Don't let a race entry fee dictate your self-assessed value
And here we are. It’s a great day for Coach Tip Tuesday!!
Raise your hand if you’ve ever suddenly become paranoid about injuring yourself once you commit money to a race.
Here’s my next question for you: Why does it take a financial investment for you to value your body, treat it well, and try to prevent it from being injured??
In my humble opinion, it should not take a race entry fee for you to self-assess what value you place on your health and wellness. Your health and wellness do not directly correlate with the sticker price that a race director places on their event.
Over the years, I have seen this phenomenon again and again. If people are not signed up for races, they don’t care as much if they are doing things that can lead to injury. But as soon as they drop $75 on a half marathon, $200 on a marathon, $300 on a 70.3-distance triathlon, or $800 on a 140.6-distance triathlon, they become PARANOID about getting injured. And while I’m certainly thankful that *something* has made them self-aware and made them want to reduce their chance of injury, it’s not the ideal catalyst for this change.
The fact of the matter is this: all of those values that I listed are certainly a decent amount of money this very moment, but in the grand scheme of your entire life, they are actually pennies. You are worth more than these pennies. Your body is a marvelous, capable, strong, resilient (but fragile) machine. It is worth taking care of for your ENTIRE life, not just the 4-12 months in which you are preparing for a goal race.
Once upon a time, I was this person. I learned my lesson the hard way. Despite all of my best efforts (or so I thought at the time), I sustained a race-ending injury four weeks out from what was to be my first IRONMAN. But the truth is this: if I had been doing all of the right things ALL the time for a longer period of time prior to submitting my $800 payment for that IRONMAN, I likely wouldn’t have sustained that injury. I would have been strong and well-equipped to take on the challenge of that IRONMAN and all the training that came with it. Instead, I wasn’t, I crammed all of my “safety” behaviors into a short period of time, and my body broke down on me. Since then, I have adopted a much more holistic view of my participation in endurance sports, and I haven’t sustained a major injury since. I realized that my body is worth more than $800. (Heck, just Vader Arm is worth $200,000, but that’s a different story for a different day. ;) )
Consistency over time counts for much more than any other single thing you can do in endurance sports; taking care of yourself, exercising caution, and doing things to prevent injury do not deviate from this truth of endurance sports. Do the things that will keep you healthy, strong, and safe. Eat nutritious food. Get good (and enough) sleep. Rest on your rest days. Stretch. Strength train. Don’t do too much too soon. Plan your goals wisely. Accept that your brain may want more than your body is currently capable of achieving, and have the patience to train your body so it can catch up with your brain. :)
Do not let a race’s entry price dictate the value of your body. Value your body and its well-being ALL the time, take care of it, and it will take care of YOU as you pursue any and all goals you come up with. :)