Great Things I’ve Learned From Competing In Races As An Older Age-Grouper


Hi folks,

Competing in races can pull you along in the excitement, just don't take yourself too seriously.

Competing in races can pull you along in the excitement; just don't take yourself too seriously and have a good coach.

When it comes to safe exercise for better health, where does competing come in? Well! It can be introduced in many different ways, depending upon your goals and motivators. Some people like to work out just for the joy of the exercise, whilst others (including myself) are more goal oriented, using a race as the key milestone in their training. If you have no interest in competing with others, that does not mean that you don’t compete. You compete with yourself, just to get to the gym against all of those mental excuses. You can compete against the clock or load on a machine to assess your progress. One way or another you’ll be competing, because that is the nature of life.

Deb enjoying the Over The Mountain, point to point Olympic Distance triathlon. Remember to smile!

Deb enjoying the Over The Mountain, point-to-point Olympic Distance triathlon. Deb remembered to smile!

The real value of competition is that it will give you a sense of community. I certainly feel this when attending local road races or major triathlons. Just the general air of excitement and energy pull me along to ramp up my program and improve my skills and race times. The real trick to enjoying races it to take the sport seriously but don’t take yourself seriously.

Here are a number of lessons that I have learned from competing in local and national races:

  1. You’re never too old to compete.
  2. You meet the most inspiring people on the course.
  3. Your support crew is an important part of the race.
  4. It feels really good to finish.
  5. The author completes Lake Placid Ironman 2011 with the aid of his Cook Zenith stent graft.

    The author completes Lake Placid Ironman 2011 with the aid of his Cook Zenith stent graft.

    Because you have a health challenge, such as diabetes or an aortic aneurysm, you can stay in the race as long as you do it wisely and carefully – remember, you’re not dead yet!

  6. Race day is all about family, whether you’re at a local 3k or the Boston Marathon.
  7. The medals look good on your Christmas tree (Deb’s idea, not mine).
  8. Short races are more prone to induce injury if you let yourself get carried away.
  9. Some people love to talk about their race statistics.
  10. There are always surprises, and on the day you get what you get, so you better appreciate it.
  11. Don’t forget to go to the roll down meeting if you want to go to Hawaii.
  12. Stick to your race plan, because it is a really bad idea to make changes during the race.
  13. Try to slowly pick up your pace from start to finish.
  14. Don’t worry about what other people are doing, though you can use other people as a motivator to pull you along.
  15. Be nice to people.
  16. Don’t strain anything, as it is better to drop out, because a DNF (did not finish) is better than being out of commission for months; this is a judgement call that comes with experience.
  17. Remember to smile from time to time as you race.
  18. Pat yourself on the back when it is all over.

See the race as a tool that you use to improve your skills and sense of community.

-k @FitOldDog

Today’s workouts:

WorkoutPLAN Coach: Chris Hauth
Duration: 03:00:00
social, non focused preseason ride



  1. Smiling must be the hardest part.

  2. Nope! Once you start it gets to be easier and easier. -k

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Disclaimer: As a veterinarian, I do not provide medical advice for human animals. If you undertake or modify an exercise program, consult your medical advisors before doing so. Undertaking activities pursued by the author does not mean that he endorses your undertaking such activities, which is clearly your decision and responsibility. Be careful and sensible, please.