Training with a specific race in mind will motivate you and make you progress faster than ever before.

One of the joys of running is that you can do it at any time in any place. Just lace up a pair of running shoes and walk out the door.

If done consistently, running serves as a great way to stay healthy, both physically and mentally. While the idea of frequently running is easy, sticking to a routine can be hard to do.

One of the ways you can boost your motivation and progress is by signing up for a running race. Big and small competitions can help provide you with the courage to get out of bed and start a run.

This article will explore the pros and cons of competitive running to help you decide whether to start running more seriously.

Pros

1. Motivation

On days when the weather is gray, and your legs feel sore, it can be easy to skip a workout.

However, when you have a specific goal in mind, you will be more motivated to get your miles in. There is no better feeling than to see all your hard work rewarded with a personal best time.

Strava recently surveyed to investigate the reasons "why we run." From the answer of 25,000 runners, experts found that what gets people out of the door for a routine run is having a big goal (43%); beating habit (39%) and guilt (15%) for first place.

2. Community

You spend most training miles in solitude, just you and the trail. While most runners don't mind running alone, running a race provides you with a unique opportunity to meet like-minded people.

According to that same Strava study, there may be some benefit to running in a group, as it showed that "those who run in at least one group appear to enjoy running more than the lone wolves by a wide margin."

3. Atmosphere

Running events are bustling with activity. Boisterous fans line up along the course to cheer you on, and there is always a multitude of activities to keep you entertained.

Every event has its little quirks that make the event special. For example, the Flying Pig Marathon in Cincinnati hands out bacon strips in the last few miles.

4. Know Your Body

Being a competitive runner means you’ll develop an intimate relationship with the workings of the performance machine that is the human body. You’ll come to know how your muscles coordinate most efficiently, to how your mind can push you beyond what you thought you were capable of.

It will also lead you to exploring new ways of improving your bodies’ performance. For instance, you may look to strengthen your breathing with a device like the Airofit, which will decrease the feeling of breathlessness you can often feel when running at a high intensity.

Cons

1. Injuries

When people first start with competition, they tend to go too fast too soon. It often leads to injuries that can set you back for months.

Before you begin with race-specific high-intensity workouts, you have to build a strong base first. That includes running a lot of slow miles, and only increasing your weekly training volume with no more than 10%.

Here are 5 tips to stay injury-free when ramping up your mileage.

2. Lose your love for running

Nearly everyone can agree that competition and fun are not always compatible.Competitive energy is a great motivator to achieve personal bests, but it is essential not to get too fixated on your performance.

Therefore, you must remind yourself of your love for running after a disappointing race. Stay positive, humble, and run with honor.

3. Sacrifice comes before success

Big athletic goals, e.g., running a sub-3-hour marathon, require significant commitments.

If you want to get better at running, you need not only to spend more time grinding out miles but also taking care of your body outside of your training times. That includes things like getting a good night sleep, having a healthy diet, and no more staying up late partying every Saturday night.

Here are 15 healthy tips, such as which supplements to take, to increase your running speed.

Ready to Race?

Listed below are some of the biggest races in the U.S. and Europe that you can sign up for today:

1. TCS New York City Marathon

The New York City Marathon is the largest in the world and has more than 2 million spectators lined up along the roadside. Yearly more than 50,000 runners compete on this beautiful course that passes through all five of New York's boroughs.

Due to its enormous popularity, not everybody gets to run the race. You can apply through a drawing (only a 2% chance to get picked this way in 2020), you can run on behalf of a charity, or you can gain entry based upon stringent qualifying standards.

Entry fees range from $255 for NYRR members to $358 for international residents.

2. Bank of America Chicago Marathon

With its pancake-flat course, the Chicago Marathon is known to be one of the fastest courses in the world.

Consequently, athletes from all around the globe come down to Chicago hoping to break their P.R. During the 2019 edition of this race, Brigid Kosgei from Kenya broke the women's world record by finishing in a time of 2 hours 14 minutes and 4 seconds.

Unfortunately, not everyone can participate in this fast race, as the registration is capped at 45,000 runners. If you want to be one of 45,000 runners, you can enter a competitive drawing, run a fast qualifying time, or raise at least $1,250 to run for a charity.

In 2019, the Chicago Marathon had a spectator count of 1.2 million.

The entry fee is $205 for U.S. residents and $230 for international residents.

3. BMW Berlin Marathon

Just like the Chicago Marathon, the Berlin Marathon has an extremely flat and fast course with six of the latest consecutive men's world records set here.

In 2018, the living legend Eliud Kipchoge ran to a new world record in a time of 2 hours 1 minute and 39 seconds.

The race takes place annually on the last weekend of September. Unlike the other big sports mentioned here, registration is based upon first-come, first-served process until 40,000 runners have signed up.

The registration fee varies depending on when you enter, ranging from $70 to $120.

4. Boston Marathon

Established in 1897, the Boston Marathon is the oldest of all the significant marathons worldwide.

The race takes place on Patriot's Day in the United States, which is the third Monday of April annually. The course is a net downhill course and is therefore not eligible for world records.

To enter the race, you must run the well-known B.Q. (Boston qualifier) time. Qualifying for the prestigious Boston Marathon is a goal of many who run marathons, but these stringent standards are certainly not for everyone.

The B.Q. standards are specific to your age group and gender. For example, males aged 18-34 must run a sub-3-hour marathon, whereas older males can run a little slower to qualify for the Boston Marathon.

The entry fee is $205 for U.S. residents and $255 for international residents.

Keep a steady breath during your next marathon!

Is your breathing keeping you from succeeding? Then you are properly familiar with the feeling of runner's stitch or just being out of breath.

Your breathing is an essential part of training, supplying you with oxygen and new energy. When you are preparing for a long-distance run, your breath can be a limiting factor.

Your breathing influences your mind and body during a race. If your lung muscles, meaning your diaphragm, are not adequately prepared to supply you with the right amount of oxygen, you risk muscle fatigue.

Be prepared for your next race using the Airofit breathing trainer to strengthen your performance. Since the breathing trainer is designed to be used separately from any other physical activity, you can only benefit from additional respiratory training.

Connected to your preferred smart device, you can easily track your performance through real-time data results. Airofit helps you improve your breathing muscle strength, speed, and efficiency, and you can share your progress with fellow runners - professional and amateur athletes alike!

See you at the Marathon finish line!