A few months ago I signed up for a race. I primarily focus on longer distances, and this was just going to be a tune-up race. The idea was that the race would keep me honest in my training. It sounded like a good idea at the time.
As it so often does, life got in the way of my training. I lay my running clothes out the night before many planned morning runs, only to hit snooze and leave my clothes on the floor, unsullied. Do that two or three times a week for a few weeks and you end up toeing the line on race day feeling like a jackass. After the starting gun, I watched the runners in my normal pace group get further and further ahead of me, as I settled in at my new, slower pace.
I ended up with a respectable performance, considering my woeful lack of preparation. But I knew that if I had just run more consistently, let alone done tougher training, I would have performed exponentially better (and wouldn’t have been so freaking sore the next day).
It’s good to be periodically reminded that there are no shortcuts in running; dedication and hard work are what get you fitter and better prepared. But do I have to learn that lesson at the expense of my race times?