So you want to sign up for a race?
Maybe you’ve already got your race calendar planned out for the year, like ultrarunner Gene Dykes.
Or maybe you’re still thinking about what race you might sign up for.
Or maybe there’s at least one run that’s “your race,” the run that’s become an annual tradition like Brynn Cunningham and the Mt. Summit Challenge.
Got one of those?
Before you click the “submit” button to sign up for a race, here’s a few runner-friendly details to plan for awesome on race day...
You don’t have to be ready. Not yet.
In fact, when you sign up for a race and click the “submit” button, you might feel a mix of:
It’s the perfect combo to get your mind thinking about what you’ll need to do to get ready for race day.
Just let that percolate for a while, and you might be surprised by how motivating it can be to help you make time for training - whether you're a new runner or just getting back into the swing of things.
Ready to sign up for a race, make plans and start training?
Here are 8 tips to help you pick the right races and chase those finish lines:
If you’re already part of a running club, chances are pretty good you’ll be familiar with local races in your area.
You can also check popular sites to sign up for a race like:
Fun fact: A couple months ago, members of the WeeViews team (spread out across the U.S.) decided to meet up at the Gorge Waterfalls races in Oregon for the 30K, 50K, and 100K the first weekend in April.
Obviously. But there’s more to this than just putting it on your calendar.
Based on your current fitness level, choosing a date for a race gives you time to prepare.
Of course, you’ll also want to find a race date that fits with everything else in your life: work, family, vacations, etc.
This can also be a good time to find out if you:
Don’t most races start early Saturday or Sunday morning?
You better check. Not all races start in the morning.
What time does the race start?
You’ll want to find out to make sure you can get there on time.
And if you need to take a shuttle to the race start, you’ll need to arrived even earlier.
It’s another no-brainer detail when you’re planning to sign up for a race.
But it’s not always as simple as you might think.
It’s also a race-day factor you need to consider that may include:
A big part of your race experience is the start and finish.
Before you sign up for a race, make sure you can answer questions like:
Getting familiar with what to expect when you show up to the stating line will help reduce pre-race jitters.
And knowing what to expect when you make it to the finish line can help you keep going.
So where will you be running?
Before you go, make sure you’re familiar with the course you’ll be running, what the route looks like, and any major things to watch for like:
Why bother with these details?
You don't want to get lost or show up unprepared.
As much as you hope to run a perfect race, do everything you can to prevent something from going wrong.
A typical 5K race might not have designated aid stations along the course.
But if you sign up for a race like a 10K or longer, most races will include aid stations along the route to support runners.
But you’ll want to find out ahead of time what the aid stations will be stocked with like:
Keep in mind, not all races include aid stations. You may need to carry what you need in a pack or bring your own crew to set up aid stations to support you.
If the race you sign up for is going to include aid station support, it’s a good idea to practice fueling with the food and drink they provide during training.
So you make it all the way to the finish line? Now what?
Here’s another thing you might want to check out before you sign up for a race.
What’s the post-race party and services look like?
At many races, the finish line will include:
Let’s be honest. There’s a remote possibility you’ve put yourself through the training just to collect a finisher medal, race T-shirt, and enjoy the post-race party. Right?
Already have your 2023 race calendar planned out?
Or maybe you're in a lottery or have a handful of races you're thinking about.
Either way, signing up for a race is a smart way to help you start thinking about the training you need to do to step up to the starting line.
What's your 2023 race calendar look like?
Tell us about it in the comments.