So, this being the New Year and all, it’s a great time to start planning your races for the coming year but how do you go about it? Do you have a system or a goal? Or do you just pick random races that look like fun?
I’ve been running for several years now and I’ve planned my races several ways. When I first started, I picked races that looked like fun and as I got better I picked races that looked fun and challenging. As I got more serious about running, I started to choose races based on my distance goals and for the past few years I’ve planned my races based on my PR goals and my knowledge of the courses or reviews, etc.
Regardless of what your goals are, planning is the key to reach them. So, here are some of the steps you should take when planning your races this year.
Do your research and find out as much as you can. Ask your friends who have run the race previously for any input, look at the race web site and search for reviews online. Also take a look at the course and find out as much as you can about the race before you sign up.
Make sure you have enough time to train
If you’re signing up for a half marathon and you’ve never run one before or if your longest run to date is 8 miles, you need to plan your race far enough in advance so that you have time to train. And don’t forget about the taper!
Pick your biggest races first.
I like to pick the races I want to run most first and then I can go ahead and register for them. Some of the bigger races sell out quickly and the prices increase the closer you get to the actual race date so it’s best to go ahead and register. Also, once you register for them you can start training. This year, I’ll be picking my biggest races based on my PR goals, the courses, the race reputation and the fun factor but you should pick your biggest races for your own reasons.
Schedule additional races
After you pick your biggest races you can schedule the additional races you want to run. I usually don’t register for my additional races until 2 months before the event and sometimes even later. That way, if I feel that running any of them will affect my training, or if I think I’m at risk for an injury, I can delete them from my schedule.
Have a back-up plan and be flexible
I like to have a back-up plan just in case some races don’t pan out. Sometimes races get cancelled or something comes up and a scheduled race conflicts with your schedule so have some back up races on the calendar just in case.
How do you plan your races? Do you plan the year in advance? Do you have a method that you use?