Signing up for races….

group of people doing marathon
Photo by RUN 4 FFWPU on

Do’s and Don’ts when planning your season….

Are you a race junkie? I am. I know the dates when registration opens every year for my favorite events. I don’t even have to write them on the calendar.

I’m also a sucker for Facebook ads. When I see something interesting, I just can’t help but click on it to find out more about the race. This little problem of mine has come back to haunt me so many times, it’s not funny. Well, maybe it is, but not to my bank account.

I work in a clinic that is part of a running store. I see more runners every day than I see trees. I hear about races and have a virtual bucket list that I keep adding to, but I know better than to write all of the races down. Because I will fantasize about doing them all. Every last one.

I also get to hear lots of stories that start like this; “Well, I had a glass of wine, or two, and signing up for the race sounded like a good idea.” Yep, been there.

I know of some women in my running group that actually have a season planning girls night out, where they all sit down and talk about what races they will do and their training plans. I do not attend. If you’re not sure why I don’t go, just reread the above paragraphs.

So, how do you choose an event? Well, I can’t answer that for you; only you know that. But, after making some decisions over the past few years that I regretted, I can offer a few suggestions.

  1. Signing up for races is like getting a tattoo: neither should be done if you have alcohol on board. You’ll just have to trust me on this one. EVERYTHING sounds like a good idea….until morning.
  2. Take a look at your family calendar. Also, consider holidays and time of year. The first year I signed up for a spring marathon, I was not thinking about how difficult it was going to be to run when it was zero degrees outside.
  3. Pick races for your own reason, not because someone suggests that you are ready for a particular distance, etc. I will expand on this idea below.
  4. Consider your bank account. Yes, it’s tempting to sign up early and get the early bird price, but make sure that you are committed and not just signing up because it’s such a good deal.

So, back to #3. This is something that I am passionate about because of how often I see it or hear about it. You do not, I repeat DO NOT, have to run a marathon to call yourself a runner. You DO NOT have to do an Ironman to be a triathlete. You do what makes you happy. Period.

Don’t think that just because you’ve never done a marathon that you need to do one. Because, guess what? You don’t. I know some bada$$ 5 and 10K runners that work harder than most runners I know, and I respect that. I also know some sprint triathletes that can destroy people on race day and put in crazy training, and I respect that. Worry about yourself and your goals and don’t let anything that anyone else is doing sway you. There, I said it.

So, the bottom line? Plan, dream, decide, and have fun. It’s all about the journey!

Run happy. Run long.


Amy is an ultramarathoner and triathlete, a mother of four, an Exercise Physiologist and a Physical Therapist. She lives with her husband, Dan (also an ultramarathoner and triathlete), and kids in Ohio.


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