Keep the fun in racing
Updated: Feb 14, 2020
As you reflect on your 2018 racing results do you find yourself feeling discouraged, feeling like you didn’t perform well enough? Up until two years ago, as I reflected on the past seasons’ performances, I had similar thoughts. Maybe I could have performed better, or I could have trained more. If I only worked harder, or had that new piece of equipment, the results would have been different. I let my training sessions and race results define me.
Then, 24 months ago, just before a big race, I asked myself, why do I do this? It was then that I realized it was for fun, for my health and the amazing friends. I was setting a good example for the people around me and pushing my body beyond where I thought it could go.
It was about me, not who I was racing “against."
As I reflect on 2018, I can say I accomplished a lot and I had a blast. It started in February with three amazing friends at the Tokyo Marathon and ended in October at the XTERRA World Championship, with great friends and family surrounding me, covered in mud, and with a giant smile on my face.
How did I do this, and how can you keep it fun too?
These are four things you can do.
First, objectively look at your life. Do you want to spend more time with family, have a big project at work this year, or have a hectic travel schedule? How will your athletic endeavors fit in? Maybe it’s the year to focus stepping up to an IRONMAN or on qualifying for the IRONMAN World Championship. Or, maybe it’s a year to race locally and be home for your family, work or other hobbies.
Second, look at where you are from a fitness standpoint. Again, objectively. Have you gained some weight, taken a few years off, did you have a big 2018 and you are still recovering? This will help get you in the right frame of mind to make changes.
Third, talk to your family and be sure everyone is aligned. Discuss things like training time, financial situations and vacation expectations.
Finally, have an open, honest discussion with your coach. Be sure you are on the same page with training time, macro race goals and all the other commitments in your life.
For 2019, I removed the pressure, and promised myself I would have fun and embrace whatever each race brought. After 10 years of endurance racing, I think I finally found what racing means to me. It is about the journey with friends and family, pushing my body to its limits. It’s about learning new things and meeting new people. It’s about making memories.
What does racing mean to YOU?
Don’t let your training or racing results define you. Always strive to do your best, but enjoy the journey.