Wednesday 24 November 2021

Events into 2022 - start your motivation

Us, standing around waiting for events...

If there's one way to make sure that you don't sit about and do nothing - it's having something to look forwards to. Like Kayke.

Granted in this recent topsy turvey world of covid - planning ahead has been the carrot that used to keep us going - and then the fishing stick of hope was thrown behind the donkey cart and turned to mush. [Ed: Don't call the Prime Minister a Donkey. Me: Why not ?]

So - is it worth entering races in 2022 now in order to get yourself through the winter training days  ? - the lure of head torches and reflective jackets put to one side for a moment. In short - yes.

It is possible to manage your expectations and goals setting to have options if the actual race day is pulled from under your feet. Metaphorically - put some supporting goals in place, and set good goals, and reduce risk.

Set a Goal. This isn't actually a goal, it's a finish arch, but it sort of looks like a goal, and the finish line is a goal too. So it is a goal. Sort of.

Setting good goals. Just say them right.
This is to set continuous goals that always exist - "get fitter" is a considerably better goal than "get fit". Anyone can move forwards on the first one - the second way of saying it brings in a whole load of metrics and decisions on what is "fit" ? "Get fitter" just means do something / anything that moves you in the right direction of fitness improvement.

Always consider the opposite too. Get fat, as opposed to get fatter. Which is the easier goal to execute an immediate plan against ? I opt for biscuits immediately on the latter, but would have to think long and hard about the former and start to procrastinate.

The difference between this is that one is a continuous goal, the other is a finite measurable goal. And if things are finite - it's easier to stop. And consider the finish line of a race - you don't just stop at it - the winners always run through it. So it should also be with your goals - they should be designed to keep you moving in the chosen direction !

Much like washing regularly, getting fitness into your routine delivers health benefits

Make things a habit
yeah yeah yeah, you know this - habits breed habits, like make tuesdays, thursdays and a weekend day an exercise day. and then it's easy to keep to a routine. Routines are easy if you're in a routine. It takes 2 weeks to build a routine apparently. Its taken me a lifetime, but what do I know Mr Covey ?

Put an appointment in your calendar to do it, and make it non-negotiable with yourself to do it. Apart from anything else - it will make you get other things done to make space for yourself.

Don't just enter one race
Enter a few, space them out. The biggest downer after a single race is that you don't have one booked in the future to keep the goal going. If you finish a race with another one in a few or three months time - then you can reframe how you've just done as a step onto the next race.

Planning ahead can be an uphill task, but you always get the benefit of the downhill bit afterwards

De-Risk your entry fee
Pay with a credit card,
don't enter through a third-party middleman entry - always from the actual events website (otherwise the third party takes 20% which the event organiser could really do with instead), and
check the small sprint on the refunds.

If you're ok with deferred or alternative races - pick a race organiser with other events you'd be happy to run in too, or confident they will be doing it next year too.

The more ahead of time / in advance you enter - the more likely the event is going to take place (apart from pandemic related things) - because the critical number of entries is passed sooner to make it economic to run the event. If you wait to enter last minute - it might be called off before you get the chance to. If you're trying to offset the risk of non-refund policies or deferments by doing this - then you need to accept that the races might not be there when you wanted to enter them. Support the good races and they will support you.

you can always done a parkrun too - if you like to keep your planning minimal - or of course - give volunteering a go - they *always* need people. In fact - *all* races need volunteers. Always step up - it is surprisingly good fun.

Enter local races organised by local running clubs
Sussex is incredibly gifted with the wonderful Sussex Fun Run league, as well as the winter cross country League. (question - why isn't there a summer cross country season?).

interesting fact - you don't have to be a running club member to enter the XC races - but you won't win the team prize if you're not...

Try Cross Country - (XC) - it might make you feel younger ?!

What events to enter ?
Obviously (and I would say this wouldn't I?) enter races we are working at. We've been around on the running scene since 2004 working at events, but have been around and about since 1995 involved in the local athletics and clubs in the sussex area. We know races come and go, and we know what type of events stick, and what type don't. Because our jobs are relying on them - it's probably as equally seriously as you putting your entries in. We have an archive online of 25million images - fully searchable - take a look - don't accept a race has free photos if it's just a few hundred photos put online for you to scroll through and find yourself - that's not a service - and you shouldn't get short changed.

We take a long look at value for money for participants and overall packages. Event organisers who do the same are the sort that want you to have free race photos and "get it". I'm a runner too remember.

Chris Rees - Race Director of the Southampton Marathon - yes - he gets it !

Here's a little list of 2022 races we will see you at to kick start your plans ?

1. Enter your local XC leagues
2. Consider some parkrun

Have a look at these beauties - and we will hope to see you there:

Date Event Event Website
Sun-20/02/2022 Hampton Court Half Marathon
Sat-26/02/2022 National XC Champs
Sun-06/03/2022 Steyning Stinger
Sun-06/03/2022 Cambridge Half Marathon
Sun-20/03/2022 Brentwood Half

and here's a few event organisers to keep an eye on and their browse their 2022 plans:

And on that note, time for a lunchtime run in the cold autumn sun whilst I can, because I've just heard a friend from school died from multiple heart attacks at the weekend, and, well, that's far far too young, and I don't want to sit down and contemplate that right now. Extra hugs for the family tonight.

Until next time