This is the first blog piece that I’ve done for NoblePro (..and also in my life) so thought I’d write about something that I absolutely love doing within running. Taking part in races!
Before I continue, I have to point out that I don’t run at a highly competitive level. I’m a 37-year-old dad who works in IT, loves running and enjoys a race or two.
Why I race
There are several reasons why I enjoy taking part in races. I always feel that you up your game when in a race environment and it’s a great opportunity to push yourself a little further or harder than you normally would. I find that some races are a great way to get out and explore new places, and step outside of your comfort zone.
On a personal level (as odd as it may sound), I love collecting the medals. For me, each medal that I earn shows that I’m taking one step further away from my previous (unhealthy) lifestyle and heading in a better direction with my life.
What I love about races
You just can’t beat those race day vibes. It’s super wholesome to see people of all abilities and from different backgrounds coming together and heading in the same direction (towards the finish line!). You get a real sense of community. My family will come out to the local races so, it’s always great to see them along the course or at the finish line cheering.
I love the sense of achievement I feel when I cross the finish line knowing that I got myself there.
What is a good result?
A good result, for me personally, is being able to cross the finish line with a smile. I don’t run competitively, and I’ve not been chasing any PBs this year so, there’s been no ‘pressure’ to perform.
If I find out I’ve ended up finishing within the top 10% then that’s a very nice little bonus!
The main focus this year has been ultra-running. I’m still finding my way, so I’ve not been focused on times or positions. If I cross the finish line and I’m still smiling, then to me it says that I’m still in good spirit and that’s always the best result.
There have been a few…
The Isle of Wight challenge was amazing. It was my first 100km and I ran it for charity. The whole thing was such a humbling experience. This includes the lead up with all the kind donations that people were making and the actual race itself. It was the furthest that I’ve ever run, and I was on my own for most of it so, it was mentally as well as, physically challenging. There was an overwhelming sense of achievement I felt when I crossed the finishing line.
London Marathon was incredible. I’ve run ultras before, but this was my first ever ‘official’ marathon even, it just so happened to be one of the world’s most iconic races. I was incredibly lucky to get a ballot place. It was just the biggest and best vibe EVER!! The crowd played a huge part in this. The energy they created, and the atmosphere was something I’ve never experienced before. 26.2 miles of just pure energy!
Relish Running: Bath 2 Tunnels series. I completed the 5k & 10k series this year and it’s been an extra special one as I did all four 5k races whilst pushing my son in the buggy. So, it was great to be able to share that with him and make those memories.
Using races as training
I find that doing some low-key races form a great part of training when working towards ‘a big race’. Aside from keeping you sharp and on your toes, they’re a great way to push your effort and practice new aspects such as, fuelling or pacing, within the safety of a race environment.
When training for the Isle of Wight challenge (my first 100km Ultra) I did a handful of smaller trail races (10k up to 50km) with the sole aim of practicing a variety of things ranging from nutrition, hill climbing techniques, getting the kit dialled in and running with a full backpack. I knew that if anything went wrong or didn’t work then at least I’m not out there on my own for 100km! I learned a lot during this phase of preparation, and it helped me get ready for the 100km challenge both physically and mentally. The two 50k races I did as preparation, I focused on training my mind and working on my mental resilience throughout.
Nothing this year! I’ve finished with the racing for this year (2023) now but I did run 19 races in total! I ended up with a pretty tidy medal haul, and a load of great memories.
There’ll be another few ultras as well a handful of other distances I’ll be entering next year, but the big one for me is the Ultra Trail Snowdonia (UTS) 50k. I’m really looking forward to getting my head down during winter and training for it. I’ve got a few workouts set up on the Kinni app so, I’ll be getting some decent miles in on the NoblePro treadmill over the coming months.
For me, taking part in races plays a big part in my running journey. I’ve learned so much, not just about running but about also myself and what my body can do. I’ve really enjoyed racing this year and can’t wait to see what 2023 has in store.
Thanks for having a read.