers, magazines, websites, and the media to have a racing goal in mind. This means signing up for an event, preparing for a race, or having a plan in mind. It seems as though a runner, cyclist, swimmer, or endurance athlete who doesn't compete in a race is now considered a "hollow" shell. Recently, an article in a popular running magazine suggested that an individual is not a "real runner" until they have successfully completed a race.
Is this really necessary? Is it imperative that you have an event on the horizon in order to be a true endurance athlete? The true answer is a resounding: "No!"
When it comes to exercise, creating a plan that creates a lifestyle of fitness is important. If entering a race creates burnout, causes too much pressure, or creates negative feelings...don't do it. The goal is to enjoy exercise, not make it another task, chore, or job.
After 16 years competing in ironman triathlons, marathons, and many shorter events, a realization has occurred. The realization is that whatever keeps you motivated, moving, and healthy supersedes competing in an event. Feeling that workout "burn" and watching bodily and mental changes occur is worth more than gold. No race needed.
So don't buy into the hype of races and pressure to sign up for an event. Keep enjoying training, keep moving, and keep focusing on investing in the currency of physical capitol. No race can give you the satisfaction that maintaining a healthy lifestyle can.
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