I have a confession.
I can be a little competitive.
A healthy dose of competition can be a good thing, can’t it? Competition is what makes the business world turn. It’s what sports revolve around. Competition can be incredibly fun. And I’ll tell you, it can be great when you’re marathon training.
I’m not even talking about competition against other people. Good running partners are incredible, don’t get me wrong. One, they make sure you’re actually getting out there and training, even on the days you really don’t want to run. They also offer that competitive (but supportive) spirit that I find really beneficial when I’m working towards a big goal—like a marathon or an Ironman. But you can be competitive against and by yourself, too!
Here’s how the competition spirit can really up the ante in your training regimen.
5 Ways a Competitive Spirit Can Spur You to Victory
1) You grow to be goal-oriented.
When you embrace a competitive spirit as a runner, you can be more goal-oriented. You’re not just running: you’re running for something. You want to beat your best time. You want to run further. Faster. You want to increase your endurance, grow stronger, have better numbers, and meet your goals. Maybe you set date goals for yourself. You want to be running 10 miles in one session by the summer, or you want to get your time down to this or that by your next race. Goals are great!
2) You push yourself to new places.
Okay, well, you say—I can set goals without being competitive about it. It’s not a big deal. But will you actually meet your goals without a competitive spirit? That’s the big question! Embracing the inner competitive you means you start pushing yourself—and you get the pride of accomplishment when you reach your goals. You start doing things you never thought you could do. Which brings us to number three...
3) It unlocks your potential.
When I first started running, if you asked me if I saw myself doing an Ironman triathlon...I would’ve laughed in your face! Wherever you start is not going to be where you end up. You will transform. And when you allow yourself to be competitive and push for a goal—you will unlock your potential. You’ll find the best version of you in there and you will be proud. It’s a great feeling.
4) It helps you remember small wins.
A runner’s competitive spirit isn’t just about having the best time in a big race. It’s not about all of those big highs and huge marathon achievements, even though those are incredible. Competition helps you remember the small wins, too. It helps you remember and value the steps that you took getting there.
You remember every day that you beat a time, every run that was better than the last. And you know what when you had an off day, your next run will be better. You know that you can beat this thing and you won’t be defeated.
5) You start looking towards the finish line.
When runners talk about running, we make it sound easy. We also can make it look easy. But there are times when we need that second wind. We need that support, that push to make it though. Ironmans, marathons, any endurance race...sometimes they just take everything you have and it seems like even that isn’t enough!
That’s where your competitive will comes through. It reminds you that there is a finish line. And you will be crossing it today.
In those tough moments, it’s what compels you to push through despite pain, sweat, and tears. Because you’ve works hard for this moment and you won’t be defeated by it. Competition can get some of us in trouble, sure. But it’s also fuel for great achievements.
And I’m sure you see some similarities here between running and other aspects of life—and that’s no accident! I’m sneaky like that. A healthy competitive spirit isn’t just beneficial to runners. It’s good for business, too.
Wherever you are, whatever you do—embrace that part of you that strives towards victory.