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Thought Process of Picking Races (Read 157 times)

LeighDS


Live Free & Run

    I wasn't sure if this belonged in the general running or race board. So I apologize if this is in the wrong board. But anyway:

     

    What is your thought process when deciding what races to run during the course of the year? Location, different course, etc? Just wondering the thought process people have.

     

    For myself, usually a local race is best given my wife and I have two very oung children so it can be hard to take them with us and I feel bad just leaving them for a good portion of the day by themselves at home. But fortunately, my wife's family lives in Maine and mine (as well as ourselves) reside in NH so I can spread out a little bit.

     

    However I am very interested in reading other people's opinions!

    PR

    5K - 22:53 on 10-26-2013

    10K - 51:27 on 9-22-2012

    HM - 1:55:54 on 11-3-2013

     

    Upcoming Races

    Race the Runway 1-Miler - April 5, 2014

    Race the Runway HM - April 5, 2014

    Stonyfield 5K - May 3, 2014 

      I typically pick out 1-2 races per year as "goal" races that I'm going to train for. In general 1 of those races will be decided by what the USATF-NE Grand Prix marathon is and the other is a race that I can find while my wife and I are traveling on vacation. Once I have those two races I look for races that are close to home and fit into training for those two races. If/when I get a BQ, Boston will become my Spring "goal" race and I'll adjust the rest of my races around it.

        I try to stay within 30 minutes of my house for all but a couple/few goal races per year. Fortunately where I live (Eastern MA) that means I still have a lot of options most weekends and even a few weeknights, especially in the spring and fall.

         

        As for goal races I generally go for fast courses and fast fields. My spring goal race is the New Bedford Half since it's the USATF-NE gp race.

        Runners run.


        Fat butt on couch

          Goal race - typically a flat course is driving factor (not hard in central Indiana)

          Simple weekend race to do a race - proximity, if friends will be there, who is managing the race

           

          With 3 young kids I don't race as much and it takes a lot for me to want to travel overnight for a race...I travel too much already for work.

          "If you want to be a bad a$s, then do what a bad a$s does.  There's your pep talk for today.  Go Run." -- Slo_Hand

           

          MJ5


          Chief Unicorn Officer

            Can I possibly PR?

             

            That's about it. Smile

            Mile 5:49 - 5K 19:58 - 10K 43:06 - HM 1:36:54

              I do about 40 races a year, but why I pick certain ones has changed over time.   Initially I picked Half Marathons that had awesome medals.  Then I pickedraces that I had a shot at placing in them and getting AG awards....But then I got 'enough" of the awards and bling.

               

              So now I run races that I have run in previous years in order to see how much better my time is now on the very same course as compared to last year and the year before.  (PR'ing in different distances is the motivator). Every weekend I have run this year has been an improved time over the same race last year.

               

              Now I am starting to venture out to races in states other than my own.  VA has a race every weekend right here, but I am venturing out to other locations now to travel.  (Florida, Mass, and Ohio are on this years roster.)

               

              I used to pick races that had Bling, then races that I could get an AG award in, then I picked races I could PR in, then I picked the 'big" races (MCM and the like), now Ihave added in location as a factor to picking a race.  --- I guess "all of the above" have been motivating factors.:-)

              .

              The Plan (big parts)→  /// April:  Hampton, VA 24 Hour Run for Cancer  ///   May:  3 Days at the Fair (12 Hour)  ///  Nov:  New York Marathon (Staying at the Waldorf Astoria, its a "Bucket List" thing.  Can someone loan me some Zamunda money to help pay for it?)   ∞

                Since I prefer trail races and travel often for business, I search for locations with challenging trails in the timeframe that I may be in that area which has at least a 10 miler (HMs are my favorites).  I look at the elevation, steepness, technicality (don't like 'groomed' trails), etc. of trails to see if it would be worth the registration fee. I've raced enough trails events to know if I am 'ready' for certain ones or still need to train more. I like running in new race events. I really enjoy Xterra trail series but bummer, it's not near MN (just moved here) but I am looking forward to new trail and road races in and around the upper midwest/northeast.  I run flat paved road courses now and then if it's the only event around (per my location) but trail running is more my preference; challenging every fiber of my body and being actively engaged with my surroundings.  I like distance running versus 5k or 10ks which I consider sprints, and I'm not a sprinter, unless it's a cause close to my heart and the registration fee looks like it's worth the distance. We have family in the SW so on our visits there, I will plan ahead. This tends to take me into more than one state so needless to say, I look forward to these trips.  Thus, I tend to be in training mode all the time. Bling or no bling, if it's a trail race that I feel I can tackle (per smart training/recovery), I go for it.

                PRs In my 50's:  5k=24:30; 10k trail=52:00;10 miler=1:23; HM=1:52; 25K Trail=2:40; FM=4:10

                 

                  When I first started, I looked through the Alaska Runners' Calendar both for short races near me in spring that I could do (field work during summer removed opportunities for summer and fall races) as well as races that looked fun / challenging to do as I built my base and experience over the years. I've worked through that list over the last 10+ yrs - some races died before I got to them, newer ones have sprung up.

