Terrific Tuesday!! Terrific Coach Tip Tuesday!!
As we sweep right on into October, we enter into that time of year where things are cooling down, both literally (in the Northern Hemisphere, anyway) and figuratively on the training/racing front. We’re heading into a timeframe that is PERFECT for reconnecting back with some of the things that we like BESIDES training and racing (apple picking and pie baking: I’m looking at you). It’s also a time where we start to wonder that ever-persistent question: “What’s next??”
I’ve talked before about how it’s important to take time to reflect on what you did over the course of a season, how your goals races went, and what you might want to do next. A lot of folks will impulsively pull the trigger on an idea simply because it’s the first idea that pops into their heads and they want to have *something* to work towards again. I always caution against this impulse, instead recommending that athletes really take the time to let an idea or goal “marinate” before they commit to it.
All of this leads me to this week’s tip: Don’t sign up for a race as soon as it opens just because you want the best price on it.
The reason for those low, early bird prices is valid, from the race directing side of things. Race directors LOVE to plan. Numbers help them forecast what they can do for their events. If a major surge of registrations came in the day before an event, race directors would be in a tizzy trying to make sure that they can accommodate everyone. So, I can get behind wanting folks to register early. I’m just not convinced it needs to be ONE YEAR early. Or even six months early.
SO many things happen in the course of one year. You can have the absolute best of intentions or the most organized, laid-out plans, and life can just slap you upside the head. Or, you might just decide that other goals are more fun!! Another race might pop up that you want to do more than the one you originally *thought* you wanted to do. For these reasons, I recommend that athletes begin to prepare and train for goals, but that they hold off on committing registration fees until they are sure they will be able to participate in the event. You *can* train for something without actually being registered for it the entire time that you're training. :)
In my humble opinion, it is better to pay a little bit more to know you absolutely can (and more important, want to) do a race than it is to lose an entire race registration fee because you can’t do it. That security is worth the price increase and that security is worth you paying a little more money. The one exception that I *might* make for this is for races that sell out immediately. But even then, I always advise proceeding with caution.
I’ve personally registered for two events one year in advance because I knew they’d sell out in the first day (they did). I wasn’t able to race in either of those events. I sustained injuries en route to both of those races that made it impossible for me to race. And there went hundreds of dollars down the drain. So, in addition to dealing with my disappointment over my injuries, I had to deal with the disappointment of losing a bunch of money as well. That is NOT a fun combination, my friends. And I would like to spare you from it. I’ve watched this happen time and time again to my friends and fellow athletes, as well. So it’s not only my own disappointment and frustration that I’ve witnessed.
Patience is a virtue, my friends. Wait until you’re reasonably sure that you will be able to get your money’s worth and that the goal you’ve set for yourself is the goal that you’re most passionate about. You’ll be MUCH happier for it in the end, I promise. :)