Running races have become a “thing” so there are no shortage of options! But when it comes time to sign up for one, you might find yourself wondering how to pick your next race.
If I had my way, I would participate in races every weekend. Limited time and funds make this a dream rather than a reality. SO, I am sharing with you the steps I go through to choose which races I run.
Pick a Distance
Obviously this is an important place to start. If you don’t know what distance you want to run it can make narrowing your options down pretty complicated. I sometimes give myself a range, say from 10k to half marathon, rather than a specific distance.
Know Your Priorities
Do you need a cool medal for motivation? Is the after party more up your ally? What size race do you want to run? Does it matter? These are great ways to help point you towards a decision as well. I personally like medals, but would trade those in for awesome food after the race. Any race with pancakes is a must run for me! I also prefer smaller races in general, though special occasion big races can be equally fun. No matter what you like, it is important to know what qualities you are looking for in a race and to stick with it.
Make a Short List
I tend to find about a dozen or so races that I am interested in and seem to fit the things I am looking for. How long or short the list is does tend to vary depending on how specific my search is. If I am looking for a 5k to run in Florida I can easily come up with a long list. If I am looking for an ultramarathon my list of options might only be three or 4. Google is, naturally, a great resource. I also use Running in the USA (sorry international friends! Please comment with your preferred race listing website) quite frequently.
Research the Race’s Reputation
I cannot stress the importance of this enough. There are a LOT of poorly run races out there. Avoid these races! Not only can it lead to a bad experience, but it can also lead to an unsafe environment. This one time I ran through a sketchy neighborhood, after dark, with streets not closed off to traffic because the race was so poorly planned. Don’t do that to yourself! Blogs and social media are a great way to check out a race’s reputation. Of course I am also partial to BibRave as a resource. It is basically Yelp reviews for running races and a fabulous way to check things out!
Pick Your Next Race and Go Run!
That might be over simplifying it I suppose! Hopefully the research process has knocked a few races off your short list and the decision will be easier. 🙂
What are your priorities when you pick your next race?
What is the biggest race fail you ever experienced?