What does it mean to train for a race?


I hear people say that they train for a marathon, or a half, or 5k.  I started thinking yesterday… what does that really mean?  Do they train to finish it?  Or do they train to improve their speed?  If you train to improve your speed, obviously you’re planning on finishing the run 😀  If you are training to finish the run (marathon, 1/2, etc.), like me :), then does speed really matter?

As I have mentioned before, I used to run 15-20 km 4 times a week… up a mountain…. I’ve never been afraid of hills, mud, rain, snow… Then I slowed down significantly in prep for having kids (I had to, following doctor’s orders) and then for 2 years when I had my 2 kids, I almost stopped completely.  I mean I stopped running.  I was still walking a lot and I mean miles and miles of walking.  But the running part definitely took its toll.  Now that I am going back to it and I go on longer runs, I have time to think LOL  That’s one of the perks of running… you actually get to hear your thoughts.  Five years ago, I would have been training for speed.  I had the endurance part covered.  I mean I could run Burnaby Mountain all the way from Burnaby, over the mountain, to Port Moody and back without even thinking twice.  Ironically, back then I wasn’t very interested in participating in marathons or any races.  I did the Vancouver Sun Run once and that was it.  I running for pleasure and it felt great.

But now my endurance (and joints and muscles) is so different that I need to build it back up.  So having just signed up for a 10k, Seek the Peak – 16k from elevation 0 to top of Grouse Mountain – 4100-foot climb, and for a half marathon this year alone, my goal is actually to just finish these races. 😀  I would be very happy if I actually completed all of them to the finish line 😀  Is that so much to ask?! 😀

How about you?  What is your running goal? 🙂

PS.  I went for a beautiful trail run last night to Crystal Falls in Coquitlam, 5 min from my place, and it was amazing!  I love trail running and I wish I could bring the stroller on some of these trails.  My kids would love the mud 😀

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20 responses to “What does it mean to train for a race?

  1. I love your photos, what a stunning area! 🙂
    Good luck with your training and races! Lol, you sound like a natural so finishing won’t be a problem. 😉 I ran my first ever 10km recently and I loved it! I found that magical zone where it felt like I could have run forever and being able to finish strong and happy was way more enjoyable than pushing myself for time and basically crawling (miserably) across the finish line. I’m confident that my speed will improve over time.
    Please let us know how your training and runs go! 🙂

    • Thank you so much!
      And CONGRATS on your first 10k!!!! Way to go! 😀 I love your attitude. I am also in favour of finishing tired but energized with a smile on my face, than counting the seconds until finish only to drop down exhausted and miserable. As I said, I’d be super happy to actually cross the finish line and know that I’ve given my best but also enjoyed it. Speed isn’t important at all. 🙂 I will be posting updates as I go. And please do share your experience too. I’d love to hear more about your running as well.

  2. You’re running in a lovely place! I’m on a start-to-run program and the goal is 5km. I enjoy running in nature so much, it empties my head. And personally I don’t care at all about the speed. It’s so energizing.

  3. I have been running for a few years now but only do 10 km. I am considering a half but so far I have not taken the plunge. I know in my mind I need to only worry about finishing and running for the pleasure and scenery but then I get training and I can’t get my time out of my mind. That’s a challenge I have yet to overcome but as I age I think it will happen naturally.

    • 10k is my favourite distance. And I know what you mean about the time. I still look to see how long it took me to run a certain distance. In my mind, though, I am never trying to beat that time. I never say to myself that next time I’ll be faster. I just take a note of it and that’s about it 🙂

  4. I am running my first 10k next Sunday. Really, I just want to finish at least one before last. I know I can finish that distance as I’ve run it plenty of times before, but I am a slow one, not easy to be fast with big butt and short legs 😀 I just hope people are still around when I cross the finish line! 😀

    • That’s fantastic!! Way to go! Have fun! 😀 The most important thing is that you have fun. Just enjoy and finish with a smile on your face 🙂
      I really want to hear how it goes. Do let me know! 🙂

  5. I can’t wait to get back to running. I am not fast, or actually that good at it, but love to run. A torn hamstring has sidelined me for months as it heals. Almost ready tho!!! Love the pics 🙂

    • Thank you 🙂
      Ah injuries… Make sure you are fully recovered. It’s very important. And I know how it feels to be mentally ready but physically… not so much. Take it slowly and allow your body to recover. Then you’ll be able to make up for all the time on the sidelines 🙂
      Btw there’s no such thing as being good at running. If you run, you’re already good at it 😉 Attitude is what matters and you’ve got what it takes 😉

  6. I can totally relate to this. I have stopped running and built back up multiple times. Right now (being pregnant) is a non-running time, and I’m looking forward to “training” again, to getting my running fitness back. I’m planning on doing more trail running and focusing less on speed after the baby is born. So I feel ya on that front too. Look forward to hearing about all these races you have coming up!

    • Thanks, Laura! It means a lot to hear it from a fellow runner. Sometimes I feel like I’m falling way behind with my training and I’m not doing my best to prepare. But that’s life 🙂 And to be honest, I wouldn’t change it 😉 I’ll definitely post some updates.
      Good luck with the baby 🙂 When are you due?

  7. I think feeling like you’re falling behind or not training enough is just part of training. If you felt like you were doing enough it would probably mean you were overdoing it and about to injure yourself. Ha! Thanks for the luck! Due late May.

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