How do you figure out what races to sign up for? What are the best races to do? It’s funny that my cousin asked me to write about this, because I have spent the last week frantically trying to figure out what my game plan is for 2014 when it comes to races.
Here are my three most important pieces of advice for choosing races for the year:
1.) Make sure to sign up with at least one good friend. There is a lot to be said for having a buddy at the starting line to help calm some fears, but just as important is having a training partner. Even if your training buddy doesn’t live close by, you can still text and chat about what your training schedule looks like, what workouts you’re not feeling motivated for, and how much you hate each other for making you do the stinkin’ race. Believe me, it’s important.
***So, my own personal dilemma with this strategy in 2014 is that some of my favorite go-to racing buddies are pregnant or are going to be pregnant (fingers crossed) and therefore, aren’t signing up for any big races! And my sister just had a baby, so her racing season is still a question mark. Although I did sign up to run the Lansing FULL Marathon with her on May 4! (NOTE…this race definitely follows advice tips #1 and #3, but I’m not so sure about #2.) And I just sent her a text today letting her know that if she decides to do a 1/2 Ironman I will be joining her. Yup, that’s how important having a buddy is. I absolutely will not sign up for any hugely terrifying races without one!
2.) Sign up for a race that’s in a location you are excited about. I have found that my favorite races have been in beautiful places where I enjoyed the view during the race. The Bayshore Marathon in Traverse City is a great one for this! Also, Back to the Beach 1/2 marathon, 10K, or 5K at Stoney Creek Metropark is a beautiful race in Southeast Michigan. You don’t necessarily have to travel far, but I do think it’s important to pick a race that has a great setting. This also makes it more fun if you want to try and convince the whole family to come and cheer you on!
***So, my own personal scheme for this in 2014 is that I am dropping hints to my husband about taking a family trip to Grand Island at the end of July. Why, you ask? Because there is a FULL TRAIL MARATHON on Grand Island on July 26! It would be the perfect family vacation AND I could do a race in a beautiful place! (NOTE…I have myself convinced that this would NOT be a hugely terrifying race and I would sign up without any buddies. Insert super scared face…)
3.) Sign up for at least one race that scares the bageezers out of you. This will keep you motivated to stick to your training. If you don’t have any races planned that require you to train hard, you might not train hard. Plus, let’s be honest, there is a definite amount of added excitement when we are scared of something! So, step out of your comfort zone and try something new! Maybe it’s just a longer distance, maybe it’s a trail race or a duathlon or a triathlon. Whatever it is, make sure you’re excited and pretty stinkin’ nervous about it. That’s what makes it a good race.
***In 2010 I signed up for the Bayshore Full marathon. I was TERRIFIED. I hadn’t run a marathon in 8 years because I was THAT scared to run one again. Also in 2010 I signed up for my first triathlon. Then, for 2011 I signed up for my first Ironman, and in 2012 I signed up for my second Ironman. In 2013 I signed up for a 50K trail ultramarathon. All of those races scared the pants off of me and made me work my butt off to ensure that I would be successful in reaching my goal of crossing the finish line. And it worked. And I loved every second of it.
For 2014 I am signed up for the Lansing Full marathon. I’m definitely nervous about it, but I will be much more nervous if I decide that I want to run it fast. I am still debating on that. I haven’t decided how uncomfortable I want to be…
But, I am also planning on signing up for an additional race in 2014 that scares me. I’m not sure what it’s going to be yet. It will most likely be a 1/2 Ironman, a 50K or, gulp, maybe even a 50 miler. I’m just not quite sure yet.
I really think that if you can stick to those three things in choosing your race/s for 2014, you’ll have a good year! Get your races on the calendar, then make your training plan and get to it!