I love racing. I love the energy you get from racing – the atmosphere, the adrenaline, and the goal that keeps you motivated through tough training workouts. This year I even have a goal to do one race (or event) every month — that’s at least 12 races in 2016!
But there are times when you SHOULD scale back and reevaluate your race schedule.
4 Reasons You Should Race Less
Prefer a video format? Scroll to the bottom to my video on this topic.
1. You’re plagued by recurring injuries.
Have you been struggling with injuries. As soon as you recover from one injury, something else happens and you end up injured again. This might be your body telling you it needs a break! You may not be getting enough recovery from your workouts or your training load may be higher than you can handle right now. Listen to this signal and dial back your training and racing. Let things fully heal before you build back up slowly.
2. You are chasing a big PR!
If you are chasing a big PR, especially one you have been chasing for a while, it might be time to trim your race schedule. When racing less frequently, you can focus more on the workouts and mileage that is targeted to your A race. Make sure you prioritize your races & strategically choose when you should taper and when you should train through lower priority races.
3. Are you on the end of overtraining?
Are you feeling overly tired and having a hard time getting motivated for all your workouts? Are you dragging through days and are getting sick more often? Are you fighting more injuries than normal? These are all signs of overtraining and if you catch it early, it won’t pull you out of the game for as long. Dial back your race schedule and take a break, if needed.
Another factor to consider is what’s going on in your life. Are you going through a high stress time in life? Overall stress is a compounding effect on top of training stress, which can lead to overtraining (or at least burnout). Remember that running is supposed to be stress release – not added stress!
4. Where’s the Fun?
Running is fun, until it’s not. I’ve gone through phases throughout my years of training where it’s just not fun anymore. The thought of running brings on a sense of dread, instead of a sense of joy.
When this happens, it’s time to do something about it and get out of the slump. In this case, maybe you could adjust your race schedule to include more Fun Runs, as opposed to races with target time goals. This can be a great way to remind yourself of what you love about the sport.
You may also try more “naked runs” and just enjoying the movement, versus focusing on a strict training plan. Not every run is fun, but when every workout is miserable — you need to change your routine!
Watch the Video
Check out more on this topic in my Periscope broadcast from December.