Decisions, decisions! Here are 5 considerations for your next 5K race:
1. Align with personal goals
The first thing you need to determine is what you hope to accomplish in a race.
Are you running just for fun or to run a certain distance? Are you running as part of training for a longer distance race? Or are you running to help raise money for charity?
Figure out what your end goal is, and you’ll know what to opportunities are available both virtually and/or in person.
2. Consider time commitment
Your time commitment for the 5K race isn’t just at the race. Depending on what you want to achieve in terms of experience.
Are you training solo or do you have someone else’s schedule to align with? Some busy people choose to run key runs with a partner or group, allowing flexibility in the rest of the schedule.
Are you traveling for your race? How does that affect your taper week?
If you will be running in a different time zone, you’ll want to adjust for travel and sleep (3 hours for every time zone east or west as a general rule for catch up).
3. Respect Mother Nature
Do you have a preference for running in warmer versus colder weather?
It can make a huge difference if you’re used to running in warmer weather but then participate in a winter race.
Also take a look at the weather conditions from previous years (like rain) to get an idea of what to expect during a race that’s weeks away.
Now, if you’re not sure what to pick, you can go for a race in the late Spring or early Fall, where the weather’s generally cooler and more comfortable for running.
4. Consider the terrain
If your goal is to achieve a personal best, you may not want to choose a race with big elevation changes or hills as these may slow your pace.
However, if you prefer different terrains, such as running over bridges, you may wish to choose a course with hills and lots of turns.
Turns will show you down as much as hills, a factor runners don’t always think about when they see a pancake flat course. Check the online map for a course as well as the elevation chart!
If you are a trail runner or you like scenery, a trail race or a road race through a very scenic place like the mountains or beaches or through a theme park might be something to consider.
5. Size matters
Of course, we know many of the larger races are not being held in 2021, but there will be a time you have the option again.
At this point, we can consider virtual or in person as decision points.
Some of us love the race atmosphere. The vibe and energy of an in person race with supportive crowds are thrilling for some runners.
Other mother runners are stressed out by the mere notion of needing to leave kids for an extended amount of time.
If a local race isn’t an option to reduce time away, perhaps a virtual is right. As a bonus, you can do the same race as someone in an entirely different zip code on the exact same day.
8. Be Budget-Minded
Another consideration within race size is budget. Depending on which races you go for, registration can be expensive.
Granted, some races are for charity- watch for the language on websites. The word benefits doesn’t mean as much as all proceeds go toward
If you’re travelling out of town for the race, tack on the travel expenses.
To help with this, it’s wise to create an annual budget that aligns with your goals. You can even self reward training inputs with budget extensions!
The most important thing, though, is to remember to have fun! Any other tips you’d add?
Join me for 5K!
Click on the image below to get your free 5K flexible training schedule + 5 day email course!
Please note you will be enrolled in a 5 day email course when you claim your schedule; this is to ensure you understand the concept and can follow the provided 8 week template ($30 value).