While you can improve your running without signing up to run a race, most fitness gurus will tell you that you’ll get better at running if you have a fixed goal in mind – a race date. Once you have committed to running a certain race and paid the entrance fee, all systems are go in your mind – you have a vested interest in being prepared to run on race day and everything from now until that day will focus on training up for it. The reasons why this action improves your running are three-fold:
Having a goal:
By having a goal – prepared to run mentally and physically by the race date – you now have something to work toward. And it fits all of the requirements of a goal. It is realistic, attainable and measurable. By selecting your training date far enough in advance of your race date, it is realistic you will have time to train for this race. If you are properly prepared on race day, it is possible for you to attain the results you seek. And those results might not be coming in first. It might be just finishing the race, if this is your first one. It is yours to decide. And it is measurable. Either you finish the race or you don’t.
Committing to that goal:
Once you have signed up for a particular race and paid your money, now you have a commitment not only to yourself, but to race organizers and others who you tell about your upcoming event. To not run (for no good reason), would not only let yourself down, but everyone else that is supporting you.
Having a plan:
So now you have the goal and commitment. All that is left is properly training for the event so that you can be in the best shape on race day. And that is where your training plan comes in.
If you have selected the proper plan and have given yourself enough time to train, it will incrementally ramp up and improve your running during your training period so that you are the best prepared to run with the least risk for injury. However, if you do get injured or experience a setback of some sort, just get back on track and keep training.
The reasons stated why signing up for a race improves running is more about being mentally challenged and prepared, along with physically. With that set end date, commitment and plan in place, the body will follow what the mind wants it to do.