Ten years ago, on March 18, I stepped up to the start line of a race for the first time ever. Running a race had never even crossed my mind, even though I’d been running regularly since Jones was born (about 5 years). But one of my friends convinced me to do it and promised to help me with everything. Little did she know she was creating a monster. A monster who has now run 6 marathons, 62 half marathons, and countless races of other lengths. A monster who recently couldn’t resist grabbing a last minute bib to the 17.75 to get the opportunity to earn the Golden Ticket for MCM again.
Over the years, I’ve learned a few things about myself and about racing. Here are my top 10 lessons learned…
- Zippers are a girl’s best friend. I don’t like to be freezing (in fact, I prefer to overdress to underdress), but I usually warm up eventually. With a zipper, I can regulate my temperature during the race. This comes in really handy when you are running in the wind.
- Check out the elevation before you register. Or don’t. Just check if I’ve registered – I apparently only choose hilly races LOL.
- Not every race will be a good run, but there’s good in every race.
- Not every race can be a PR. Even if your training goes perfectly, you never know what’s going to happen when you step up to that line. Sometimes a race just doesn’t go your way. On the flip side, sometimes you have a surprise absolutely amazing race.
- You’re only competing with yourself. Until I can see the finish line. Then I’m competing with everyone and I will sprint past you at the last second and feel good about it. SorryNotSorry.
- Wear what makes you happy and do what works for you. I like to run in skirts. Yes, I think they are cute and I love the patterns, but really I run in them because they work for me. I don’t chafe, I have pockets for my stuff, and my rear end is covered. I also tend to run colder than a lot of runners, so I need to remember not to underdress.
- It’s better to be undertrained than overtrained. Now I’m not recommending that you run a marathon after running all 5ks and 10ks, but if you’ve got a solid base of running, you can go a lot farther than you think you can (just as long as you slow down.) *Cough* MCM 2016 *Cough*
- Giving back is nearly as much fun as running a race. I LOVE racing. LOVE it. But I also love volunteering and cheering.
- Have a race morning routine. I always eat the same thing and try to get up with at least the same amount of time to get ready. Any lack of planning ahead and following the routine results in forgetting important things and upset tummies. Learn from my mistakes.
- Get a good night’s sleep the night before the night before a race. I will ALWAYS have insomnia before a race, no matter how long the race is or where I’m running. Now I just plan for it.
I’m linking up with Running on Happy and Fairytales and Fitness for Friday 2.0.
21 thoughts on “Ten things learned in ten years of racing”
having a race morning routine is so important! It helps to calm me down before a race.
These are so true. 3,4 and 5 really resonate with me!
Congratulations on 10 years of racing! These are all great tips! So true that there’s always good in a race even if it doesn’t go as well as you hoped. And I always sprint to the finish line too! 🙂
Even though I always have compression shorts under my skirts and shorts, the skirts just feel more freeing. I love the pockets too, and I definitely take advantage of those.
Definitely great tips! I can never sleep the night before a race even if it is just a local 5K go figure
HECK YES to zippers. Seriously, the world was lousy before them. And yes to wearing what you like, while on that topic (and both of those things apply to life and fashion at large).And so true about the sleeps before races. They are never going to be A+
All great tips. What are you thinking for MCM 2017…? 🙂
Happy Raciversary! Hmmm The traditional gift for 10 yrs is aluminum so I’m thinking maybe….a medal rack? :p
Such great lessons and tips! It definitely helps to be as prepared as possible before a race. I always check out the elevation but sometimes i feel like I am still surprised on race day!
Yes x 10! This is everything I would say!
I learned #7 the hard way, when injuries derailed my training but I recovered in time to race – and did better than I expected. I definitely check elevation profiles and stress over them!
I love this! So many great tips!! Totally agree with “You are only competing with yourself” and I do love charity races as well!!
My favorite lesson: “Not every race will be a good run, but there’s good in every race”. So much truth in it.
You’ve definitely ran a LOT of races since you started running 10 years ago. These are all great lessons!
I think that points 3, 4, and 5 are the true struggle for newbie runners. Once you realize you want to race for life, not burn out, and stay healthy, I think those points become a little bit easier to understand. Happy running!
Morning routine is key for me or I will forget something very important! I would rather run on undertrained rested legs any day over some tired over trained ones!
“Better to be undertrained than overtrained.” True for skating too! Nothing like having your legs worn out before even stepping out there, let alone dealing with an overuse injury.
All valid points!! AS much as I resent that sand baggers who fly by me int he final mile of a race…there have been occasions when I have committed said crime #busted #sorrynotsorry
Congrats on 10 years of racing! I haven’t been running nearly as long as you have, but I’ve learned a number of these lessons along the way, particularly about not being able to PR at every race. RnRDC last weekend is a great example of having race day conditions be beyond your control.
This is awesome! You touched in everything that’s important! You are only competing with yourself resonates most and is the advice I give most new runners!
annnd you know I neeeeeeded all of these.
RIGHT ABOUT NOW 🙂
The 2nd tip is something I always forget about! Somehow I end up on a course and feel resentful of all of the hills I should have researched and known about. It always feels good to finish races like that though!