My friend Sarah posted an article on Twitter recently about re-thinking how we run races and how we shouldn’t just pick a race and then train for 8-16 weeks, but race when we feel best.
I agree with parts of the article (hands up who has me saved as “Cool Running Dot Com” in their phone) but I think overall it’s more applicable to those who run and only run. For those of us who have a somewhat more balanced lifestyle where running is just a slice of the pie, I think it’s important to remember why we run.
What about thinking about running races more like a team sport. Most of us played them growing up. As a Canadian I played softball, volleyball, soccer, and basketball and all of those had a pre-season, season, and playoffs.
In the pre-season we’d just practice. Being not-that-competitive 11 year olds the pre-season consisted of 1 or 2 practices to see if the batting helmets still fit and the big reveal of what local business would be our sponsor (and thus team name) that year.
The season was filled with practices, league games, and sometimes weekend tournaments. Each game was important and you had to try your best, but it wasn’t an all out give-it-your-all-or-else type of effort every game. Games were balanced with a few practices in the week to keep up our skills and learn new ones. When the playoffs came around things became a more intense and you would obviously put a lot more effort into each game because you wanted to win the trophy. But, at the end of the seasons BBQ you’d reflect back at your season, not 1 game or practice.
I’m a social runner and love running with friends casually around the neighbourhood and at races. I’m not going to stop ‘impulsively entering races late at night’ but I am going to remember that each race makes up a season and my health and happiness over the season matters more than a few minutes here or there.
Hehe I like that I can now call my bRUNches “practices” for race day. I agree, this year I have totally let go of all time pressures (while a PB would be nice, it’s not everything) and I am enjoying it SO much more. This year I decided I just wanted to race for fun, with friends – I don’t really care how fast or slow I do things. I can work on speed and time and technique another year – this year is about running with my team, and running for the joy of it. And the bling. Always the bling.
I really like this post Laura, the idea of a race ‘season’ and a pre-season is a really good one. I think too often we rush from the end of one training cycle straight into another without balancing it or having a proper rest. Here’s to a balanced lifestyle and more slices of the pie being part of it.