This weekend, I’m approaching a race that’s completely new to me and I’m so excited! But sometimes there is great comfort in running the same races year after year. Which do you prefer?
It’s Tuesdays on the Run with Erika, Patty, and Marcia! I’m really excited about this week’s topic – we’re talking about whether you like to run the same race year after year or if you prefer to be one-and-done. Check out what all the other bloggers will be posting on this and other running-related topics!
I’m also sharing with Jill Conyers for Living a Life of Health and Happiness!
Repeating Races – Where Do You Stand?
The great thing about running is that we have SO many options for races these days and there’s something for everyone:
- Big city races with huge crowds and lots of support
- Smaller local races with a real community feel
- Trail runs where you can get lost
- Overnight relays and ultras where you can run all the miles
- Foam, color, and mud runs for the unconventional
Because of the variety we have available to us, it almost seems silly to do the same event more than once. And if you have the luxury to travel to races, the options seem limitless! There are so many cities I would love to visit and run a race (hello Chicago and San Francisco!)
But at the same time, there’s nothing like rolling out of bed and knowing exactly what you need to do for a race that you’ve run year after year. You’re extremely comfortable and most likely have fewer pre-race jitters. You know where the bottlenecks are. Your friends and family are always there to run with you or cheer you on.
So which do you prefer: running certain races every single year, or mixing it up as much as possible? There are definite pros and cons for both sides of the coin. I have to say that when it comes to personal preference, “it depends”!
Team “One and Done” Racing
Over the years, there are so many races that I have only run once. In 2015, I was determined to run as much of a variety of races as possible which really kept things exciting. For example, I ran my first virtual race and the Tough Mudder!
Here are some of the perks of the one-and-done approach to racing:
- You’re not as focused on expectations. If you run a certain race every year, you can’t help but say things like “but last year, we had…” The great thing about running new races on a regular basis is that you don’t have those biases. You can take things as they are and embrace the novelty.
- You won’t get bored. I loved running the Rock N Roll DC half marathon this year because it was exciting for me to run in “new” neighborhoods in DC, as the course really takes you all over the city! I was able to be in the moment because I didn’t know what to expect at each turn.
- You learn your strengths and weaknesses on different types of courses. The greater variety of races you run, the more you develop your preferences. I’ve learned that I like races that have less than 10,000 runners and that I’m not a big fan of out and back courses.
- You’re opening yourself to new favorites. I’m so glad that I signed up for the Cherry Blossom Run last year to try something new. Ironically, now I think it may become an annual tradition for my boyfriend and me! If you’re always running the same race on the same weekend each year, you could really be missing out on another race that is even better!
Team “Annual Tradition” Racing
At the same time, there are a few races that I have run multiple times. I’ve run the Broad Street Run 3 times now, I’ve done the Fight for Air Stair Climb 6 times, and I’ve participated in the Run for Clean Air every year since 2012. In 2013, I had to walk instead of run because I was wearing a boot!
There are so many benefits to running the same race year after year:
- You know the race logistics. As long as the event is consistent each year, logistics are a piece of cake. You know where to park, where to pick up your bib, and how to track your race. And most of all, you know the course! Talk about peace of mind!
- You can focus on running your best race. Repeat races are the perfect events to choose to shoot for a PR. You’ve already performed in the race so you know your strengths and weaknesses. And instead of admiring the scenery, you can really keep your head in the game. That’s definitely something that I did with this year’s Run for Clean Air when I was able to get my first 5K PR in almost 4 years!
- You get to see the same people. If you run a certain event as a team, it’s so much fun to come back together and participate in a race. It’s a great bonding experience. It’s also fun when you see the familiar faces of strangers and can give each other a thumbs up.
- You can see your progress year after year. Running the Broad Street Run for the first time in 4 years was really interesting. It was amazing to PR but even better, I felt like such a smarter and stronger runner than I was when I first started out. Yay for growth! On the other hand, if you find you’re doing worse at a race each year, you can try to figure out why.
What do you prefer – running the same race year after year or switching it up? Or do you like to do both?