shall I race today or not?

Hi guys,

I urgently need advice from fellow runners. I would have the last Friday of the Month 5k today at 12.30. I was already supposed to it in June and in July. In June I couldn't do it because I had a vaccine before and didn't want to risk running (and was also advised by a medic friend of mine not to run). Then in July, my grandpa died the day of the race and I didn't race. But today I have got real doubts. I have much going on in my life at the moment: purchase of a first flat, new job, getting married in 2 weeks time. I also have a coach and I always put so much pressure on myself when I race to race a good time. I don't want to disappoint me and him. But at the moment my mind is elsewhere and I am sure I won't be able to block out the pain when it hurts most during the race. I don't want to have a bad result which would be very disappointing for me. I am no elite runner, I am in the middle pack usually and I think if I don't have joy at the moment in racing, I shouldn't go, but then the other half of me thinks "you are lazy and weak." I'd rather go to the gym at lunchtime, set the treadmill to 14 and run 5km. What shall I do? Any ideas? Haven't got much time left. THANKS


  • not worth beating yourself up about.  if you want to go, go.  if you don't, don't.  it's not about being 'lazy and weak'.  it's only a hobby, and supposed to be fun.  if it isn't fun then don't do it, but if you don't do it then don't worry about it.

     if you looked on 'stamp collectors world' forum and somebody was getting equally uptight about how they should arrange the stamps of Grenada in their album - in price order, or date of issue, then i'm sure you'd think they should just 'chill'. 

     running races is just your stamp collecting.  chill, and enjoy it.

  • Irvy,

    Instead of thinking why you should not run, think of reasons why you should.

    Sounds like you are not going to win the race and neither are you going to come last, so your expectations and goals are to end up in the middle of the pack, and run the best race you can.

    I've spent the last 3 years racing and always coming in the middle of the pack. Setting myself unrealistic goals and being disappointed when I did not get there.

    Ultimately I run, and race, not because I'm ever going to win, but simply because I enjoy sport and running, and also testing myself.

    For the top 5 or 10, racing is about trying to win. For most of us, its about doing our best and finishing.

    ...better to compete and come 20th, than to sit in the office and wrestle with your conscience for the next week.

  • I'd say do it.

    Take your mind off "things."

    Though you won't have the ability to verbalise what's going on in your life on the start line or during the race, the understanding that fellow runners have on a start line in anticipation of the event ahead should give you a boost - not just in your running, but also with everything else that's going on.

    Even if you don't run well, you have run - outside, against the elements, pure and simple.

    Ultimately, you are a runner and if it doesn't happen today, it will happen at some other point in the future for sure.

    No shame in what ever you decide to do.
  • NessieNessie ✭✭✭
    You could use it as an experimental race. Try tactics that you would never dream of using in a race you felt well prepared for, just to see what happens.

    Sit right at the back and try for a sprint finish from 1/2 a km out. Go off like stink and try to hang on for as long as possible. Pick a runner and track them. Vary the pace - 1km fast, 1km slow and so on.

    I'm running a half marathon on Sunday. I've not done half the training I planned (PB'd in this race last year, wanted to knock more off this year), so all I am going to try to do is a negative split. Because I'm undertrained, it means I'll be going off VERY slow, then trying to take 15 secs a mile off in the second half. If it works, then the next race I'm properly trained for, I'll have the confidence to try it again, but with a quicker first half.

    But as the others have said - if you really don't feel like it, there's no harm in just doing your own thing.
  • Thanks guys. I have made up my mind and all your comments and thinking of it has made me realise that the problem is far greater than I thought. During all my life (I am 28 now) I've had hobbies which I really got obsessive about. I used to play the church organ and practised 4 hours a day. But I did it not for myself but for my organ teacher in reality. I always wanted to prove to him how good I was. And then, the unavoidable thing happened, I quit and today I can't even play the easiest music on the organ without mistakes.

    I have realised that my running is going in the same direction and I must break this circle. I started running 1.5 years ago, alone, just for the joy if it. Then I decided I needed help because I didn't know how to improve and got myself a coach. Since that day I was running more for him than for me and that is so wrong. I felt under pressure in our sessions and during races, being always super disappointed if I didn't produce the results that my coach had asked me to produce. The simple fact is that I love running as it is and I don't want it to end like the organ playing. I want to keep on running and I want to be able to enjoy it again.

    So I have decided that I won't run the race today because I really don't feel like being in a race situation at the moment. I'll go to the gym and do my own 5k race on the treadmill. I will also switch to online coaching (where I get sent programmes) and want to stop with sessions with the coach for a while. I need to learn to enjoy it again and get rid of this stupid mindframe of mine that I have to prove things to me and others. I will run the 5k on the treadmill today just for me and hopefully my decisions will do my running good.

    Thanks for all your answers!

  • That's an interesting post Irvy,

    When I was 11, I was forced by my music teacher into playing the flute which I loathed - I wanted to play the clarinet or the oboe.

    I carried on for 7 years to keep my teacher and my parents happy but finally found the courage to jack it in. To this day I resent every minute I spent practising, at lessons and getting nervous over grade exams.

    As you've come to realise, life's short. Do what you do FOR you and no-one else.

    And enjoy your treadmill session tonight image

  • Guys, I could kick myself. I just came back from the gym where I went during my lunch break. I ran 5k on the treadmill and ran a new PB!!!! I deliberately set the treadmill to a slightly higher pace than my 5k PB and after 10 minutes into it, I knew I was strong and that I could make it. And I did! I don't believe it!

    Now I am kicking myself that I didn't go to the race! Well, but that's all experience as a runner I guess.... 

  • There will always be other races Irvy, don't beat yourself up image
  • There will always be other races Irvy, don't beat yourself up image
  • That race gets held every mont, you haven't got long to wait until the next chance to run it crops up.

    Maybe if you'd have run the race, you wouldn't have been up for it, would have put too much pressure on yourself and wouldn't have done a good time.

    it should be fun. Too many runners fall into the trap of taking it too seriously and beating themselves up about it. Take it easy.

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