The Pros and Cons of Racing: Find Out If You’re a Competitive Runner

Eine Gruppe junger Leute läuft draußen

by Livia von der Heide

Winter is slowly coming to an end and race season is officially here. Now it’s time for “energy from the ground up”! Many runners know the feeling of inspiration and invigoration running can give you. Sometimes, you come up with your best ideas or solutions to problems while out on a run. Goals help you to stick with your training.

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Need a motivation boost? Try competing in races!

Running competitions can be a great motivator. Races, both big and small, add some variety to your training and are a lot of fun. You don’t have to be a competitive runner to like running events. Many runners lace up just for fun — setting a new personal best is not the only reason to participate.

Runners with big goals for this year should sit down and plan out their race season. More races don’t always mean more chances to beat your best time. You should choose your running events carefully and space them out throughout the year. The focus should be on distance. Training for several different distances at the same time seldom results in the desired success.

Pouria Taheri, adidas Runners Head of Medical, has this piece of advice for competitive runners: “Good preparation is half the battle. Set ambitious, yet realistic goals. No matter what distance you are shooting for, you need to take a strategic approach to your preparation. Train according to a plan and leave plenty of time for recovery. The benefit of a training plan is that it creates positive stress and boosts your motivation! This, in turn, helps you reach your goals.“

Eine Frau dehnt sich nach dem Lauf

Training plan: Watch out for negative stress

“On the other hand, a training plan can increase negative stress, especially if it is based on a strict race plan,” warns sports physician Pouria Taheri, who takes care of many athletes. Runners who push it too hard or don’t put enough time into their planning often run the risk of injury. The more physical and psychological stress you feel, the more likely you are to suffer from overtraining symptoms or injuries.

Are you a competitive runner? Find out below!

Do you want to know if competing in races is right for you? Read the pros and cons below to help you decide.


  1. Having a goal in mind helps you stay motivated and disciplined.
  2. Running is a community sport, but many runners like to train on their own. During a race, you run together with many other people, get cheered on and share in the energy of the crowd!
  3. There are a lot of fun rituals associated with running events like eating pasta together the evening before the race or sharing a pizza afterward.
  4. Numerous studies have shown that runners almost always run faster in a race than in training. New personal bests need the thrill of asphalt!
  5. Every time you cross the finish line, it’s an unforgettable experience.
  6. A race pushes you to your limits and shows you what you’re capable of achieving.
  7. You feel how much potential you have – it’s sure to be more than you thought!


  1. Competitions can be stressful. For example, if your training isn’t going according to plan or an injury gets in the way.
  2. Runners who get too ambitious and only care about new personal records often find that it takes the fun out of running.
  3. Runners who live for the “runner’s high” often make poor decisions. Like running a race injured. Not a great idea.
  4. For some, running events are like an addiction; it’s hard for them to get enough. These people often do not allow enough time for recovery and run the risk of overtraining.

If you love to run with other people, you should get to know our adidas Runners Community. Especially if you want to compete against others and have your own cheering section firing you on.



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