Eventually, as you get into running, you may either get bored of just training and training or your training partner or group begins talking about a local race.  It could be a 5K and sometimes longer.  It is at this point that you can make that fateful decision:  “To Race or Not to Race….That is the Question”


Unless you are unnaturally gifted, the first time you decide to race you probably will not win the race.  Furthermore, you will also probably not win a medal.  But, you will probably also not come in last.  Either way, why even do it?

On the drums…

A friend of mine is an excellent drummer.  He practices often at home.  He is in a rock band that plays about once a month, he substitutes in a second rock band and he also helps a jazz band out.  He also takes lessons.  There was a time when all his bands were on hiatus and he just practiced and practiced.  He told me that he was eager to play a gig – any gig.  I asked him why and he said to me, “Imagine you are running and running but never running a race.  That is how I feel – I know all these songs but can’t test myself to see how I sound live with a band at a gig.”

You vs You…

So that’s why I tell people to try a race.  It’s not for the medals – it is a measure of self-assessment, a measure of your dedication and perseverance.  Plus, your first race at any distance is always a PR (personal record)!  Your new-found energy from running is put to the test.  You get to see how you stack up against other runners.  You learn from your mistakes – going out too fast or slow, not eating right, etc.  You touch upon your limits….isn’t that part of why you started in the first place?

Find a race….and try it out…you have nothing to lose….

Happy Running

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Nickolas Joannidis
Nickolas Joannidis
I have been running for over 35 years, having done practically every possible racing event or distance from the 100 meters through the marathon. I competed in varsity high school cross country and track at Saddle Brook High School in the mid-1980's, varsity cross country and track at Division II Pace University and finished well over 200 road races since then, including 20 marathons with a lifetime best of 3:14:50. I was the president of the Hoffmann LaRoche corporate running team for 7 years, growing the team from 25 to over 90 during his tenure. I coached many of these runners to achieve their goals, whether they were beginners or advanced. In 2011 I was an assistant coach for the Fair Lawn Recreation track team, helping the 10 to 14 year old group. I am currently personally coaching dozens of runners, from beginner levels to advanced levels and getting them to be prepared to meet their goals.

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