Training and racing don’t happen in isolation. In this excerpt from Racing Wisely, I explain how your race choice can affect your loved ones. Consider them as you choose a race.
The who of your personal best extends beyond you personally. Even if you live, train, and move through the course alone, you don’t race alone. From the race director to the volunteers on the course that day to the other racers, you share your experience with others, and for the bulk of your training, you are able to work out because of the support of other people. This support crew includes the running-store staff, lifeguards who open the pool early in the morning, bike technicians. It includes your teammates or your training partners, waiting out on the street at 5:30 a.m. to meet you for a workout. It includes the people who make the music or podcasts that you enjoy as you train, or who clear the trails you run alone in silence. It includes your coworkers, who wrap up meetings on time and who brew a second pot of coffee after lunch, knowing you could use the pick-me-up. It especially includes those in close personal relationships with you: your roommates, your partner, your parents, your children. You aren’t doing this alone, and it will go much more smoothly when you have the full support of your network.
As you target your event and build a training plan geared toward a great race, be sure to consider all the people in your life whose support is important along the way. Have a frank discussion with your spouse or partner about the amount of training you’ll need to do; the amount of support you’ll need, from time on the weekends to child care, grocery shopping, cooking, and dishes; and the voluminous amount of laundry heavy training can generate. Also discuss any travel you’re planning for training and to the race itself. Think about timing relative to your work or academic calendar, and how your dedication to training will affect any colleagues working on projects with you. When we remember and honor the important relationships in our lives, we can choose races that will allow us to receive the support we need as we prepare and race.
If you are planning to train and race with a partner or a group, spend some time thinking through what this means. Traveling with your spouse or a group of girlfriends to an out-of-town race will require a different set of intentions and goals than seeking your own personal best in a race you do solo. Even at this early planning stage, it is wise to have a candid discussion with your training and racing partners about how you envision the training cycle and race day playing out. If something goes amiss—a training partner gets injured, a racing buddy is having a stellar day—are you going to split up and continue on your own? Being clear on what you want will save you from potential discord during training and at the race.
Download a customizable race planning questionnaire at racingwisely.com.