It’s the time of year to commit to a fall goal race. As you consider your options, here’s some advice from my latest book, Racing Wisely.
Racing at your personal best is different from setting a personal record (PR), although the two can certainly happen simultaneously. When you race at your best, you finish satisfied that you did the utmost you could on that day, on that course, on the training you banked. You will not always be able to run your personal record, especially as you age. But when you race wisely, every race can be a personal victory. In a personal best race, you predetermine the major challenges that you can control, take steps to mitigate them, and execute your plan with grace and efficiency. More importantly, you maintain a positive attitude toward the things you can’t control, using them as an opportunity for resilience, endurance, and happiness in the face of shifting circumstances.
In this way, racing wisely and achieving your personal best means being practical, applying your energy where it’s most needed to reach the goals you want, and philosophical, adjusting your attitude about the things you can’t control by remembering your intention. Learning to race wisely means developing tools for meeting every situation with the appropriate energy, and this extends far beyond racing. It applies to dealing with traffic, with medical diagnoses, with job offers, with any demand on your energy. It applies to dealing with all aspects of your life.
As you set out to learn about yourself through racing, it’s important to reflect on what you already know about yourself. Self-reflection helps you choose the right race for your personal strengths, which is critical for your success. Are you an introvert who wants or needs to maintain internal focus during the race? Are you an extrovert who feeds off the support of the crowd? Do you thrive on the repetition of a flat beach course or on the changing scenery and shifting challenge of mountainous terrain?
As you consider what race to sign up for, or which of several races to target as your major goal—the A-priority race, the one where you’re racing for your personal best—you’ll need to think through what, who, where, when, and why. Then the how becomes clear. Ask yourself these questions.
Find a downloadable, customizable version of this race planning questionnaire at racingwisely.com. In upcoming posts, we’ll investigate these questions in depth.
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