Over the weekend I participated in my first race, the Bay to Breakers 12K. Since the celebrations surrounding the 100-year-old race make it one of my favorite days in San Francisco, I was beyond excited to make the race my first competitive running experience.
I was a little nervous about whether or not I'd get winded on the race's infamous hill (an 11.15 percent grade incline that runs for five blocks and brings runners 215 feet above sea level), but between the energy of the crowd walking and running the race as well as the spectators on the street (both turned the course into a sea of costumes, cheers, and dancing), the atmosphere kept me motivated and my attention off the incline or thinking about how much longer I had to go. Add to that the ease of the course — after the hill, it's mostly flat or slightly downhill — and the beautiful Golden Gate Park scenery, and by the time I finished I was more exhilarated than tired.
That characteristic post-race high also left me ready to do it all again soon. Are you also a fan of racing? Check out my suggestions for turning that racer's high into a motivational tool for your workouts after the break.
- Sign up for another race. With that finisher's feeling still fresh in your mind, find another race that you can start to train for again. Bay to Breakers was yesterday, but I'm already thinking about signing up for a half marathon!
- Set a longer goal or faster time. Finished a 5K and ready for something more? Try a 10K next time, or sign up for a marathon if you've completed a half. Once you find one that works for your training schedule, you'll have yet another accomplishment to look forward to crossing off your list. If you're OK keeping with your current distance, try pacing yourself to run a faster mile in the next race.
- Find a new fitness hobby. Training for a race can turn the most casual runner into a running fanatic once they've crossed the finish line, so use that mentality to expand your fitness horizon to try a new sport or exercise hobby — you may find out that you love it just as much.
- Add a bit of race to your workouts. Rev up your runs with high-intensity intervals by imagining you are sprinting to the finish line or challenge your workout buddy to a friendly competition on the treadmill. You'll be burning more calories, beating boredom, and reliving your race experience all at the same time!
How do you use a post-race high to motivate you?