. . . 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.
Talk to me:
Do you look for races that allow deferrals?
Do you know your “why”?
Is getting faster important to you?