I'm someone who rarely watches. You can usually bet that if I'm at a race I'll nine times out of ten be partaking. Two weeks ago at the first summer track series event sponsored by Palmetto Running Company was a prime example. I had been working all day (on my feet training clients), had hit a tough couplet WOD designed by yours truly and I road my bike to the HHI High School Track. The game plan was originally to support Nahuel (one of my star athletes) and the Bluffton cross country team, but it seemed I just couldn't sit this one out.
Being around the community and seeing the other runners gearing up made it tough for me to hold back, I had to jump in. I'm glad I did because running in that atmosphere with so many great runners even in a fatigued state allowed me the opportunity to rattle off my fastest mile and 800 meter splits that I've ever hit in my short running career.
"Racing" for workouts is something every athlete should be doing. Same if you're a CrossFit competitor because its an atmosphere that elicits a completely different response. Added push. My example above isn't great because it was entirely unplanned, but having planned races looked at as workouts is critical...
Allows you to work at a high intensity - Doug Katona drilled this message at this past weekend's CFE Seminar. The fact is you simply work harder with others in the ring with you. The level of push and training response is something entirely different. Training only on your own is difficult (I understand this because most of my workouts are on my own). When you train with similar level athletes you push further than you would go by yourself. Plain and simple. I think our CrossFit Endurance Team is a great example of this comraderie.
It's "A" Race Practice - Planning in a few races should be viewed as "Testers" for the greater goal. How are you going to know how you feel and perform on race day is you don't test? I race so much in the summer months its sickening. I'm sure people get sick of all my FaceBook and Twitter updates. By doing a race every other weekend, I know I'll be prepared for the make or break one. Racing for workouts allows you the opportunity to understand your feelings mentally and how your gut will react physically.
Intelligent Fun - Timed tests serve as benchmarks so you can measure your progress. The biggest reason I race for workouts is that it's so much fun. I'm compettive. Humans are made that way. However, its more competition against myself. I think its fair to say when your passionate about something you always want to see if you can be better. I'd probably race every weekend if I could. Dean Karnazes? Man, I wish I had thought to run 50marathons in 50days. The fact of the matter is that I can still have fun at these races and get a ton of data from them.
Start racing for your workouts, it won't only allow you to work at a higher intensity, but you'll gain confidence before that next "A" Race and still have enough fun that it doesn't interfere with your longer term goals. Achieving a PR comes down to confidence. It comes down to believing you can do it and taking the necessary steps to get there. Working hard, practicing and finding intelligent fun within your training will lead to success.
Where you'll find our team and my personal scheduled racing in the coming months. Muncie is closing in I can't believe it...
6/27 PRC Summer Track Series - 1mile/800m - Bluffton, SC
6/29 Beach Bum Triathlon - Sprint - Hilton Head Island, SC
7/10 PRC Summer Track Series - 1mile/800m - Hilton Head, SC
7/13 Ironman Muncie - 70.3 Half Iron - Muncie, IN *A EVENT
7/18 PRC Summer Track Series - 1mile/800m - Bluffton, SC
7/28 Charleston Sprint Triathlon Series - Race #4 - Charleston, SC
8/11 Charleston Sprint Triathlon Series - Race #5 - Charleston, SC
8/17 Bobcat Scorcher - 5K Run - Bluffton, SC
8/31 Run for RET - 5K Run - Hilton Head Island, SC *CFHH Endurance Event
9/6 Blue Ridge Relay - 206mile Team Relay - VA and Asheville, NC *CFHH Endurance Event
9/29 The Dam Tri - International - Lexington, SC
10/13 REV 3 Anderson - 70.3 Half Iron -