Racing My Way to Fitness

One of the most common comments I receive is:

“Hollie you race a lot”

When I am healthy I like to race a lot. I like to race as much as possible because it builds up my speed. I don’t enter every race with the expectation that it will be a PR or even close. 

In fact, last week it was a personal worst.

Did I still enjoy myself even though I ran a PW? Yes…did I log a much slower time? Yes…

So why do I race so frequently? Why do I choose to go to a race nearly every weekend?

First, I believe adding extra races to my schedule allows me to get in workouts I know I wouldn’t otherwise. I know I would not do tempos by myself. I would just do a long easy paced run and call it a day. My speed motivation comes from racing.  That is on a personal level.

delaware race

Second, I like to race because I feel a sense of community. I feel like I belong to something bigger and better. That might sound cliché but I have no problem donating 30 dollars to a local race to raise money for a charity or school club. In New Jersey there is a 5k most weekends. They are often times associated with a fundraising event.

veterans haven 5k group

Third, racing is fun. Running a workout by yourself while dry heaving does not appeal to me personally. It appeals to a lot of people but not me. I would rather dry heave with people spectating and race photo proof.

So fun!
So fun!

Fourth, the actual ability to race every weekend. Many people are able to race a half marathon or full marathon distance every weekend. I am not one of those people. I will get injured.  With proper rest and recovery, I am able to race 5ks every weekend. My body bounces back and I enjoy doing them!  I’m in awe of the marathon maniacs and their ability run back to marathons.  I like that I’m able to settle on a 5k distance and bounce back.

trails 5k

Finally: Seeing Progression!

This summer I can see how I have progressed in the 5k distance. I can visibly tell I’m making progress and hopefully it continues that way!

May 5k PR: 20:15

June 5k PR: 19:40

July 5k PR: 19:15

August 5k PR: ?!?!?!?!

So it’s easy to see the progression since the summer started. Like anyone I’ve had set backs such as last week. I’ve also raced other distances. Oddly enough I have raced a lot of 5 milers this summer!

In summary, I enjoy racing frequently. It’s something I’m able to integrate into my training. It is helping me to become faster, stronger and I’m staying (knock on wood) injury free.  My running is also the happiest it has been in two years.

Do I associate just racing with running happiness?  No, of course not but it definitely plays a role in my running.

One of my last races

Questions for you:

How often do you race?

Do you like racing?


  1. I think it’s awesome that you race often! I’m sure it’s a good way to keep from getting bored and also so you always have a goal to look forward to! The sense of community part of it makes sense too 🙂 Keep on racin!

  2. You need race targets. Otherwise the training is a real slog. I race to be social, it’s exciting, I race quicker than I train. Plus t shirts, medals & food. Great blog

  3. That’s great that your PR is improving every month! Really impressive. I love to race as well and I think I could do 5ks pretty much every weekend. Unfortunately I’m not fast like you so it would get expensive very quickly for me! If I could race for free or get a top place and some $$ I would be there all the time! If it works for you, I see no reason to slow down or stop racing.

    1. I pay for about 90% of the 5ks I do and I’ve only won prize money once! It’s a hobby I enjoy doing and for me money well worth spent!

  4. I love racing. if I could race a half marathon every weekend, I TOTALLY would. I just can’t afford it!! I tried to do it a couple years ago, and I ended up spending close to $1300 on races. no can do!

  5. In high school and college, I slogged away on the treadmill and had no idea of the community of running. It wasn’t until blogging I realized I could run while donating to charity. I only ran two races before I was injured 🙁 🙁 🙁 I’m more of a trotter but racing still makes me feel good because it’s going to a cause! Why not?

  6. Hi Hollie,

    I really love your attitude. I woke up on Saturday and it was gorgeous out so I went for an easy 6 mile run. I drove down to Cape Cod where my parents live and there is a 5 mile road race that I do each year. I knew my legs would be a bit tired but they were not sore and I LOVE the atmosphere of that race. So I thought, what the heck? I got some speed work in AND had a great time. No PR but I had fun and got to run in beautiful weather. Win-win 🙂 I don’t know that I LOVE racing but I do enjoy testing the speed a little bit while surrounded by like-minded people.

    1. oh – and this”
      Third, racing is fun. Running a workout by yourself while dry heaving does not appeal to me personally. It appeals to a lot of people but not me. I would rather dry heave with people spectating and race photo proof.” was HILARIOUS.

    2. Your support is always awesome Amanda. I do really enjoy that we have such similar mentalities.

  7. I think it’s awesome! And I can definitely see your reasoning behind it. I have yet to enter my first race (nervous!), but I’m betting I’ll become addicted once I do. I love anything that doesn’t feel like a workout, especially when it involves meeting other likeminded people.

  8. I enjoy racing too. If I was around more on the weekends I would definitely do them more often. It’s a great way to get in speed work and track your progress! I actually really like the way you approach speed training. It’s more interesting in a race!

  9. … plus that racing experience plays a huge role during your goal races! Being able to draw on those outings and know that you’ve been through similar situations (mentally and physically) does wonders for confidence. That’s where I fell short this weekend–the mental side of racing. But I’m excited to get back out there!

  10. Wow awesome PR progression!! That’s really impressive. I’m trying to break 24:00 this year – something I haven’t done since high school! I love racing but sometimes I get a little too stressed out and put too much pressure on myself. I feel like as I become a more confident runner I will start taking the pressure off!

  11. I agree with every one of these points! Unless I need to relieve stress, I almost always train slow miles and I’m not motivated to sustain race pace on my own. I don’t think I would want to race a half marathon every weekend but my body bounces back fairly easily from the 5K distance, so that I can race them every weekend if I feel like it. I hope we get to race again soon!

  12. I love your approach and I so wish I had more 5Ks around here so I could get my speed work in that way instead of by myself at the track or on the treadmill. I loved seeing your speed progress and maybe you will break 19 in August!! Go Hollie Go!

  13. I’ve been taking the “racing as training” approach this season and like it. It usually works best if you stick to shorter stuff because, like you say, you don’t need as much recovery time. It’s also nice because if you have a bad race day, oh well, next race day is in two weeks.

    1. Exactly, there are plenty of 5ks in the sea of races. Who doesn’t like to race 20 times in one summer?

  14. I love to race but I love longer distances so I don’t race as often as I’d like. I’ve been trying out shorted distances just for the speed component.

    Your 5K PRs are amazing. I think my last 5K was around 21:00.

    1. Thank you! I hope I’ll be able to reach my 5k PR at some point. I do think that 5ks are awesome for speed workouts!

  15. Awesome times! You have a good pace for your 5K’s! I have my 5th Half Marathon on Sept 12th. Running is a very important part of my life and helps keep me sane! Happy Running!

Comments are closed.