Recreational Runners Love Non-Traditional Races
Nearly all of the recreational runners interviewed reported that they have participated in many themed races and will continue to do so because they're just so much fun. Mirroring the statistics reported by Running USA, many in the run-for-fun category said that they sign up for these races as part of a group or team, adding an even bigger social aspect to the event. They reported that having the added layer of accountability from joining a team made them keep up with their training more than they would have on their own. A few even got together regularly with teammates to train in preparation for the upcoming event.
Another upside to adventure runs is the added challenge they offer. Participants enjoy shifting their focus for a little while, concentrating more on strength training and agility than they do when training for a more traditional race. "There's a sense of accomplishment with an obstacle race that just isn't there for a traditional 5k. I already know I can do the running part, it's finishing every obstacle that's a big deal," said Pam Buth, after finishing the Lozilu in Hugo, MN.
Finally, themed race enthusiasts go on and on about the adrenaline rush. Glory Ramsey, a Warrior Dash finisher, put it this way: "I don't know if it secretly sparks some childhood joys but, the running and jumping, and climbing, and crawling through mud transforms the average 5K. You feel adrenaline and endorphins all at the same time. And when you finish it with the thrill of running through fire, you definitely feel like you have been transformed." And, let's face it, leaping over a fire pit to race across the finish line at the end of a muddy field probably is a much bigger rush than merely trotting beneath the "Finish" banner in 457th place at your umpteenth 5K. It's exactly the kind of thing that keeps bringing runners back for more.
Tips For Avoiding Injuries
The last question we asked the runners was what advice they could offer for avoiding injury during these races. The unanimous answer was to train properly. For obstacles races, that requires doing some research about the course and what obstacles have to be negotiated. For costumed races, that means actually running in your costume before race day.
Another good tip is to take it slow on race day. Of course, someone has to win these things, but it doesn't have to be you. By taking your time and focusing on good running form and sound obstacle-clearing techniques, you can minimize your risk for injury.
If you do decide to give one of these races a try, train properly for it, take your time on the course, and most of all, have fun!Sign up for your next race.