I often sign up for a fall running race. Fall is a great season for road races and the Minneapolis area does not lack for beautiful routes. (My favorite race) I raced every fall when running cross country in college and I went on to enjoy fall road races. Aside from seasons that I have been pregnant or had a newborn I have found at least one road race (typically a 10-miler) every fall since college.

Lesson Learned by Training for a Running Race. I almost didn't sign up for my usual fall race, until I realized what message that would send to my daughters.

Last fall is the first year that I considered not signing up for my usual 10-mile road race. Late summer was busy and I could not figure out how to get all my training in. After running competitively in college, I have a self-imposed standard. I tend to get competitive with myself when it comes to running. Because I knew that I would not be running a time I was excited about, I considered scratching my usual fall running race.

It did not take me long to realize what a terrible idea that was. What message would that send to my daughters?

If you are not going to beat your best time, don’t even bother. Your best for this season of life is not good enough. Be a quitter. Actually don’t quit…don’t even bother starting. Your health is not a priority. Don’t bother setting goals. Give up. 


Because I was focused on my time and how it would compare to other years, I almost decided against signing up. As soon as I thought of the message that it would send to my girls, I realized that fast time or not, I must set the goal to run the 10-mile race.

I want my girls to be willing to try. To persevere.

“If you will not be on top, don’t bother??” What a terrible message to send! I want my girls to be willing to try new activities. Set goals. ENJOY what they are doing! I do not want my girls to feel pressure from me that they must be THE BEST.

I want them to know that their health is important. Physical activity is important for so many reasons: overall health, stronger body, healthy heart, boost the immune system, concentration in school, confidence, a better night’s sleep, better mood, stress relief, and more.

Yes, I must admit that I also want them to enjoy running. I want them to grow up seeing their mom and dad running. My 4-year old loves to see us run a race. She will put on her running clothes and run circles in our home. I love it! I want our girls to grow up surrounded by the awesome community that running provides. No pressure that cross-country and track is the only way to go, though. ;)

I ran the race last fall and enjoyed it. It was a fun race and beautiful route. To think that I almost missed out on the most beautiful time to run! I was happy with my place, but not excited about my time. I realized that my final time is not the only thing that matters. I still get the health and stress relief benefits of running. I get the opportunity to enjoy doing something I love. I have the chance to introduce my daughters to running and the importance of physical activity. I can show them that they should try and persevere, but do not need to be at the top.

What lesson have you learned from running or any other athletic event?

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15 comments on “Lesson Learned by Training for a Running Race”

  1. I just started training for a 5K. I am a hiker/walker, and really HATED–and I do mean HATED running. But I found an app on my phone that would apparently get me trained for a 5K in 8 weeks, so I tried it-I’m on week 4, running more than I’m walking, and I actually look forward to it every morning (running in the dark-not so much). The cool part is that when I start thinking I just can’t get that last 4 minutes in, that’s when I start praying for all the people on my list who can’t run, are not motivated to exercise or lose weight, are tuck, or sick. Thanks for sharing. Visiting from Coffee for Your Heart.

  2. Many lessons have been learned while I’m running/training/planning for a race. Don’t you just love it when God takes the ordinary and teaches us something extraordinary about ourselves! Thanks for linking on Raising Homemakers.

  3. I have come to love running and try to sign up for a few races throughout the year. I have one coming up this weekend. I have been kind of frustrated that my pace is nor what it was last year. Some unexpected things happened that kept me from preparing as I would have liked. I really want to do my best when I race. I am very competitive and try to place in my age group. What you said is so true though we should persevere and try to do our best we don’t have to be at the top. I have learned so much about pushing myself through running and finding supernatural strength in God. Its easy to forget that he is not pleased with the strength in our legs but our hearts!

  4. I ran my first 10 mile race last Spring and it felt great! It was a life changer – teaching me not to box myself in to any particular “label”. I used to think that “I was not a runner” but training for and completing the race showed me that I can do more than I think – in all areas of my life. It showed me to reach for interesting goals that are “scary” to me. Now I regularly run 2 miles a couple days a week to just keep in shape. Visiting from #smallvictoriessunday

  5. I have never been a runner, but this sentiment is wonderful! So many times I want to give up on things because I can’t do them perfectly. I really love the saying that Flylady uses all the time…progress, not perfection. And you are right, the little ones are watching us much more carefully than we think they are.

  6. I love running! There are so so many benefits from it (especially stress relief for me). Can’t wait for nicer fall weather to run in again. Way to go on your race!

  7. I love the way you have involved your girls and how you let the impact on them influence your actions.

    As I sit here with my foot in the air, recovering from Achilles reconstruction surgery, I’m sad that I am missing the fall running season this year, but praying to be back at it next year!

      • Yea, I really wish I had known exactly how NOT fun they are before I taped up with KT tape and ran did the Glass Slipper Challenge at Disney World. 19.3 miles in two days on a sore Achilles was not the best idea I have ever had! LOL!

  8. I really do love this post! I am not in love with running, but I like the feeling of accomplishment. Inspiring my kiddos to push forward when things get hard is a lesson I hope to share with them. As I get older I have learned how running can center you. I’ve run 4 1/2 marathons and I’m hoping one day to work to a full. This was a great post & I love how you are inspiring your girls…awesome! Coming over from Small Victories Sunday Linkup….thank you for linking up with us! ;)

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