You’ve probably noticed race season is upon us—and it’s not all distance running, either! Perhaps you’re looking for a way to test your mettle, or just a fun fitness activity.
With all the options, many competitors get stuck on deciding which event to compete in. You can narrow down your decision by asking yourself this set of simple questions.
- What difficulty level can I handle? There’s little point in signing up for a race you’re likely to injure yourself in, or one that will be too much for you to have a hope of finishing. It takes time to train for a marathon, maybe a half is within reach. And if you’re shoulder or knee is touchy, check out the types of obstacles before you sign up for the mud run.
- How much time until the event? As mentioned above, longer races and intense competitions shouldn’t be taken lightly. If you’re looking to set your competitive bar a bit higher, give yourself plenty of time to train properly. But you’re already in shape to compete within a few weeks, you can choose your race using some other fun criteria.
- How much fun do you want to have? There are hundreds of themes used for competitive events all across the country. You could travel to a race and extend your stay for some extra sightseeing. Or, maybe you feel like you want to get dirty—mud runs are for you. If you’re the free-spirited type you can find anything from an underwear race, to a run through the woods being chased by zombies, to a color run where spectators splash you from head to toe with washable food coloring.
- How serious are you about your performance? Many of the highly themed races will attract more casual entrants, who are there to have some fun as much or more than they are there to try to win or beat a personal best. So if you’re super serious about your performance, you might go for a more traditional event.
- Is there a cause or charity you’d like to support? Many of today’s competitive athletic events draw huge crowds, and as such, serve as a valuable source of fundraising for philanthropic organizations. Since most races charge entry fees, perhaps you’ll like knowing a portion of the proceeds is going to support a cause you care about. From cancer walks to Iron Man events supporting cleft palate surgeries, you can find any number of events that let you use your fitness for the greater good.
- What’s the teeshirt like? On the other end of the spectrum of looking for races that support charity, is the consideration of giveaways. Competitive events typically feature a race teeshirt, so you can tout your participation for years to come. A lot of regular racers like building their collection—when it comes to decision time between events, they’ll go for the one has the better shirt. There are other potential giveaways too, from finisher medals to Viking helmets, something to consider if you’re into a little bling!