You have decided to a race, but you aren’t sure which one or ones to do. How to pick out the right race for you? There are so many. You walk into a local running and walking store and see a lot of fliers. You go on a website that has a lot of races on it. Decisions, decisions… Let me help you figure out which one or ones to pick.
1) How far do you want to travel? Check out the locations of the races. Do you want to stay close to home or drive a bit of a distance? Do you want to make it a vacation race? Yes, people do races on their vacations. There is even a series of races called vacation races. I highly recommend a race close to home for a first race.
2) How long of a race distance? Are you looking for a relatively short race, like a 5K or are you training for a longer distance like a half marathon or a marathon? When training for a half marathon or marathon I recommend doing some shorter races before hand, especially if you have not done any races previously.
3) What format of race? What do I mean by that? Do you want just a race on a paved road? A trail race? One where you get sprayed with color dyes? Maybe you want to crawl through some mud, inflatable courses and other adventurous type races.
4) Are you running or walking or both? If you are only walking, does the race have a walking only division? If you sign up for a walking division in a race you can only walk, no running at any point in the race.
5) How fast of a runner or walker are you? Some races have time limits and you will want to make sure you will finish within their time frame. There are races that have strict time limits and will close the course and you may not get an official time if you are out past their time limit. Most times these are for safety concerns or for when they are on busy roadways that are closed down to traffic.
6) How many are already in your calendar? Are you doing races every weekend? I would start out gradually, one or two a month and move up from there if you schedule permits.
7) Does it fall in training schedule? Check out your training schedule does the race fit into your training schedule for a longer distance?
8) Do you have a favorite charity or festival? Is there a race supporting your favorite charity or festival? Quite often there are races for charity and/or festivals.
9) Are you going with friends? Are you doing the race by yourself or with friends? What do they want to do for a race? Make sure you all are on the same page of the above questions.
These should all be considered when deciding which race to do. When searching online you can normally search according to state, city, and distance of race. You can sometimes search by type of race too.
How did I choose my first race? I started my walking career by joining a local training program. With this training program there were race vouchers that enabled me to get free races. I signed up for the free races and got addicted to doing races. The next few years I was doing almost every race in town. There were lots to do. However, I got burned out of doing too many races. Now I pick races on location and charity. I have also chosen them on their cool name, such as a local one called Run The Plank.
However you choose your races, be sure to do one thing, have fun!