We call it racing when you’re in a race. That big day when you get to toe the line, bib on the singlet, and when thousands of people come out and support these crazy individuals that have dedicated hundreds of miles and days on end to running. However, what are we really racing?
Two weeks back, I did a race where I blew up on the course and ran 15 minutes off of my “A” goal. I did finish 9th overall and 2nd in my age group. That is great and all, but in all honesty that is just a matter of luck when it comes to who shows up and makes up the field. I mean don’t get me wrong I won’t turn down the extra bling and the opportunity to be part of the “podium”, but placing is a matter just being faster than who happened to show up that day.
At the end of the day or race, runners aren’t ever really racing the field unless you are an elite and fighting for prize money or a gold medal, rather runners are racing the clock. I like to compare running to golf, the opponents in these two sports don’t ever actually beat you, but the course does. Every one along side you is actually more of a motivator or unofficial team members during the event. Think about how pace groups work, you run with a pack to sometimes keep you steady on a pace or to help fight the elements (such as wind) together.
If the average runner (non-elite runners) is always “racing” to beat other runners, will you ever have a chance of winning? I say no. However, if your goals are specific to you individually or to running a qualifying standard you have a chance of winning that race.
Do you agree that for 99% of runners, you are never actually “racing” other runners?