QT: How to Choose Which Races to Run?

If you’re like a lot of runners, you’d love to run all the races.

And if you’re like a lot of runners, that means that you have to pick and choose only a few races to run in each year.

With so many choices available, how do you decide which races to run each year?

No Right (or Wrong) Choice

With all of the options that are available, and more seem to pop up every year, it’s difficult to choose which races to run.

Obviously, not every race is the same.

That said, when you choose which races to run for this year it’s important to avoid a case of “buyer’s regret” after the fact. Once you make your choices, stop thinking about the races that you opted not to run and focus instead on the races that you signed up for.

And remember that in most cases, the races you didn’t run will be options for next year as well. So just because you are not running it this year doesn’t mean you’ll never have the chance to experience that event down the road.

What Races Do You Want to Run?

Think big picture here.

With where you are in your life right now, running and otherwise, what races do you want to run this year?

Do you have the time, energy, and desire to train for a full marathon? Do you want to really work on your speed and focus on racing some 5ks? Is a race-cation in the cards? Would you like to try a trail race?

While there are, quite literally, thousands of races from which to choose each year, once you’ve identified what you want to run you can start to narrow down the specific races you’d like to participate in.

Let’s break down some of the different categories of races that are out there, and hopefully that will help you choose which races to add to your calendar for this year (and beyond)!

Let’s not kid ourselves, racing can be expensive!

And I’m not just talking about the price of the race either. Travel. Lodging. Food.

The prices associated with running a race can add up quickly if you’re not careful!

If you’re like me and money/cost is definitely part of the equation, all is not lost.

Target races that are within driving distance, as avoiding travel costs dramatically cuts down the final price tag of the event.

If you can sleep at home and avoid paying for restaurant meals, you are pretty much looking at the price of the race itself and a few gallons of gas to drive to and from the race as the final cost.

Even for an expensive race, like a Disney race for me, avoiding travel costs is one of the best ways to race without breaking the bank.

Another option is to look at trail races.

One of the big costs for a lot of races is related to road closures.

If you’re running a trail race, those costs aren’t necessary and the price tag of the races (typically) comes down dramatically.

If you have room in the budget, a race-cation may be rather enticing.

Most of us love to travel, and what better than traveling AND racing?


Pick a city, part of the country, or even a foreign country that you would like to visit and start to look for a race that sounds appealing.

My advice? Plan your race for the first part of the vacation so that you can really cut loose and enjoy the rest of your trip without knowing that you’ll have a race to run in just a few days.

Be honest, do you mostly run for the bling?

There’s nothing wrong with that, obviously, but if gaudy bling is your thing there are races that cater to that.

A quick google search will give you some options, and Little Rock is likely to be at the top of any list of best race hardware.

Another option is to look for a multiple-race weekend type of challenge.

There are plenty of races that offer races on Saturday and Sunday, meaning you can race twice in one weekend. And more often than not, those challenge races will have a third medal for completing both events.

Another thing to consider when you are choosing which races to run is what your size preference is.

Do you like races with thousands of runners? Or do you prefer the smaller races, with only a few hundred (or even fewer) runners in the field?

If you have a strong preference one way or the other, eliminating the races on the end of the size spectrum that you don’t care for makes the choice a bit easier.

Ultimately, The Choice is Yours

When it comes down to it, ultimately you’re probably going to have a choice to make.

And like I said above, there are very few bad choices when it comes to which races to run.

All races are unique, so pick the one that sounds best to you and go for it!

Originally published at www.dizruns.com on February 23, 2018.