Yesterday I signed up for my 4th Ultra race event, the Herdy's Frontyard Ultra. My first last man standing ultra. In this type of event runners complete a 6.7km lap every hour on the hour until there is only one runner left. Elite runners at these events can push up towards the 50 hours mark and beyond. That's cooked! My goal, should things go to plan, is to hit 15 laps (hours) to nail my first 100km run. My longest so far was the Margaret River ultra at 80kms.
Signing up to an event can be scary, daunting but most of all exciting! It gets me excited to come up with a plan, to train, to implement new and old things that I enjoy and get satisfaction from.
Now, everyone has their own levels, for some it might be a novice powerlifting competition, it might be a 5km fun run, a triathlon, It doesn't really matter as long as it's something that is going to push you physically and mentally into a new space. That's growth.
Here are a few reasons why signing up for an event can be a great decision.
Setting a specific and achievable goal:
Having a specific event to work towards can provide a clear and measurable goal to strive for. This can be incredibly motivating and can help to keep you focused on your training. Make sure you break down your goal into smaller, achievable chunks to make the training process less daunting. For me personally I take it week by week tracking my total distance, total time and pace.
Once the decision is made to enter an event, you should view it as if it's already done. You've commited and now you have to keep yourself accountable to the training process so you are prepared on the day.
That said "being prepared" is overrated! Too many people use the excuse that they need to get stronger/fitter/better before they enter an event. That's a cop out, just enter, train hard and figure it out. If we all waited until we were ready, we'd never get anything done. You'll learn plenty either way.
Sense of fulfillment: Finally, knocking out your first "fitness whatever" and successfully completing your training can be incredibly fulfilling. When I finish my first Ultra Marathon I have never felt such a sense of achievement. Not only will you have improved your physical fitness, but you'll also have accomplished a challenging goal that you set for yourself. This can provide a sense of pride and accomplishment that can boost aspects of your mental health as well as your confidence and self-esteem.
So whatever it is that you've been thinking about, book it in! You will not regret it. Get excited, make that plan, get stuck into the training process, maybe even hire a coach ;)