I think it has helped me mentally with running since I officially registered for my big race next June. It has made me refocuse my efforts on improving, even if I'm not logging long distances very often.
Last Friday, I ran a 5k- just to make sure I could still do the distance- and though it was much slower than I would have liked (42ish mins), I did it and felt good after. Today- I ran 1.89 miles in 21:30, a roughly 11:23mm pace. I'm very pleased with that. I would have run farther but I was in a slight time crunch and that's all I had time for. Not to mention the rain that I barely missed. I don't mind running in rain, but this was a COLD rain - we went from about 65 degrees to 46 by the time the rain ended.
I have a 5k race coming up on November 6. I'm looking forward to doing a race again. This will be my 6th this year (I feel like I'm forgetting one, but it's not coming to mind. . .)