If you are anything like me, the Christmas break has meant a quadrupling of my food and alcohol intake, accompanied by many reflections on the year that has gone, discussions about what races I enjoyed, questions about whether I am actually any fitter this time around and bold predictions for the new year. As runners, this is usually accompanied by animated conversations with friends and planning around events and races that we want to sign up for.
With so many events on the running calendar these days and entry costs going through the roof, it is becoming tricky (and expensive) to decide which event is actually the right event for you. I see so many people sign up for events that they don’t really want to do and / or have little motivation to do well in.
I want you to use the power of goosebumps to avoid that!
I have just gone through this process having had a pretty great 2015, with PB’s at half marathon, marathon and half ironman distances, as well as my first ever Ironman. However, I struggled to find the right event to sign up for 2016. You know, the one event that keeps you motivated and gets you out of bed in the morning when you really don’t feel like it.
Below is a little insight into my slightly quirky, random thought process, when I eventually decided that the right event for me to sign up to was Ironman New Zealand in March 2016.
Warning - This thought process is actually pretty accurate!
Hmmmph...I’m not signed up to anything yet. I need something to aim for. Need a plan.
Google www.runningcalendar.com.au for the 15th time.
Nothing on this massive list is appealing to me. Too much choice. So expensive. Feeling slightly lost. Sulk.
Aaah….Melbourne Marathon was great. PB! Glad that monkey is off my back now.
I could just leave it until January, get fat over Christmas, then pick an event and run it off?
Really Chris, really??!
S&*t! Forgot I signed up for Two Bays Trail Run in January.
That will come round quick...
That’s really going to hurt…Why did i sign up for that again?
At least we get to carry lots of food at Two Bays. I bet Phil will have good snacks.
Could still get fat?
Nah...I actually DO want to train over summer. Lighter mornings, longer, warmer evenings and more choice of races.
Google www.runningcalendar.com.au again.
Aaaah!! Still way too much choice!
Google trail runs, races and triathlons around Melbourne.
These people are insane.
Wonder what the rest of the gang are signed up to?
Hello mates… What races are you doing next year? Fancy a weekend away?
Nah, I’m not sure that’s MY race that I’m looking for, but i’ll do it anyway. Sounds like a fun weekend away.
Well that’s now in the diary. I’m now committed. Hmm. Will deal with that later.
At least I have options, but still not feeling excited, scared or super motivated by anything in particular.
Come on Chris! What is going to be my big race? The one I train for and put time and effort into.
It needs to scare me enough to get me out of bed in the morning.
More googling needed.
Keep coming back to the same sites and events. Grrrr. Not noticing the pattern here yet.
Ooooh, now we’re talking… goosebumps!!
Message a few people. Looking for information, justification and affirmation. Any recommendations?
Ironman New Zealand?
Check with coach. Plot out what might be possible, plot out training options. More goosebumps!!!…. or is it the coffee?
Another long black please.
Getting some love for that idea. It feels right.
F#$% it, i’ll sign up today.
Wow, thats a lot of money.
Better check the bank balance.
Think it will be ok.
Fill in details online. Rising excitement, goosebumps and panic.
Just push ‘CONFIRM.'
AAAAAAHHHH!! I’m signed up!!!
Time for hyperactive tigger-style bouncing all over the house. The dog joins in.
Post on facebook. - Social commitment is important ;-)
F#$%, Kath is going to kill me….
F#$%, now I need accommodation.
F#$%, thats a lot of training.
F#$%, I also need flights.
This is going to be awesome.....
Better start a new training plan.
EEEEEK! Here we go!
So what can you take from this rather long insight into my decision making process, to help you pick the right event for your new year? Remember, I want you to avoid signing up for events that you don’t really want to do and / or have little motivation to do well in. So, in order to avoid that I want you to ask yourself these four questions when looking at your event options…
1. When do I train best? This is a timing and planning issue. If you organise an event at the end of the Melbourne winter, then your training will mostly be done in the dark and wet of winter. That’s fine if you like that kind of thing. However, for me winter = increased shiraz wine consumption. I’m definitely better in the summer. I find it easier to drag myself out of bed when it is warm and light. Just spend 5 minutes thinking this one through.
2. Will others come 'on board' for this event? If others are also signing up for the event, or will be there to support you in your training or on the day, this will help. Remember, not everyone has to approve of your goal, but if you can get some friends, colleagues or family on board, it will make things more enjoyable and easier to keep momentum. Check out this quote from Go Runner, Carleen:
“Friends have been the key to keeping me motivated – coaching provides me with the structure and accountability and friends the engagement and motivation to keep going.”
3. Who can I quiz, that knows about this event? Go ahead and quiz people. Mates, coaches or other runners who have done the event before or know about the event. Is it hilly? Oh its on trails? Err…. This will usually add a dose of reality to your decision making. If you are still convinced or even better, more convinced after getting that information, then it’s almost time to get the credit card out.
4. Finally, does this event give me goosebumps? If so, I think thats a great sign. It probably means you are stretching yourself, pushing the boundaries. Good on you! Trying these things is exciting and having those positive, exciting and sometimes scary thoughts in your mind throughout training will definitely help to keep you on track.
Got goosebumps? Sign up.
Are you ready to run? If the answer is "YES!" then sign up here for your own running coach and personalised monthly training plan to get you running stronger, longer and faster. I will get in touch straight away and we can begin working on getting your running to where you really want it to be!