Here’s Why Runners Should Have An Annual Race

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Picking a race to run as an annual tradition is a great way to view growth and set a PR. Here’s Why Runners Should Have An Annual Race

We are all ready, set, go when it comes to signing up for races.

It’s hard to say no when a running buddy suggests yet another 5k that sounds so appealing. But it’s participating in an annual race is what every runner should do.

During the spring/summer and fall seasons, it’s easy for our race calendars to get filled up. We are always on the hunt for great locations, appealing medals and the chance for a PR.

Picking an annual race though is appealing for multiple reasons. In fact, all runners should really have one. And here’s why.

Annual Races Reveal Growth

To see where we are going, we have to remember where we have been.

Runners often forget how far they have come in the course of a year. Which is exactly why they should return to a race completed the year before to see just how they have grown.

Picking an annual race allows the runner to view just how much their performance has changed. Race results reveal average pace and overall times to compare speed.

Here’s Why Runners Should Have An Annual Race
Photo by Quino Al on Unsplash

Those who wear smartwatches can compare even more in-depth stats like their cadence and splits.

Nothing is more rewarding than seeing the growth by using a specific race as a baseline. It also helps continue to motivate the runner year-round to continue to grow in the sport so they can chase that course PR.

Runner Advantage: Knowing The Course

That brings us to another great reason why to have an annual race: knowing the course.

Runners who compete in this same event each year have an advantage over competitors. They are already familiar with the lay of the land. This means knowing when to conserve energy for that hill and when to book it.

Now, this is all assuming that the course remains the same.

Even though it has been a year since running the race, knowing the course means having the confidence to push the pace.
The runner doesn’t need to recall every turn, but chances are once they are running the course it will all come back to them.

Having insider knowledge and confidence means the runner has a great chance of outrunning other racers. While this isn’t a goal for every runner, it can come in handy when looking to earn a spot on the age group podium.

Here’s Why Runners Should Have An Annual Race
Photo by Massimo Sartirana on Unsplasha

Setting An Annual Tradition

Picking at least race to run each year is a great idea when it comes to motivation, growth, and performance. But it also sets an annual tradition that becomes meaningful.

As the race approaches, the runner can look back on previous race photos from that event. They can anticipate the event, knowing what they can look forward to.

This is a great opportunity to get family and friends involved. It further deepens the tradition when kids take part in the kids’ races or the race is done with a best running friend.

The runner doesn’t need to race it for time. Their annual race can simply be one that the whole gang comes out to. This can be just to enjoy each other’s company while doing someone healthy.

It could be for a good cause like a race that is a fundraiser for a charity or cause close to the heart.

And this tradition can extend past the race. It might include post-race pancakes at a favorite dinner or shopping around the neighborhood that race is in.

Same Race Means Different Goals

Even though this is the same exact race, the runner has the chance to set new goals.

The obvious one means finishing it faster.

The first year might be just to finish. The next year would be to finish faster. The following year would be to place in age groups.

But there might be other goals to set when doing the same race each year.

This includes increasing the distance to now do the 10k instead of the 5k.

Another different goal would be to enjoy the scenery of the location more instead of speeding through it.

Photo by Tom Wheatley on Unsplash

Building Relationships

Running in the same 5k or other distance race means seeing the same faces each year.

This means connecting with the race organizers and volunteers. It might be meeting a local running group or a new potential running partner.

It means building relationships within the community by being involved. This further deepens the reasons why we race and what we get out of it.

After doing the same race for a certain amount of years, the runner might decide to participate in another way, by volunteering.

This is another great way to be part of the even every year, especially when the runner can’t physically run in. This could be because of injury or when recovering from a medical condition.


Looking back at a year of races, runner already remembers the ones that stand out. Make one (or all of these) annual races.

It is fun to be able to look back while also moving forward in the world of racing.


  1. Robert James Reese, Same Race, Different Goals, Running Website