Do you race wisely?


Let’s face it: there are times when all the stars align and training goes well and you have a fabulous race.

And then there are the times it wasn’t a good idea to even start training — and if you stopped to think about it, you knew it. How did your race go then? Thought so.

Although to be honest, some of my most stressful training cycles have produced good races. It’s smart to choose your races wisely, though. You want to have a smile on your face when you’re finished!

Is it your busy time at work?
If you’re an accountant, it might not be the wisest decision to train for an April marathon. Of course, running off the stress of tax season might be just the ticket for you.

Know yourself; know if you thrive on the pressure of training hard while life is crazy or you have a habit of skipping runs because life is crazy and then you have a less than stellar racing experience.

Are you facing a major life change?
A job change. A move. A new edition to your family. A marriage. All of these events are majorly stressful and usually throw us some curveballs, too. When life is crazy, running often becomes something we have to do, rather than something we get to do — and it leaves us burned out in the end.

Heat loving or loathing?
A Fall marathon can sound pretty enticing. Colorful leaves, crisp Fall air . . . but you’re going to be logging a lot of summer miles, too. Are you more likely to skip a hot and humid run, or shorten your long runs if the heat gets to you?

A longer spring race sounds pretty good, too, but you’ll be training through the winter. Depending on where you live, that could mean running through extreme cold and snow, or having to endure a lot of treadmill runs.

What about the course?
Are you a flatlander who won’t run on the treadmill? A hilly race may not be your best choice.

Do you live at sea level? A race at elevation is absolutely doable (I’m about to tackle my second) but you need to consider if your goals align with a race that may or may not be slower than you want due to that elevation.

Big or small?
If you’re a runner who struggles with social anxiety at large races, Vegas or NYC or Boston probably aren’t the right choice for you.

If you need a crowd to draw energy from a small local race may leave you feeling deflated.

There is no perfect time to train
Just as there is no perfect race. Life will always throw us curveballs and the weather can be unpredictable and wacky at any time of year. You always have to be prepared for the unexpected.

No training cycle is ever perfect, and most of the time you may need to skip a run or shorten a run on occasion.

You can stack the odds in your favor, though, by putting some thought into the races you choose and racing wisely.

Talk to me:

Do you put a lot of thought into the races you choose to run?

Have you picked a race at a time that you knew wasn’t a good time for you to train?

Ever regretted picking a race because of training through a season you don’t enjoy?

I’m linking up with with MCM Mama Runs, Marcia’s Healthy Slice, and My No Guilt Life for the Tuesdays on the Run linkup.


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


19 thoughts on “Do you race wisely?

  1. I’m pretty impulsive. Carpe Diem.

    Never regretted a race. Only maybe while running it but it fades once it’s over.

    The only thing that would bother me would be if I was injured and ran anyway or raced in pain and made an injury worse.

    So far so good. And three halfs this fall so far.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Meaning if you thought you were injured you would DNS a big race??

      I’ve thought about what I would do in that situation and I would probably just walk the race. I’ve done that for half a half when I was recovering and knew that I shouldn’t run 13 miles. I still had lots of fun.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It would depend. First I’d seek the hep of professionals. But if I really thought I would injure myself, I hope I’d DNS. Live to run another day. Luckily so far I haven’t had to. Most of my almost DNSs have been due to family stuff.


  2. Hmmm….good question. I would have to say no, I do not always race wisely. I am sometimes (OK, often) impulsive about signing up for races. I have a marathon coming up that I am having difficulty making myself do the long runs to train for. Luckily, 2 of my friends volunteered to run with me – one this week and one next. I should be able to finish the race!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Everyone & every body is different. I know that if I don’t train, it’s likely to be painful & the possibility of injuring myself is real. So I’m a stickler for it.

    Glad you have friends to get yourself through it. 🙂


  4. I used to sign up for a lot of races when I started running but I’m definitely a lot more thoughtful about it now! Especially as I had to DNS a couple races due to the tendinitis earlier this year, I’m a bit gun shy.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. When I was training for my first Half I was good through the 15K about four weeks out, but then our major work event hit and ooph, hard to even get to the gym before it closed never mind get in the day’s workout, but I pushed through. It was a good escape even if the Half wasn’t exactly the race I wanted. It’s a baseline for future.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This is all so true! Many people pick a race during the time of year they want to run in but they forget all the training that needs to be done in the season prior. That is one reason I only do shorter distances (10K or less) in the spring. I know I don’t want to be logging miles in what could potentially be bad winter weather. Although the year I ran NYC I got extremely lucky because we barely had a winter but then BAM the East Coast got hit with that major storm on race weekend (in March).

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I never minded training through heat for fall marathons or snow for Boston (its the only spring marathon I’ve run) because training through tough conditions builds my confidence It’s kind of a buzzkill though when the race itself is unseasonably hot or cold or worse.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. There are quite a few races I’d like to do, and can’t right now because I’m busy every quarter. I’m looking to change that a little bit, because these would let me travel to new places.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I have done two summer marathons (both of which were Grandma’s Marathon, in 2015 and 2017). Both times, I had a tough time getting in quality long runs towards the end of the training because spring has always been such a busy time for me. Ugh. But, I’d love to go back to Duluth and do Grandma’s again…even with all the struggles of spring training LOL Apparently, I don’t “live and learn.” 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  10. These thoughts are all super thought provoking and definitley something to think about before registering for a race. I’ll admit, I’m not the best at evaluating all the details and I tend to just sign up for a race because it sounds like it might be fun.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Sometimes the only thing that keeps me running through the summer is training for a race! It’s not usually for speed though, more about being able to go the distance with minimal pain.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I put a lot of thought into the last marathon that I selected. I knew I didn’t want to train in the summer, so that’s why I picked a spring Marathon. Although I had to train in the winter, I was okay with this as I don’t mind running in the cold. I also really wanted to pick a race in a state that I had not run in before, so the Shamrock Marathon hit all of that criteria.

    I also try to avoid races with a lot of hills.

    Liked by 1 person

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