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Monday, November 13, 2006

Racing is the best sort of training.

William and I have had may conversations over the years and William continues to write articles, books and training programs based on much of what we talk about. Here's another article he wrote recently that I think is very relevant to all distance runners.

"No matter how much a runner enjoys training, all that work is for a reason, to win races and the subsequent recognition they provide you. However, many runners are averse to competing in races. They prefer the constant and steady routine of training, but shy away from the pressure and intensity of an actual race.
However David Thomas put it best when he said, "Racing is the best sort of training. It will toughen you up, that's for sure."

The difference between inexperienced runners and veterans is not always the number of years they've been running. Instead, it is often simply the amount of time they've spent competitively running against their peers. Capitalizing off the knowledge gained from each race, even young runners can outwit more experienced individuals if they have more races to their name.

This poses a difficult situation for runners. Even though races are dramatically different than training, and many runners like Thomas are open about not enjoying them, they provide a kind of experience and knowledge that one can never gain with training alone.

Training therefore can be seen as the development of the body. Races however offer runners insight into the mental aspect of the sport. A runner can be as fit as possible, but if he/she doesn't understand how to interact with the other runners at every stage of the race, it can still result in a loss. It can be understood in this way-training will make you fit and consistent, but only races can make you a great runner.

Any runner interested in pursuing the sport competitively must acknowledge that races and training are inherently different activities. One must understand this, expect this and accept it. If you truly want to thrive as a runner, train hard and do whatever necessary to enjoy the races. Training is essential but never lose sight of the fact that it is done for a purpose, and that purpose is to succeed in the world of competitive running."

I still feel racing nerves each time I race but I do understand how important it is to improving my running. Besides the nerves almost always disappear after the first 5 or 6 paces. :)

So make sure you do some racing.


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