3 Surprising Things You Must Consider . . .


. . . if you’re planning to sign up for a Fall distance race

Most likely you are already signed up for that Fall half or marathon. But maybe you aren’t, and you’re beginning to look around at races. No doubt you think about the course, the weather, and the location.

There’s much more you need to consider before handing over the money you worked so hard for to the race director. And here are three points maybe you haven’t considered . . . but you should.


Why are you signing up?
Your why is the most important thing about a race, hands down. Your why will get you out the door on days you don’t want to get out the door. Your why will help you to choose your fuel wisely. Your why will make you actually do the boring stuff like foam rolling and journaling.

Some great “whys”:

  • You want to challenge yourself
  • It’s in a place that you are longing to see
  • It’s for a worthy cause — one that really motivates you
  • You want to boost your confidence

Some not so great “whys”:

  • FOMO (fear of missing out)
  • The Bling/swag — these things are sweet, but will they really motivate you out the door? Only you know

I spent a lot of time during my run yesterday thinking about my why. Why is it so important to me to get faster? In the moment, as I was pushing myself hard, yet failing to come close to my paces (and I know Rachel @ Runningonhappy will say it’s okay), it seemed . . . too hard. Silly, maybe, even. And yet . . . my goal of running all fifty states motivated me to keep on getting out there.

I can run a half marathon without working so hard, I know. (Don’t worry Rachel, I actually do want to work that hard). But I do believe I need to work on my own “why”.  Why is getting faster important to me? I have some reasons, but I’m not sure they’re really good enough reasons. Stay tuned.

Your “why” is the most important thing you need to figure out. It can mean the difference between a great race and  a meh race — because if you are motivated by your “why”, you’ll be willing to do the hard work.

Do you have the time?
The first time consideration is whether or not you have enough time to train. Different runners need different amounts of time to train. If you have a month and you don’t have a good base of running, it’s probably a bad idea to sign up for a distance race.

Next there’s the question of whether or not you have enough time to race. Do you really want to arrive somewhere on Friday, race on Saturday, and hop in the car or on a plane later on Saturday to head home? It can be done; people do it all the time. But is that what you really want to do? Do you think you’ll look back on that race with fondness — or regret that you didn’t spend more time there?

Finally, there’s the question of whether or not you literally have the time. Time off from work, time off from family commitments, time away from your family.

What if I can’t run it?
Things go wrong. People get sick. People lose their jobs. You get injured. You buy a new home and have no time to train.

Which is exactly why I look for races that allow you to either defer your race to the next year or transfer your bib to someone else.  I truly wish that these options would be standard at any distance race. Yet they aren’t.


This week I am also joining up with Running on Happy, Suzlyfe, Crazy Running Girl, and Coach Debbie Runs each week for the Coaches’ Corner linkup

coachescornerTalk to me:

Do you look for races that allow deferrals?

Do you know your “why”?

Is getting faster important to you?


25 thoughts on “3 Surprising Things You Must Consider . . .

  1. Getting faster is not important to me. Being able to run those last miles of a race without feeling like total death is the reason I get out there and do the training. In my experience as a coach, most of the people who fail to make their goal and I mean give up on training and never do their goal race, tend to care more about Facebook/social media accolades and peer pressure. The motivation has to come from within.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I also do my training because it gives me confidence and yes, it feels better in the end.

      It’s interesting you mention failing when because of FB/IG accolades — I can definitely see that!

      The flip side, though, is that having a posse of friends can be motivating, too. And sometimes they are online friends. Apples & oranges, I understand. And bow to your coaching knowledge — but it’s definitely another interesting point!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m still working on it . . . now, one of my running buddies did heart rate training last year. She loved it, but her runs were super slow & she was disappointed in her half time — even though she’s not that hung up about speed.

      She’s still working on HR training, but incorporating some faster runs, too, because she’d still like to get back to where she was.


  2. I just signed up for a race in October and my why was because it is a course i have run a few times and people will come in costume and I get a chuckle out of that and I want to test my feet with a few more halfs this year. It was cheap, local, and I can defer 🙂
    Sometimes I feel the need to push my pace a bit, but mostly I just want to feel good and strong when I run no matter the pace. My halfs earlier this year were very tough, my one in February I felt very challenged the last three miles…I am hoping my Fall races feel better.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Karen, my post is kind of preaching to the choir, but you also never know who you’re going to reach! I know you don’t lack motivation, for sure.

      I hope you get fabulous weather for your fall half (and me, too, please) and enjoy the race!


    1. FOMO can definitely be hard to resist. I really struggled with the decision of whether or not to do RnR Vegas with all those awesome bloggers there, but in the end (unless a free entry dropped in to my race), it is not calling to me. I’ve already done it!


  3. At this point my why is health, and I keep making progress with my knee. I’m having fun, which is the most important thing to me. Yes, there are days when I struggle with motivation, but I’m OK with that right now, before training starts.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great advice. Having the time to commit to training for a race is so important! It’s one of the reasons why I’ve put signing up for another marathon on the backburner. To be honest, I don’t give the deferrals/transfers much thought, but I probably should. You never know what could happen!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I race because I love it. I wouldn’t run if I didn’t race.

    I never look for deferrals.

    I don’t train to get faster. It would br nice of course. I leave it to chance. I’m lucky that it happens. I know that it will eventually end

    Liked by 1 person

  6. My why? Getting/staying healthy & at 54 to maintain a healthy weight (damn hormones!)
    Yes, getting faster is important to me. But I am not sure how long my speed will increase. At 54 I wonder since I read plenty that speed slips as we age. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Lol, you know I’m all about that bling! I will say no to races if they don’t have great bling, 😁. That, and the racecations make it all worthwhile. Anyway, all that nonsense aside, the races are what motivate me to run, so I guess I race to train, if that makes sense. The bling at the end of the race represents hours of hard work and it’s my reward, every bit as much as a mani/pedi would be or even a new dress. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I am totally into the social aspect of running/racing!! I have never worried about my pace, I just want to make it across the finish line!!

    I have never looked for deferrals when signing up for a race. I have been lucky that in my years of running, I have only missed one race.


    Liked by 1 person

  9. Great read! Great questions!

    i actually never look consider deferrals. Hell or high water i am racing…lol!!!

    My why depends on the race. My tri in September is to support Parkinson’s research where as my 10k in November is for the free oysters at the end…lol!!!

    Yes getting faster is important to me! Constantly working on it!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s truly fascinating to me the number of runners that don’t look at deferrals/transfers. I’ve never actually had to do it, but I did come close once and I’m sure it happens to everyone, sooner or later.

      It’s not a deal breaker for me, but it’s nice to have!


  10. I haven’t checked whether my races have deferrals before – but after DNSing my last 2 races because I was sick, I’ll probably pay more attention to that! At least they were both shorter distance races that benefited local charities, so I don’t feel like I wasted the registration money.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t think I’ve missed shorter races, but it wouldn’t bother me as much — like you, I always consider that just a donation!

      But it would definitely bother me to shell out money for a half & then not be able to do it due to circumstances beyond my control!


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