When you choose the perfect race, everything just clicks. There are races that are important to our journeys as runners, and then there are those that just fill us with happiness and energy. Today, we’re going to talk about how to pick those.
Pick A Race That Excites You
The first step in finding the perfect race is being excited by what you’re getting into. Maybe it’s a fabulous theme, a great medal, or a cool location. The perfect race should elicit enthusiasm and keep you motivated, even on the hardest days of training.
Pick A Race With A Distance You Can Achieve
Even if it presents a physical or mental challenge, choose a race with a distance you can achieve. For example, if you’ve never trained for or run a marathon, it’s probably not a wise choice to sign up for one at the end of the month. However, if you’re consistently running ten mile long runs, then a half marathon in a few weeks isn’t out of reach.
Pick A Race With A Fair Price Point
Only you can decide what that fair price point might be, and it doesn’t always mean the least expensive. Maybe a race is pricey, but the profits go to your favorite charity. Or maybe the race provides really incredible swag and amenities for the money. Another great option is a race that’s incredibly inexpensive, which doesn’t offer a medal or other swag, but a fast, timed course over which you can fly. For example, the Spud Run offered cabbages and potatoes to every runner. It was well worth the price of registration.
Pick A Race With Great Course Support
Some of my best races are those with incredible course support. Sure there are water spots, and those are expected, but love the races that also offer electrolytes and gels. On longer courses, I look for aid stations with salt packets, biofreeze, and similar perks. My favorite races also have unofficial course support, with spectators offering things like popsicles, pickles, and orange slices. And maybe beer.
Pick A Race That Offers A Great Experience
While your mileage may vary, keep an eye out for the experience that makes you happy. One of my most perfect races was the Daytona Speedway Half Marathon. It wasn’t my fastest or easiest, but wrapping up 13.1 miles on the actual Daytona Speedway was truly a memorable experience.
How do you choose your perfect race?
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I love races with great crowd support! It makes such a difference.
I once ran the New York marathon, and the cheering from the crowds was amazing. Some of those signs that they held up made me laugh.
Catrina recently posted…Ride The Alps
I would love to experience the NYC marathon for that reason alone.
Lisa @ Mile by Mile says
My race this weekend is NOT what I would look for in a perfect race lol. There won’t be any crowd support, the course is super boring, and I’m not gonna know anyone there. But for this year it made the most sense because of the unknowns of covid and not wanting to have to travel far for a race. I’m hoping that by next year there might be some more fun race options that are feasible!
Our big local marathon is like that. It’s an out and back down a State Road (basically a four lane road). There’s little crowd support, and I can’t imagine anything worse than 13 miles down a commercial type road of strip malls and office buildings, then turning around in a small neighborhood and coming back. That’s a really long time to be bored!
What you said but I also race when things are not perfect such as for a charity or if other friends are running it. Sometimes just because the date is convenient.
Yes, charities are important too!
These are all great tips for picking a race. Over the last couple of years, I’m all about the course. I do like some pretty scenery! But again, there’s nothing like a big city race to get me really amped up.
I agree – I love something beautiful, but I love cities, too! I love it all!
Deborah Brooks says
I often choose a race based on course profile and location. I love to run in new places!
The crowd support does make a huge difference but I feel like those are harder to find! Love these tips – thanks for sharing!
Crowd support is definitely down after COVID. Hopefully, that will come back.
Hmmm, I guess I’m not too picky when choosing a race (maybe I should be a little more discerning!) If I can find a race the distance I want, not too far away, that’s on a Sunday and not Saturday (because I work on Saturdays- that’s a huge factor) then I’m usually good with it. That sounds so boring- I guess that’s why I like reading about other people’s races in cool locations!
Ha! Not boring! It’s whatever works! Sunday races can be hard to find, especially for shorter distances, but if that’s what makes it work for you, then there it is!
Kimberly Hatting says
My Cannonball Marathon (Greensboro NC) was almost a train wreck LOL It was picked by some friends, and we all decided to go as a group because the main “organizer” had family in the area that we could stay with. The course was very scenic for the first 12 miles, then it got b.o.r.i.n.g, hilly, minimal course support and ZERO crowd support. And plenty of vehicular traffic. Aside from those things, it still was a fun weekend, and a great experience in staying in the game, physically and mentally. I don’t regret the race, but I wish I’d had a little more intell prior to the start line.
Zero crowed support is hard. I need the energy to keep me going!
Great tips!mi know I’ve written a few posts on choosing races but right now I haven’t raced in over 2 years!
Chocolaterunsjudy recently posted…The One That Almost Didn’t Happen!: Tea/coffee Date October 2021
I am so very glad to be back!
I often pick a race based on course profile, weather, and location.