Yesterday I opened up a discussion with my friends about why some of them haven't done a race or competition of some sort. Before I get started I wanted to say that there is absolutely nothing wrong with not wanting to race or compete. It doesn't matter what your reason for not wanting to do them is, you are perfectly fine as is and I'm not going to tell you that your life is incomplete because you don't race or compete. This blog is for those who have thought about it, would like to, yet have not taken a step towards it.
The top reasons listed for why my friends have not done a race or competition are:
I understand the struggles of money, scheduling, and availability. I'm a single mom and it's tough to find the funds for everything. It's tough to get away from my kids to make it to these things. Sometimes it's tough to get the training in. The things I would like to do aren't really available in my area. To a degree all of these things are out of our hands. I do make some sacrifices to be able to afford them. I also rely on sitters or family to watch the boys while I race or compete.
As far as training goes, there are a few concerns with completing training and avoiding injury. Many of us have chronic issues that cause training problems. I have knee problems, my hips cause issues from time to time, my elbows get flare ups and I manage to hurt myself fairly often. My best advice to overcome this is to start training far enough out that you don't feel rushed and you have flexibility in case something happens.
Finally, we reach the number one reason why people don't sign up for races and competitions: Confidence. I'm going to share a few tricks to help with confidence.
5k, 10k, Half marathon, Full marathon, Triathlon
When you sign up for a distance or endurance race the chances are you will not win, even for your age group. You may walk. You may walk all of it. You won't be the only one. You may finish far behind small children and people almost three times your age. You aren't there to beat them, you are there to complete it and set a time to beat during your next one. Find a fun run like the color runs or costume races or one for a charity. More people join those simply to get active. If the thought of standing around alone before and after the race terrify you, invite a friend and plan on walking it.
Obstacle Course Races
Once again, you probably are not going to finish at the head of the pack. These types of races are a personal challenge and meant to be fun. There is a team of veterans that do these races together. Most of them are missing limbs and they come together to help each other over obstacles. Invite a friend or two and set out to simply complete the race (even if you have to walk around an obstacle or two). People will walk the entire thing and skip multiple obstacles. Do your best and come back the next year determined to do just a little bit better. Above all they are meant to be fun!
"If you wait until you are 'strong enough' you will never compete." I'm not saying to compete a couple of months after you start lifting, but if you've been lifting for a few years and you want to compete just do it. Almost nobody sets a state, national or world record their first year. There are people who have been competing for 10+ years that don't hold a record. Pick a small local meet and set out to hit a PR because that's what powerlifting meets are all about. Afraid of failing a lift? One of my friends failed all three attempts at bench at Olympia. Most lifters fail at least one lift at a meet. You're supposed to pick a third attempt that scares you slightly. If you don't fail a lift you may be left wondering if you could have done 5, 10, 20 pounds more.
As a binge eater I didn't think this would be possible. Having a trainer or a coach for accountability makes a huge difference. Not everyone is cut out to do this, but you can work towards one and decide it isn't for you. The keys to success? Don't set an ultimate deadline, give yourself plenty of time, realize that it's okay to struggle with it because it's not easy. I wish I could give more help on this, but bodybuilding is one of the few competitions where you need either the confidence or the burning desire.
I may have left a few out, but these were the main ones that come to mind. Most of us who have raced or competed in something went in terrified. Even if you grew up watching others do them or have friends who do them it's a different story when you are the one putting in the effort. Even if you aren't ready to tackle something like these today remember that the time will pass anyway, so you might as well start training for something you would like to do today. No matter how good or bad you do, you'll be proud that you set a goal to race or compete and you accomplished it!
Posted on 12/17/2014 by usmcmp