Should I race?

Ok, confession time... I've never done a race. I'm not competitive. I'm an anti-social runner; prefer to run alone. I do not belong to a club. Despite this, I'm considering doing the Dalby Dash 10k. Not entered it yet.

Things that worry me about doing it: other runners talking to me, the 'incline' at the start (I struggle with hills, so I might have to walk up it), coming last - I know someone has to.

I was trying to think of some positives, and all I can come up with is the location, and it would be nice to say I've finished one race!

Is it normal to have such apprehension? image


  • Hi, I'm the same, all this running club thing and talking to people as you go along, fills me with horror.  I have done a couple of 15k runs and had the same worries about coming last.  I came near the end, not last phew and no-one talked to me, though it is nice to have the Marshalls clapping you and cheering you on as you go past!  If you know your time for 10k have a look at the timings, I do Innovation Sports 15k, there are 5 and 10k runners too, so have a look on their site and compare yourself, I am sure the Dalby Dash is not just full if hot runners!  I did them because I have just taken it up (age 52) and can't actually be bothered to run for 'fun'!   BTW hills, I think, is just a matter of pace.  Go slow up the hill and you will be fine.  I am doing this Jeff Galloway run,walk,run thing and it's great, and faster than when I was running the whole 15k.  Go for it, at least you will know then if you hate it or not!

  • One of the great things about running is you can do it in so many ways. Just because lots of people enjoy entering races doesn't mean everyone has to. If you are happy with the running you currently do, then there is no pressure to enter races.

    Having said that, you could be missing out on something you may really enjoy. Why not just do it. If you like it you can do more, if you don't, well at least you know you don't like racing!

  • +1 for exiled claret.  I'm not the most sociable of runners and have no intention of joining a club, but I do enjoy doing a few races a year.  It gives you something to train towards, and it is a different experience to a training run.

    I think everyone worries that they are not fast enough to "race", but in reality each event has the racers at the front who are running for position, and then the rest of the field are just competing against themselves to either get a personal best time or just complete the course.  And the crowds cheer the back of the field just as much as the front.

  • If you can manage 10k inside 1hr 19mins you wouldn't have come last in 2011.  If you're slower than that you would have come last and most probably received a cheer from the crowd staying around to see everyone home.  No biggy either way really.

    I can remember feeling a little apprehensive about my first proper club organised race I entered but you soon realise that people are there doing their own thing, possibly competing for places, more often seeing if they can beat a PB or just basically having a day out.  I'd just give it a go if I were you.

  • Thanks for your replies. Better time a run then... that's how un-competitive I am, I don't even take a watch! 

    I know some find they need a training goal, a race to work towards. I've never experienced that; I love running purely for the scenery and feeling I get from it. That's what I keep thinking 'I don't need to race'..  but as you say what if it's the start of summat enjoyable image

  • I came last at my first 10k race, won a nice bowl of fruit.image

  • No need to time a run.

    Just enter the race, turn up, run and go home.

    You don't even have to check the results but I bet you do!
  • I don't think I can run with other people; that's my biggest obstacle image

  • It's highly unlikely you're going to find yourself running next to someone all the way who has exactly the same pace and tactics as you! It sounds like this is a local 10K after all, not the Great North Run!

  • Why are you worried about other runners talking to you?

    We're all runners and 'talking' to you.

    Runners aren't all scary sub 40min 40k monsters. If you start near the back of the field you'll keep away from the scary fast runners and be back with the runners who'll take over an hour and probably doing the same run/walk strategy.
  • Loads of antisocial runners already turn up at races with no intention of having anything to do with the rest of us, just wishing to stay in their own world.

    They're the ones in iPods image

  • Muttley wrote (see)

    They're the ones in iPods image

    And they're the ones I'll quite happily DQ when I'm marshalling image
    Any chance they can be anti-social without being a nuisance and forcing their anti-socialness on the rest of us? 

  • Let's not turn this into another anti iPod thread. Feral has asked some good questions. Not talking to people is not anti-social, it's just not joining in with the crowd. Some people are just shy.
  • Feral -  Give it a go, if you don't enjoy it fair enough, but it might be your first of many. There a lots of nervous racers even the more experienced ones, some chat a lot and some keep to themselves, and if they're chatting too much when running obviously not putting the effort in.image

  • Feral I am a bit like you.

    On one hand the social aspect is really intriguing. On another hand I'm terrified of it.

    I've tried out clubs before and enjoyed it but I much prefer to run alone. I like to look at the scenery, be in my own thoughts and most of all, run my own pace.

    I take part in races for two reasons:

    I am competitive so I try to run a good time by keeping up with others. 

    I want to go for what I fear the most which is talking to other people. I enjoy it once it happens... But I'm a bit of a social outcast anyway and terrified of masses. But in races, you can talk to like minded people.
    And if you choose so, you don't have to speak to anyone. Put earphones on. If you dont like music, just put it on so it looks like you're listening to music. Nobody will bother you then.

