It’s the time of year that people start making resolutions to do things different in the coming year. We all know that quite frequently those resolutions have to do with our health. Some people want to lose weight, some gain muscle, and some just change unhealthy habits. I hope that if you are reading this sight your resolution may include something to do with running and/or walking.
Usually making the decision to make a change is the easy part. We all want to improve our health. The problem isn’t the desire, but the motivation to follow through. If you are like me and have a competitive nature you can use that to keep your motivation. I have been extremely competitive with myself over the last year. I want to make runs faster than before, run more miles than the previous month or any other number of things that my mind creates to judge if I am better than I was. This competitive spirit is what has lead to my weight loss.
I also like competing against other people so races are fun for me. When I did the Mill Race Half Marathon in Indiana I took off from my running partner at mile four and never looked back. Each mile was getting faster than the previous and I passed person after person. I would just pick a person out ahead of me and start chasing. I didn’t pass everyone I picked, but I was extremely happy at the end because after that 4 mile point I don’t believe a single person passed me. My competitive nature pushed me through and I loved it.
I understand that races can be intimidating for some people. I can assure you that there are people at any race you would enter that are doing their first race and some that probably haven’t trained more than once. If you are able to get up and walk you are able to pick a race and compete. If the idea of getting out there with the crowds really freaks you out though I have another option.
It’s possible to judge your times against other people times on the known routes. If you have a Garmin running watch their Garmin Connect website has a thing called Segments. This takes small sections of routes and records your time and post it against everyone else that has run that same “segment”. If you have your privacy set to private no-one else can see your time, but if you have it shared then you get posted on the Segment board of anyone that looks at it.
I have had my watch for a while but never played around much with the Connect website. With a little extra time off this week I got to do just that. I started looking at the segments and realized that I had ran quite a few. Some from the Iron Horse, some at the Legacy Trail and I even created one at White Hall and another in Quail West.
Some of my segments are ranked pretty good and some aren’t, but it gives me an idea of how I am doing compared to other runners. Therefore I can fuel my competitive spirit without actually having to compete head to head. This is perfect for people that are intimidated by races. Garmin Connect isn’t the only place to do this type of ranking. I have heard of others and did a quick search but couldn’t fine them.
It all boils down to this…if you are competitive use it to your advantage. Being competitive will help you meet your goals. Just don’t become obsessive about what your doing. Once you cross that line you can actually do your body more harm than good.