Saturday, March 16, 2013

As the Racing Season Begins, Consider This

Racing and competition can be a healthy endeavor or it can be a frustrating and discouraging experience. It all depends how how you approach it. A preoccupation with how you place in comparison to others and winning age-group awards can be one way of setting yourself up for disappointment.Consider this excerpt from an article published in Racing Techniques many decades ago.Allow me to quickly say that it does not promote the "everyone is a winner" mentality because everyone is not a winner in a footrace.It suggests taking a different view of competition.
"You never need to lose a race.And you never need to keep anyone else from winning,because everyone can win. The way to win all the time is to concern yourself mostly with yourself.This is the one factor you can control.Let other people worry about themselves.They are uncontrollable as far as you are concerned.Thinking this way,any runner can maximize himself without reducing anyone's elses chance to do the same.Two nice features about running makes this possible.
1.It has objective standards.Times offer a measure of success and a comparison that transcends the immediate competitive setting.
2. Races are personal. The longer ones particularly are more a struggle with the man inside than the men outside.
Competitive times give every runner meaningful and personal standards.He doesn't have to beat anyone to reach them;only to control himself.No matter how many other runners finish before him,he has won if he has met his own standards."
A few thoughts on the above:
Anyone who has run a marathon or longer recognizes the truth contained in statement #2.It is so true.
Too many people with limited conditioning,training and/or experience take an unrealistic and unhealthy approach to racing.The above view of competition would be a better route to go until a runner begins to demonstrate that he can race with the front runners.
An unhealthy attitude towards racing has killed more runner's love for distance running than anything else.And that's truly a shame!

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