Incorporating a race into your running plan can bring a number of benefits, both physically and mentally. You can train for your 'A' race for months on end without turning up to another event but we'll cover the reasons why running a 'training race' is valuable and how to work it into your training too.
Increased motivation and sense of accomplishment
Incorporating a race within your training plan can give you a clear objective to work towards, which can help keep you motivated to stick to your running plan. It can break up your training nicely. Knowing that you have a specific event coming up can give you a sense of purpose; helping you to keep you accountable and stick to following your plan. Finishing a race, whether it's your first 5K or your tenth marathon, is a huge accomplishment. Crossing the finish line can give you a sense of pride and self-satisfaction. This can help boost your motivation for your end goal.
Variety in training
Incorporating a race within your training is a great way to add variety and therefore keep you training interesting and fun. Many races are held in a festive, social atmosphere, and many runners enjoy the camaraderie of racing alongside other participants. This can be a great way to meet new people and make friends with other runners.
Racing allows you to measure your progress and see how well you are adapting to your training plan. This will provide a great opportunity to review your training and assess whether anything needs to be adapted. It can highlight areas of improvement.
Opportunity to test out kit / fuelling strategy
You will have the opportunity to see what works well for you when it comes to what kit to wear and whether you would like to have a snack mid way round. This is entirely personal preference and it is a good opportunity to see what works well for you before your final race. Again, this will help to prepare you and increase your confidence ahead of an 'A' race.
Pacing is a difficult skill to master and so incorporating a race can provide you with great experience. It can be very easy to get carried away and set off too fast in a race scenario and so practising this is beneficial. Another easy mistake is holding back too much and consequently having energy to give at the end and so not reaching your potential. You should have a race plan and a rough idea of what your race splits should be and see if you can stick to this. We're here to help with this if you need. Incorporating a race within your training plan can really help to push yourself and consequently improve your fitness; ultimately helping to achieve that end goal.
How to incorporate a race within your training
It's important to take into consideration the duration, distance and difficulty of the race you would like to incorporate; ensuring that you have enough time to prepare for it without compromising on the rest of your training block which could consequently lead to injury or burnout. It's also important to make sure that the race fits well into your overall training plan and doesn't conflict with other important workouts or races. The type of race you should incorporate into your plan is very dependent on your end goal. for example, completing a half marathon race is beneficial to do at least 1 month before a full marathon. We recommend you complete this instead of your long run rather than in addition to. If you need further advice on this, please reach us via the support tab and we'll be happy to help you from there.
In conclusion, running a race during plan can bring a number of benefits. Best of luck with your training!