How to sign up for your First Race
Thinking about running your first 5k? Or maybe your feeling a little more ambitious and your going for a full marathon. Either way, here are some tips to navigate your way through registering for your first race.
1) Believe in yourself!!!
Don’t let anyone tell you your dream isn’t possible! It’s 100% possible with the right training you can get there! I crossed my first marathon line with improper training- not what I would suggest. But it goes to show you that you'll be able to do whatever you set your mind to.
2) Consider your training background.
Have you been running for years? Have you experienced a few 5ks? If you are starting a race at a beginning level you are going to have to be ok with looking/ asking for help. Use your resources. Do you have local running group or club? Become involved, if not find a virtual one. Go into your local running store, and make running buddies/ mentors. If you've been running for years, use your prior training and knowledge to help guide you in choosing a race right for you.
3) Consider the length of time for training.
Do you want to run a marathon in two weeks? That is probably not the healthiest, wisest decision. I would recommend the following table as resource. Hoping that it guides you in making a decision of a time required to train for a specific event. If you injury prone or inexperienced I would suggest a longer training schedule. If you've run a few races already you might be able to squeak by making the minimum amount of training required. I would also take in to consideration your life, are you planning a big trip or getting married. Both of these thing could derail your training.
4) Consider the course.
Are you looking for a trail or a road race? Both are very different and hold pros and cons. Trail races tend to have more cushioning than a road race, which is good for a injury prone runner. However you do have to watch your footing and be a little more conscious. Road races tend to allow someone to run a bit faster, but tend to be a bit more stressful on your body. Another course consideration is, are you looking for a flat course or do you enjoy the hills? A flat course is ideal for a beginner or someone looking to PR (personal record). With that being said, my marathon PR comes from a hillier course and I enjoy the race even with the hills. When registering for your race determine your comfort level and preferences.
6) Pick your kind of support.
I have participated in races with 20 people racing and I've raced in races 45,000 people. One experience was not better than the other, just different. Maybe if it's your first race you don't want the pressure of running with 45,000 people. Know that larger races tend to draw out larger crowds. If you want to feel the love of multiple people cheering you on and supporting your race. Maybe you want to pick a larger race for the spectator crowd. Smaller races also tend to have less on course support, however I would not say this is true for all races. But, if you hate running with a water pack and your doing a marathon. I would research that the marathon you plan on attending will have aid stations.
7) Pick your benefits.
Who loves race bling? I do! Race bling is the race medal you receive for completing the run. Some races do not hand out medals. Some races will hand out plaques or various other memorabilia in place of a race medal. Some races give you a shirt. Some races give you a post race beer, or better yet a whole meal. Whatever motivates you to get through the race. Make sure it's waiting for you at the finish line!
Is there something I missed?
Leave me a comment below and help out your fellow runners.