The Benefits Of Racing Yourself Into Shape
While racing yourself into shape is a tricky, high-risk way to train, it does have its benefits. Here are a few ways racing yourself into shape can be beneficial:
1. You don’t have to workout alone.
My favorite benefit of racing yourself into shape is that you don’t have to work out alone. If you do a majority of your hard running alone, it can be nice to have competitors alongside you to help push you to better performances and distract you from the mind-numbing task of running hard for 5K, 10K or whatever the distance may be. Along the same lines, having these built-in “training partners” can help take your workouts to the next level, especially if you’re having trouble pushing yourself beyond your comfort zone.
2. You can easily measure progress.
One of the most difficult things about executing long blocks of training without racing is that it’s often difficult to notice imperceptible gains in fitness. It’s difficult to compare how 10 x 800 meters on the track compares or translates to a 2 x 3-mile tempo run in terms of quality or progress. When you race yourself into shape, you can pretty easily track your progress from race-to-race, even on different courses (using familiar competition as a barometer). It can be a boost to your confidence if you’re progressing each time you race.
3. Gain experience racing.
You can gain a lot of racing experience from racing frequently. Veteran runners can get more practice at events outside their normal comfort zones and beginners can hone the racing skills they’ll need to set big PRs down the road. Lots of things can go wrong during a race, such as watch malfunction, falling, shoes coming untied, learning to time your kick, etc., and racing often can expose you to these different experiences so you’ll be prepared should they happen at a goal race.