There is a moment when you have to make a decision. In running, the decision to train for a race, a 5k, a 10k, or even a marathon. Pushing the ‘Submit’ button on a race registration leads to many other decisions in your life. A decision to train, a decision to eat foods that fuel your run and a decision to say no to many other things in your life. Those decisions can teach you about yourself and every one makes you a stronger person and reveals something about you and your goals.
Like I said in a previous post, this year has been harder for me to get motivated, to make the decision to sign up for half marathons or even my 4th marathon. I just haven’t been able to commit to them as easily as I did before.
Two years ago I ran back-to-back weekend half marathons without hardly training. In retrospect, it was probably these rash decisions that led to a bit of my burnout.
So, as a runner, I’ve narrowed down what you need to consider when signing up for races and planning your racing season.
4 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Signing Up For a Race
Do I have time to train? No – this question is not do I have time to race, it is do I have time to train. Racing is not the hard part, racing is easy. The tens to hundreds of hours that go into training before a race is the hard part. Ask yourself, do I truly have time to train? Will work or hobbies or family get in the way of my success? If the answer is yes, consider signing up. If no, rethink your timeframe, and see if you can make changes to work training into your schedule or if you should choose a different race.
Is the race fee in my budget? Races cost $$$$. I have paid anywhere from $15 – $200 dollars to run. Some cost even more. Make sure you check your bank account and your budget before signing up for a race. Races are great and I definitely think they add to the running experience and contribute to being able to get your next PR. But the bottom line is, you can run anywhere for free and have just as much fun! So if you can’t afford it. Save up and run another race in the future. They really do happen every weekend! Don’t play to much into having major FOMO. It’s not worth it, trust me.
Am I healthy? Yes, runners tend to run and race with all sorts of injuries. If you are injured wait until you are fully healed to race. There is no reason to make a small injury into a big injury. Why suffer? Rest up, recover and come back and crush the race next year. Be smart. Talk to your doctor and don’t just listen and then ignore the dr’s advice. Follow it. Your body will thank you in the long run.
Am I doing this race for me or only because all my friends are doing it? This one can be tough. It’s fun to race with friends, even if you aren’t fully trained. But are you truly doing it because you want to? If the answer is no, training may be more than you bargained for. I was talked into my last marathon and my training was terrible to say the least. I got burned out, injured and haven’t run a full marathon since. Signing up just because all of your friends are doing it is not a good reason to race. You have to be excited about the race AND the training.
What does this mean?
If the answers to any of these questions are no, rethink your need to sign up for that next race. With running, going into any race without a plan or signing up on a whim can be detrimental to your final result. This isn’t always the case, but more often than not, if the answer to these questions is no, you are flirting with disaster.
If every answer is yes, by all means, sign up and go crush that race! Get a shiny new PR, another t-shirt to add to the ‘i’ll make a quilt someday out of all these t-shirts pile,’ a medal to hang on your bling wall and enjoy it.
Did I forget to mention a deciding factor you use when planning your races? Share it with me in the comments!