Racing often - race day magic (Read 212 times)

    I would like to understand why people like to race so often. I’m not talking about competitive runners, but recreational runners who, like me, don’t stand a chance of crossing the tape in the top three.


    To me, enrolling in a race makes sense for one of these two reasons: 1- try to win the race, or 2- get an official time on my running to objectively calculate my performance as a runner.


    I think most runners probably race for reason number 2: get a little boost in performance from competition, and an official time. Here is where I get confused. Why would I want to run another race one to two weeks after my previous? I need time to train if I want my performances to improve. A couple of weeks aren’t enough. So why race again so soon? For periodic follow-ups on my running times, a GPS watch is good enough, less expensive and less time consuming than showing up for a race. When your numbers improve, then you enroll in a race to make it official.


    So I’m wondering what it is that I don’t get? There must be something special about racing, some often cited “race day magic” I seem to be blind to.

    I say things. I do things. Does it all have to make sense?

      It's fun.


      That's about it for me.  I do enjoy being competitive in my age group and things like that as well, but there is just something about racing that makes it more enjoyable.


      It's kind of counter intuitive too, because racing hard is painful and not really what I would consider fun normally.  It hurts.


      But the satisfaction of running as hard as you can is what racing is all about.


      One example I would say would be that you could probably get to be a pretty good golfer if you practiced on the driving range for an hour every day and practiced chipping and putting on a regular basis, but getting out there and playing a round of golf is what makes all the practice worthwhile.


      Same with running for me.

      Age: 49 Weight: 202 Height: 6'3" (Goal weight 195)

      Current PR's:  Mara 3:14:36* (2017); HM 1:36:13 (2017); 10K 43:59 (2014); 5K 21:12 (2016)

      Just a dude.

        It depends on the distance. For like 10ks and shorter, running them somewhat often can help with understanding race pacing and tactics. Its fun to get out with other runners, hang out with people, that kind of thing. If nothing else, it's like a tempo run for your training.


        I don't do marathons and the like. Not sure how that works for people who does those, but I am sure there is still a lot of social stuff going on if nothing else.



        Getting back in shape... Just need it to be a skinnier shape... 

          Races themselves often serve as workouts toward future races. Not every race is a goal race.


          Plus, as the others said, its fun.

          Runners run.

            hanging out with like minded folks, beating (or atleast trying to)someone who beat you last race, and maybe  having a near term goal to look forward to.


              Post race beers always taste better than one's everyday beers.


                Races are fun as others have noted.  I race a lot, about 35 races each year.  I think I am best at the long distance races, half marathon to marathon, but most of my races are a lot shorter than those.  I run those 5ks most weeks other than in the winter as speed workouts.  I find it hard to do a training speed workout on my own but the 5k races are a great, enjoyable way to get in the speed work and see a lot of other runners in the process.


                MTA: Also I usually win my age group in these weekly races and that is good for my ego.

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                  Genzebe Dibaba raced last Saturday and did well, and raced again Thursday (yesterday) and did even better.


                  In a rather stunning example of frequent racing, Daniel Komen, in August of 1997 went to the track three times in less than a month:


                  16th 1500 3:29:46
                  22nd 5000 12:39:47
                  26th mile 3:46.38


                  Course these people are ones that would generally be termed "competitive" Smile

                  It's a 5k. It hurt like hell...then I tried to pick it up. The end.


                    For those who don't go, races are our church.   Good friends, New best friends, and most of all fun!

                      Ok I see "fun" in your answers. Fun because you get to socialize with other runners, from what I understand. Makes sense.


                      As for speed work, I can understand that it is difficult to run as hard in training as you do in a race, so the race can become a darn hard tempo run. But again, it comes down to fun, because I don't particularily enjoy running as hard as I would in a race.

                      I say things. I do things. Does it all have to make sense?


                        You have not been in Taiwan.
                        The participation is the most important, got medal of finisher, diploma, be with others runners, etc.
                        It is different then I know from Czech, but mood here is usually wonderful.

                          For those who don't go, races are our church.   Good friends, New best friends, and most of all fun!


                          I race a lot but I've always considered the Sunday long run as 'church'.

                            To me there is another reason that it looks like hasn't been mentioned.  Races let you race against YOU.  Nothing to do with winning the overall race or getting in better shape, but they allow you to really challenge you in a way you simply cannot do out there by yourself on a Thursday morning.  I love the Joe versus Joe aspect (although I also like competing to win/place well when I can also).

                            - Joe

                            We are fragile creatures on collision with our judgment day.

                                  I love the Joe versus Joe aspect

                                Me too