Why do YOU race?


Some runners never race at all. Runners who do race, though, race for all sorts of different reasons. Your reasons for racing may change over the years, too. I do think it’s important to revisit your why. What is it about racing that motivates you? Why do YOU get out there to race?

Fairytales and Fitness

Ironically, at the moment, I am not racing much. Even though I did a lot of races in 2018, my racing year didn’t even really start until July. It had been almost 8 months since my last half at that point; sometimes life (and Winter!) get in the way.

No big goal race plans, but still running. Consistency will help me be able to race when the time is right!

You can run without racing
Let’s face it, racing is hard. If it’s not hard, then you’re not racing. It’s hard on the body, too, especially when you run a lot of races with little recovery time.You can run without racing– heck, running is hard too; we all know that!

Running will always challenge you:

  • Making time for runs
  • Bad weather
  • Those days when your legs feel encased in molasses
  • Those days when it just doesn’t feel very good

When you’re running without racing it’s a lot easier to tell yourself: “I don’t need to run today; tomorrow will be better weather”. Or “There’s no reason to push myself if I’m not training for a race”.

Maybe you do push yourself even if you never race. Maybe that helps you stay sane. Or maybe you just love running fast. There is no right or wrong when it comes to running, there is only what is right or wrong for you.

Exploring the US . . . on the run & one state at a time

Why do I race?
Like most people, there are many reasons why I race:

  • To challenge myself
  • To improve (which doesn’t necessarily mean a better finish time)
  • To run in new places
  • To work towards a goal
  • To chase that runner’s high
  • To push myself and see what I’m really capable of
  • To earn cool swag
  • To enjoy time with my running friends (sometimes)

When I began to race, I knew very few runners. I raced by myself. Some days I still race by myself. Is it more fun with friends? Sure! The reasons I race keep me racing whether or not my friends are with me.

I showed you mine . . .
. . . now you show me yours: your reasons to race. Drop me a comment and let me know why you race!

Do you like to race by yourself or with friends?

What is your number one reason to race? 

Do you push yourself even if you’re not training for a race? 

22 thoughts on “Why do YOU race?

  1. I like to race to enjoy the atmosphere of the event and to spend one day in a different way: sport+visit of the city+good local food. The swag could be an incentive but it is not so important.
    I always push myself even if I am not well trained because around here the races are not crowded, the runners are very competitive and I don’t want to be the last.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have heard that European runners are very fast & competitive. I’m pretty darn sure I would be last if I ever entered a small race in Europe, because I am definitely slow. But I’m moving & I finish & that’s what’s important to me!


  2. Wow, that’s a great question, Judy. For the first 15 years I ran I did not race. Then, once I started racing, I loved it and never stopped. I race partly for the social aspect of it. I have met some amazing people at races and we have remained in touch over the years, plus traveling to races with friends is always fun. I guess I race also for the challenge and adventure. I love trying new races and I love pushing myself to do my best.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow, 15 years without racing! When I started to run, I swore I would never race — not fast, doesn’t come naturally to me, I didn’t know any other runners. But within about a year of running I signed up for my first 5k — that same race I’ve been mentoring for (it’s next weekend).

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I race by myself mostly–about 4-5 races/year, although my 3 kids and husband have joined in a race once in a while. They aren’t regular runners/racers so it’s hard to justify spending all that money for all of us to do them, plus I would have to get them up and out the door–ugh. I will sometimes run into coworkers at local races, but other times I don’t even know anyone else there. I race for the challenge, to compete against myself, to give me something to train for, and to keep my running life interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m not that keen on racing, I don’t like the adrenaline rush and the stress and the worry about having spent all that money and then getting injured. I’m racing more this year than I think I ever had, and it’s basically I’m doing an ultra because I’ve done marathons and that’s the next thing (or one of them) and I get a medal and my photo taken at the running club awards night if I bag a new distance and this is the only one left! So that’s in the diary, then I booked this weekend’s marathon because I know how to train for a marathon and I knew if I booked one in, I’d get to 26 miles before the ultra which is good for its training, whereas I’d have undermined myself training for that otherwise. And then I booked a 10 mile trail race in June because the ultra is on trails. But I think no more for now.

    I am fortunate to be able to motivate myself OK to just run, and enjoy the freedom of that more. I really loved my year of just running last year and want to go back to that. Apart from applying for London Marathon every year or keeping at the same speed and getting a good for age at 70, I’m not sure I’ll race again!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I too am self disciplined & will run race/no race. But I actually like the adrenaline rush of a race!

      My $$ are on you racing again, though. 🙂 But as long as running is bringing you joy it’s all good I say!

      Different folks, different reasons.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Read Laurie’s answer. Mine is exactly the same.

    I personally don’t push myself when I run. I don;t ever wear a watch. So it’s not hard.

    Lately, I haven’t been pushing myself in a race…What a difference in the training and the recovery. Loving it.

    But racing does not have to be hard. If you don’t have a goal on beating your time or going for a PR, it can be fun and social. The hard part is not trying to be fast… we all say that but rarely mean it LOL

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I guess by nature I like to push myself and I’m also a bit competitive. A bit. :p I miss that aspect of racing, but I can’t continue to run at that level anymore. So I have to find a way to still run and enjoy races without racing. I’m looking at that right now.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I think you are still competitive. You win Ag awards. Speed is relative. I hope you do continue to race and enjoy it even when your tines are not as fast as you’d like.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. It is a hard question about how to enjoy a race without racing. Darlene apparently has some thoughts about that. 🙂

        I do think it’s natural for our goals and reasons to change, though, for whatever reason. Knowing why you do something, though, is always the key to enjoying it more.


    2. For some of us racing can still be hard. Whether you’re pushing yourself or not — it definitely comes easier to some people.

      I still say that if it isn’t hard, you’re not racing. You may be running a race, but you’re not racing. Which is just fine — everyone has their own reasons.


  6. The majority of my races aren’t considered “races” in my mind. I love the community and the challenge of going the distance, but I seldom ever toe a start line with a specific pace or finish time in mind because I know so much of my performance is dependent on the circumstances (weather, crowds, walkers, GI issues, etc.). Of course, I love those days when all the stars, moons and planets align and everything goes right (who doesn’t?). I have done enough races, though, to know those “perfect” experiences on the race course aren’t going to happen every time. And I’m quite alright with that. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree that you truly never know what race day will hand you. But I often have a time/pace in mind (usually the pace, and not so much the finish time). I like to have a plan.

      I’m not usually overly attached to that finish time — which I think is the key — but having it helps me to push myself.


  7. You really got me thinking here Judy! Such a simple question “why do you race”. If you asked me 2 years ago I would have had much different answers. Now, I really dont know anymore. Back then I raced because I liked to travel and it was more of an experience and of course the awesome accomplishment. These days my racecations have been put on hiatus and I have just found joy running smaller races closer to home to just have the comradery of family and friends. For me it seems like after running so many races, it has become less important to me. But I really want to get back to feeling excited about racing like I use to.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good! That’s the purpose of the post — to make people think!

      I think it’s really natural for our goals from racing to change as our lives change.

      I do hope you get back to being excited about racing, but I know that right now life is hard. Caring for a sick, elderly furkid is never easy. Most people don’t really get it, but I do. Hugs!


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