Distance training can be tough and a little monotonous. By running races and with a little creativity, you can train well and have fun doing it!
Running races can be beneficial on so many levels. For starters, running races helps break up the monotony of a long training cycle. By running with a few hundred to a few thousand of your best friends, there’s always something to look at or someone to talk to. But there are a lot of other reasons I like running races, too.
10 Reasons I Like Running Races
1. They’re fun.
This one’s a no-brainer. Running a race is a lot of fun. So much fun, in fact, I’ve put together a list of nine more reasons I like running races…
2. Local races are like a little running-community-reunion at every race.
Signing up for a local race is like planning a really fun school reunion. You get to see all the people you want to see and do all the things you like to do. It’s a time when the city you live in feels just a little bit smaller.
3. Meeting new people is super fun; as is reuniting with old friends.
One of my favorite parts of racing: it’s really cool to meet new people, reunite with old friends, or meet social media friends in real life. Sometimes you don’t even realize who they are until after the fact when you see some of your same snaps from the day!
4. Races can be treated as supported long runs.
If you have one or two goal races you’re training for, racing can be an exceptional experience. You can use races as supported long runs. Instead of lugging your own hydration and snacks, you can run light and utilize aid stations along the way.
5. They’re good practice for a goal race.
In addition to using races as long runs, they’re good practice for your goal race. Use a “fun run” race as a dress rehearsal: wear what you plan on wearing on race day, walk through aid stations if you plan on walking on race day, and snack/hydrate as you plan on race day.
6. Small races are great for setting personal records and winning age group awards.
Running small races can be great for a confidence boost, especially in the later weeks of half and full marathon training. Smaller races usually yield good results for setting personal records and winning age group awards. They can be used as a tune-up of sorts as well which is great for building confidence and mental toughness!
7. Receiving great swag.
If you’re into swag, it’s always a great treat to get some new stuff in race bags. I’ve received a lot of usable (and some pointless) swag like lip balm, sunblock, and sports drinks in race bags before!
Racing = medals. If medals are your thing, race away!
9. You can find great new gear at expos.
You can find and try new gear at most of the bigger race expos. A lot of times you can find things that aren’t sold in stores near you. But be careful because it can be kind of difficult to return items at expos. If there’s a chance you won’t like it, it will break, or you’ll want to return it, it’s best not to purchase.
10. One word: racecations.
Race + travel = the best of both worlds. As much as traveling stresses me out with all the packing and getting to/from places, there’s nothing more fun to me than exploring a new city and new people on foot via a race. I’ve been to some really great races that I’ve traveled to and I don’t plan on stopping that behavior any time soon. My next two races I’m traveling for are Iron Horse Half Marathon in Midway, KY and Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D.C. Two completely different races in two completely different cities but two completely amazing experiences.
Training season can be tough and a little monotonous. But with a little creativity and some racing, you can get through it and have fun doing it.
I’ve got a few races coming up in the next few months and I honestly can’t wait. Bring it on!
Speaking of races… looking for a coach? Check out my services — I would love to help you achieve your goals!
What’s one thing you love about running races?
What’s your favorite race distance?