Friday, May 4, 2012

How I Chose a Race

Since last September, I've run 5 road races ranging from 5k's to 5miles and even a 10 mile race.  I'm currently registered for 4 more races, including a 5k, 5 mile, 10k, and a half marathon.  Check out my fitness page for details.  While I'm definitely not an expert, I can share some advice on how to choose the right race.  There are tons of races out there, which is great, but many factors go in to picking the right one for you.
Here are some things that I consider when choosing a race:

1. Decide on Distance.  Do I want to do a 5k?  10k? More?  If I want to do a longer race (10 miles or Half)  I make sure I chose one that's far enough away so that I can have adequate time to train.  When I did the Black Cat 10 Mile, I gave myself a little over 2 months to train.  I knew I wanted to do a half marathon, so I chose one in September so that I would have all summer to train.

2. Find Friends!  My first thought is usually: who can I convince to run this race with me?  I've only ran one race by myself, and even though I did OK, my nerves were out of control! It's nice to have a friend to run with you, or just to go with you and cheer you on.  Before I register for a race, I see if anyone else wants to do it with me.  It makes a huge difference in how much I enjoy the race.

3. Research the Race.  What does the race benefit?  Does the registration money go to a foundation or charity?  I'm more likely to sign up for a race if the money is going towards a charity I care about, like the Scott Procopio Gold Star run.  This race honors Scott Procopio who was from my home town of Saugus. Scott was on his second deployment as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom, having previously served in Fallujah in 2005. He was killed in action as a result of a roadside bomb on the morning of April 2, 2006 in Ramadi Iraq.  There is now a memorial scholarship fund in his name.


 4. Pick one with Perks.  What do I get out of this race (besides endorphins)? I look to see if you get a t-shirt (or tech shirt), a medal, a beer, food, anything.  These are all silly little things, but I want to get the most out of my money, and they serve as great mementos to remember the race.
 5. Location, Location, Location.  Do I know the area?  I look for a race that's close by, easy to get to, and familiar.  I'm more likely to sign up for a race that's close to home.  I feel more comfortable, and I have that "home court" advantage if I'm familiar with the course.  Also, it's helpful if the race website provides an elevation chart.  If I'm not familiar with the area, an elevation chart can help you decide if the course is too hilly for you, or if you'll just have to train on more hills.  I also like to find out how I'm going to get there, whether or not there's parking nearby, or it's its accessible by public transportation.
6. Cost.  How much am I willing to pay?  I try to keep cost in mind when signing up for a race.  The B.A.A races are expensive, but they are very organized, you get a tech shirt, medal, and a little goodie bag with snacks, so for me, it's worth it.  I also try to think about what goes into the cost,  if they shut down roads, supply food, gels, Gatorade and water, all of that stuff costs money, especially if it's a big race.
7. Date and Time.  When does the race take place, and what time does it start?  I'll definitely think twice about signing up for any winter races in the future.  Also, the start time of the race is very important.  If it starts at 7 am, I have to give myself enough time to wake up, eat, and get there.

Again, I'm not saying I'm an expert at races/running/anything, I just want to share what goes in to my personal race selection.

Happy Racing!


  1. Wow, that's really cool that you run a lot. I just run for fun, mostly to burn off all the desserts I ate over the past weeks.

  2. Thanks! You should try racing, it's really fun and pretty addictive!


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