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Run Your Own Race


Cap-10K-race-numberThis blog post title has a double meaning, its intentional and important.  First, I’m highly encouraging you to find an organized event, any event, train for it and complete it this year.  If you’ve never done this before, you’ll be absolutely amazed by the experience. From the camaraderie you’ll find with your fellow fitness enthusiasts during the training to the intense and spectacular feeling of accomplishment you’ll have at the finish line. I’ve coached and encouraged many people off the couch and across the finish line. I’ve never heard, not once, “I really wish I hadn’t done that!” A stark contrast to comments often heard after a night out drinking.  

The second meaning of the title relates to the actual completion of the event. Unless you are an elite athlete, whether professionally or in your age group, don’t plan to compete with anyone on the course. You should only focus on completing the course. There will be someone, and most likely, many someones that are significantly faster than you. Don’t let that concern you. You aren’t out there to win the event, you are out there to complete the event. Hence, Run Your Own Race. For some of us Type A personalities this is a hard one to accept. However, the sooner you accept this the happier you’ll be with every training session and every event in which you participate. 

kayak-raceSo what event should you do? Your options are almost limitless. If you’ve been in Austin for any length of time you already know that the roads seem shut down more often than they’re open for the hundreds of running, cycling and other events that happen here every year. Find something that is reasonable based on your current physical condition as well as your training time available until the event. For example, if you’ve never run a step in your life, its probably not the best idea to sign up for and run the 3M half marathon next weekend on Jan 19.  As it was so wisely stated on Southpark, “You’re gonna have a bad time!” There are tons of free resources online for many training plans for all kinds of different events to give you a better idea of the timeline you’ll need to train for various types of events.  

There is simply no way I can even begin to list all of the various organized events in and around Austin for 2014. While I haven’t actually counted I wouldn’t at all be surprised if there were well over 300 events from which you can pick each year. If you’re looking for shorter running events focused on just having fun, there’s the Karaoke 5K on April 26 and many different color runs at the same 5k distance. For a long list of running events around Austin you can check here If triathlons happen to be your thing or something you’d like to try (no pun intended), the guys at High Five Events put on a fantastic race and their events are listed at If swimming is your thing, a number of options are listed here Want to try out kayak or canoe racing, you can learn more here 

In order to stay motivated and keep training there are a number of things you can do. If you don’t want to spend the money on joining an official training organization you can join any of the 1000s of MeetUp groups here in Austin. They are large and small, very active and not-so-active, very specific and general in nature. Its best to contact the coordinator(s) of any individual Meetup group to determine if its going to meet your goals. Another thing you can do is to attend the many expos that generally surround the larger events and are typically free. For example, the Austin Marathon Marketplace is at the Palmer Events Center Feb 14 and 15, is free and will have around 100 exhibitors showing off all manner of products and services. Go to these expos to get tips, meet your fellow fitness enthusiasts and take advantage of the give aways from the exhibitors. Finally, go to the events that interest you to check them out. You will experience the race fever while cheering on the participants. Having completed 100s of events over the years I can tell you from personal experience that having spectators cheering you on is an incredible boost to participant's morale. 

finishers-medalsAnd when you get hooked on completing all these incredibly fun events in Austin your next problem is going to be figuring out what to do with all those finishers medals. That’s a good problem to have. I’ll see you at the starting line.