Monday, 26 February 2018

How to stay motivated when your racing budget is tight

I have the best news: Our residence visas were issued two weeks ago! Which means that we can now stay in New Zealand permanently... Happy dance! It's been a long year of form submissions, English exams, requesting docs from SA, waiting, following up, and waiting some more. But it's all been worth it. Our residence visas are safely in our passports and it feels like we can now truly start settling in and carving out our new life here. Happiness!

But what does this have to do with motivation and racing, you ask? Plenty, actually. Because, you see, emigration is a hugely expensive process. And while I'm itching (ITCHING!!) to run the whole of New Zealand, Australia and all the other nearby gems (Fiji, Samoa, Rarotonga... Ahhhhh!), we've very level-headedly decided to pay back our emigration debt first. Work first, then play, right?

So, in the spirit of frugality, I've committed to entering no big $$$ races this year. I've mentioned before that NZ race entry fees are, from a South African point of view, super steep. Add to that travel and accommodation expenses, and you easily end up paying major money for a quick running weekend getaway. Money that could have made a dent in our emigration debt instead. 

But how will I stay motivated? Won't training for a whole year without any race goals feel a bit... well... pointless? I'm sure it will - at some stage. But I'm determined to push through. And while 2018 is still in its infancy, I've already discovered some nifty ways in which to stay motivated without a big racing budget. Here they are:

  • parkrun! You saw this one coming, right? But seriously, though: What could be better than a free, timed 5K event every, single Saturday of the year? One that promptly e-mails you your results, posts free event photos and rewards you with free technical running gear after reaching specific attendance goals? The answer? Nothing. Nothing could be better. Especially if you're on a tight racing budget.
parkrun! [Photo by Jeff Stark.]
  • Support smaller, local club events. There is a local Summer 5K Series in our area, and while entry (for non-club members) isn't free, it pales in comparison to that of the bigger city races. Plus it has some pretty cool spot prizes up for grabs too.
  • Enter all the race entry giveaways you can find! You never know, right? I recently won an XRace entry for Miss K and me through one such competition - one that would have set us back +-R660 if we had to pay for it ourselves. Score!
  • Be on the lookout for free, sponsored running events in your area. For example, Powerade sponsors an annual Powerade Challenge in our neck of the woods. You simply sign up (for free), get a wristband, run the course whenever you like (within the promotional period), and scan your wristband after you're done. Plus you get a free Powerade every time you complete the course! Garmin NZ is also hosting some free running events this year, with Christchurch and Auckland locations having been confirmed so far. And the best part? One lucky participant at each event will win a Garmin Forerunner 935!
  • Think long-term. While it's definitely too early to start training for a 2019 event now, nothing is stopping you from sorting out some form and imbalance issues in the meantime. Identify those imbalances, find exercises to target them and get going. By the time 2019 rolls around, you'll be strong, rested and ready to train.
So while it definitely isn't easy, and the FOMO is very real, this is something that I really want to do. And you know what? Come 2019, exploring on the run will be twice as sweet! Bring it!

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