Racing versus Training

I don’t consider myself a runner quite yet, but my entrance into the sport has probably been the same as many of us amateurs.  It all started with a walk, and a race.

In October of 2008 as a community service event for my college Food Science Club I participated in the Triangle Autism Awareness Run/Walk (The Autism Ribbon Run).  I had walked 3 miles in an hour on a treadmill and was curious to see if I could do the same out in the real world.  I entered the 5K (as opposed to the 1 mile Fun Run) and off we went.  I accomplished both my goals, A. I finished the race and B. I did so in less than an hour (57 minutes).  The classmates I was with (who were all runners and finished in around 27 minutes) were waiting for me at the finish line cheering me on.  The exhilaration of crossing the finish line, the cheering crowds, the music, food and atmosphere and the genuine appreciation of the charity we were supporting was awesome.  I had to do this again! And so I did.  October of 2009 saw me back in Raleigh to walk the Autism Run again, finishing with a time of 58 minutes.

Since October of last year I’ve lost 55 pounds, I have walked a lot and even started to jog some.  2 weeks ago I did another charity walk, the Lillie’s Friends 5K for Neural Blastoma.  I walked to the halfway point water station (which included a gruesome uphill climb) but I was able to jog all the way down that long downhill stretch.  I got to the 3 mile marker and started jogging to the finish and what did I see? 48 minutes on the clock, I couldn’t believe it.  I finished with a time of 49:24, shaving almost 10 minutes off my time.  If I wasn’t hooked already I was now.

The results from this race inspired me to start a training program and so I began the Couch to 5K program from Cool Running .  After finishing the first week and beginning the second week (which for me is a repeat of Week 1) I have come to a quick conclusion.  Racing is fun. Training is not.  I know I need to do the training to achieve my first short term goal with is to run (or jog) the entire distance of a 5K.  In my tiny little neighborhood (literally 1 loop around is less than a mile) it’s very frustrating to walk by your own house 4 times and be seriously tempted to make that the last lap.  It really feels like I have to slog it out, even though I never seem to have that problem come race day.

I’m nowhere near quitting, but I’m curious.. what’s your motivation? What keeps you going? A faster time? The next day of your training program? A good result from your last race? Looking forward to the next race? Just the love of running? What gets you to put one foot in front of the other and what tips can you give for a beginning runner?

For me, it’s certainly the good result from my last race, and also looking forward to my next one on May 15th.


1 Comment

  1. I think for me its a combination of several of the things you mentioned. Of course I’d always like faster times, but sometimes its just about that “high” you get after a good run. Sometimes I envision myself crossing the finish line in my first marathon while I’m running and that gives me inspiration. Other times its just a total escape and a chance for me to be alone with my thoughts. There are so many different reasons to run.

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  • About Me

    I am a recent graduate in Food Science (NC State, 2009) and I work for a major food manufacturing company. I love food, but I can no longer eat anything that crosses my path. About 24 months ago I begin a serious struggle to get my obesity under control and reduce my chances of developing Type II diabetes. Since September of '09 I have lost 50 pounds and I still have a long ways to go. I've started eating better and exercising more, including taking up running.