They say that training builds you up and racing breaks you down. Each training session is a small deposit into a piggy bank of fitness; each race a withdrawal.
This seems especially true with ultra running which usually requires at least a short amount of time off after a race. But many ultra runners are in the habit of racing so frequently that it could almost appear they ‘race to train’ instead of the other way around, treating their ‘B’ races like nothing more than a catered training run. “It’s just a training run” and “I’m just going to take it easy” are pretty commonly heard expressions during a race. Nothing wrong with that!
I’ve always found it hard to stick to my plans to take it easy during a race though. Once in the heat of the moment I always want to put my fitness to the test and leave it all out on the course. Even so, there’s still plenty of room for racing in my training.