What goes on in the mind of the individual once they sign up and pay for the race? To some, it's 'Oh yeah~ now it's time to get it on~' while others go, 'Crap... what did I just do?' Either way, signing up for a race changes things. The moment you sign up for a race, it's a statement to yourself that you've made a personal commitment to the training that's going to take place, and it's the beginning of a whole new attitude. Before you signed up, although you may have been fired about the fact that you're training for a race, you might not have been AS passionate. AFTER you signed up, you are a lot more passionate because you have just put an investment down. Today, I officially signed up for The North Face Endurance Challenge 50 mile race. Last year, I spent a month training mostly on a bike before I ran it... because I ran it for... fun. This year, I've signed up 2 months before the race, with a good amount of training already on my back. I'm ready to race, and with finally making it official, I'm even more determined to end up as one of the top finishers.
The change that happens can be phenomenal, and if controlled, can benefit the individual greatly. When you invest your time, your money, your life... you are definitely more passionate about it. Your will becomes stronger, your goal is more visible, your focus is finer... the moment you sign up for a race and make that investment/decision, you are taking a psychological step that will affect your physical life.
I chatted on facebook with one of my friends, and he was talking about how important his training was. Once you've signed up for something, you're pushing yourself further, sacrificing many things in order to achieve your goal. Now that I've signed up for the 50 mile race, I'm a lot more focused. I'm ready to put a lot of effort into my training to sculpt my body into what it needs to be in order to win this race. The chances of me winning this race isn't too good, considering that there would be professional athletes in the mix, but just because it isn't good doesn't mean that it's not impossible. Anything can happen in 2 months, and I plan on making something happen.