  • I'm a club member and I enjoy the camaraderie when a few of us turn up at a race, or compete as a team, but I'd equally be happy to enter a race on my own, just turn up and run, and hardly say a word to any strangers.  I might shake hands and have a quick chat with one or two runners finishing around me, but if someone is in their own little bubble going about their business I'd let them get on with it.

    It's a race, not a house party!

  • I think it's shyness and a feeling of insecurity. I used to have very little confidence while running since a friend once commented that I 'didn't look good' while out on a run. This isn't an excuse, but I was nearly home so was pushing it a bit. That stopped me going out and I stuck to running on my dreadmill instead, but I find it tedious. I used to panic a bit if I saw another person out on my run. Then I started running with my dogs and that really helped.. as, in my mind, people are looking at them and not me. This seems silly even as I type it! image

    It says no ipods are allowed in the race. I don't run with one anyway but I was thinking of putting just the earphones in to stop any chatty types. I cannot talk and run, it's enough for me to breathe. 

  • Unless you're at the back of a really long, slow race (e.g. VLM) I doubt anyone will be talking. You're not the only one who prefers to save your breath for running!

  • 1)  I'm a chatty runner. I'm slow and tend to be towards the back where a lot of runners appreciate distraction or need some positive motivation.  However, if someone didn't want to talk to me then I would not be offended if they politely said that they weren't in the mood for talking and I would leave them alone. It is usually quite easy to spot those who don't want to talk.  Most slow runners tend to naturally congragate into groups, even if they don't know the other members of the group.  Someone chosing to run on their own is quite obvious and I would tend to leave them alone.  Don't forget that even chatty runners have times when they want to be left alone with their own thoughts and I respect that.  You don't know the character of the other runners, or whether they have something going on personal to them that they don't want you interfering with.  What I am saying is that it is not uncommon for some runners to want to be left alone

    2) Coming last.  Yes you might, but it is extremely unlikely.  There is no shame in being last.  I've come last in half a dozen races and it has always been a positive experience with lots of cheers and support in the final stages of the race.  There is no reason to fear being last.  You are still better than all those people who ccouldn't be bothered to enter because they didn't think they were good enough or were too lazy.

    3) I'm not competative and the reason that I race is because i like the atmosphere, I like to run different routes, and it is nice for someone else to plan the route for me occassionally.  No chance of getting lost, feed stations provided for you and the bonus of a goodie bag at the end.  Its personal preference and iff you don't want to race then you don't ahve to, but I would give it a go at least once so that you know what you are missing out on.

  • You definitely need to enter a race or at least go and watch one.

    Looking good isn't really one of the options. LOL.

    Seeing a few other runners 'Not looking good' might reassure you.
  • Oh I know.. I don't look good normally, let alone running! I've watched / worked at several races over the years and seen some sights; that doesn't bother me. It's more personal confidence issues, and actually running with others I think.

  • Everything I've ever been nervous/apprehensive of doing, once I've actually done it I always find myself thinking back and wondering what all the fuss and panic was about. If you think you want to run a race, just do it. If you don't want to talk to people, wear sunglasses and earphones or a hat that covers your ears. Cold sunny days are more ideal for this obviously but runners wear all manner of ludicrous clothing so you won't stand out at all.

    I've come last in one race (a 40 mile ultra) and very near to last in a few other marathons and halfs, but it doesn't bother me too much. Neither does looking 'bad' while running - I mean, it's not a fashion parade! I hope you can bring yourself to enter a race as I'm sure you'd enjoy yourself once it was all actually underway!
  • Don't worry about looking silly. If other runners have the time to look and comment on your running style, then they're not concentrating on their own race enough. Likewise for spectators - at least you're out doing it!

    As others have said, it's highly unlikely you'll come last. I recently did the Cardiff 10k and the slowest runner crossed the line after 1 hour and 45 minutes.

    If you really didn't want to race, you wouldn't be here asking us about potentially racing so at least give it a try.

    Other runners talking to each other tends to be of the supportive nature rather than idle chit-chat. I convinced a couple of a guys at Cardiff to get back in the race after they pulled out and started walking and that's about it.

    Best of luck if you decide to do it and have no fear!

  • image i jibbed.

  • I have done races, joined a club etc but found I prefer running on my own, when I feel like it, at my own pace & choosing my own route.

    Dont feel you have to do a race. I was told it was a great experience which I am sure it is to some, I prefer the solitude personally & a great way to unwind & blow away some stress!

  • The benefit of entering races is that if you want to, it's where you can really find your limits, having other people around you who are all raising their game raises yours. If you over take ten people in a race you really don't want those ten to take back their positions!

    I've a friend who used to weight train, he was coninced that because he's logical and in control of his thought processes that training at home was no different to training in a gym, it's all about personal will power. Until a few years later he joined one and then realised that sub conciously you are trying to not look a tit and you do go that extra mile to push a rep out, we're all basically shallow.

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