                   

                  I generally look for hilly trails, although a hybrid is sometimes acceptable when it's a classic race. I like challenge, but not life-threatening challenges. Fortunately, the more dangerous races (glacial river crossings, pointy ridges, etc)  require people to be a bit faster than me, so they self-select out of my list. Wink  Roots and rocks are fine and welcome.

                   

                  Short races (<2 hrs) generally need to be within 1-1.5 hrs from me. I've driven up to 7+ hrs for a destination race (cool geologic formations), but stay at a nearby hotspring resort and do some other running while I'm there. One of my goal races at one time had been in the Canadian High Arctic, but the race has changed and the logistics of getting there are also a bit more challenging than just driving, involving a bunch of flying. I'm not sure if another race up there is what I'm looking for. I've worked my way through most of my initial list except for the races that have logistical challenges getting there. And I completed my long-term goal race 2 yrs ago. And owing to some scheduling changes, I've got conflicts this year with races I usually do.

                   

                  I like the concept of point-to-point but not the shuttling (usually on your own), so tend to prefer out/back or loops reducing the shuttling logistics.

                   

                  My goal races are usually a 10k early in the season, and my longest race (50mi, 26.2mi, or 10-hr climbathon) later in the season. That's changing this year, but not sure how.

                   

                  The race itself generally has to be hilly or spectacular scenery. If not that, then maybe it's local and supports local trails or some team.

                   

                  There's a fall xc series that I liked to run in (actually raced these) when I didn't have any major fall races. Totally different than my other races - short, fast (mostly groomed ski trails on the one I like), lots of people (I'm nowhere near the last). The only reason I like the wider trails for this is there's close to 1000 people, and to have room to pass, the wider trails are nice. But there's occasional single track making jockeying for position interesting. (most of my other races are <100 people, sometimes in remote areas with bears) Single track trails or ones with pinch points can't handle that many people if you want to race.

                  "So many people get stuck in the routine of life that their dreams waste away. This is about living the dream." - Cave Dog


                  day after day sameness

                    What is your thought process when deciding what races to run during the course of the year? Location, different course, etc? Just wondering the thought process people have.

                     

                    Is it a distance I want to race?

                    Does it work logistically?  (schedule, location, cost, getting an entry, etc)

                    Is there a reason to pick this race over another which fits my goals and schedule?  (location, course, people, field size/makeup, cause, etc)

                     

                    But fortunately, my wife's family lives in Maine and mine (as well as ourselves) reside in NH so I can spread out a little bit.

                    We'll ...see you on the runways in April...and there are some fantastic NH races, and goodness MA is always right next door.

                    I've done my best to live the right way; I get up every morning and go to work each day...

                      I try to stay within 30 minutes of my house for all but a couple/few goal races per year. Fortunately where I live (Eastern MA) that means I still have a lot of options most weekends and even a few weeknights, especially in the spring and fall.

                       

                      As for goal races I generally go for fast courses and fast fields. My spring goal race is the New Bedford Half since it's the USATF-NE gp race.

                      This.  For my goal races, I'm typically trying to run a big PR.  Fast course and fast company usually brings out my best.  So I don't care about placing overall or in AG, and I'd take a bigger race with lots of fast people any day over a smaller race that I might be able to win.

                      “Everything you need is already inside.” -- Bill Bowerman

                      Julia1971


                      All in for Boston

                        If I'm training for a marathon (or marathons), I'll pick those first.  Then, I'll find tune-up races to run leading up to those goal races.  Next probably comes local races that I try to do every year.  They're either big events that everyone runs or smaller ones that I'm attached to for some reason.  During the summer, I try to run a few races just to keep sharp.  I get bored running without racing.  I think the final group are the races other people get me to run for whatever reason.

                         

                        But, generally, I don't travel for races.  There are enough of them in my own back yard.  I try to avoid hilly races or quirky courses (10Ks that are two loops of a 5K course, races on multi-purpose trails rather than roads).  I usually don't run a race in its first year, either.  I like to let them work the kinks out first.  I also don't like small races.  Racing alone feels like the worst tempo run ever.  If I've run the race before, the swag and post-race food also come into play.

                        Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage. - Anais Nin

                        GinnyinPA


                          I'm a beginning runner, and since I have no experience, my criteria are a bit different:  1) Since money is tight, I want something close enough to drive to either the morning of or the day before. 2) I want a small race, where I am not crowded by thousands of strangers, (I get claustrophobic in crowds); 3) I'd like a pretty course - I don't like cities or running through an industrial wasteland 4.) I don't mind hills, or gravel, and since I'm slow it doesn't need to be a fast course.  I think at heart I'm a trail runner, I just don't have the experience yet to do it with other people around.  The HMs around here tend to be rural and hilly, so I have lots of options.  Finding a marathon around here would be harder, I think Freedoms Run is the only one I've heard about that appeals, and even I'm not sure how I'd like 16 miles of canal running.  By the time I have the base to do marathons, perhaps I'll be ready for trail races.


                          Muddling through

                            Where I am in my training is the biggest factor. If I'm not getting in the miles and the quality workouts I'm pretty much limited to 5Ks and the track with the possible exception of a 10K I like to run each year on July 4th. If I'm getting in better mileage and training, then I determine where my focus will be for the year or for the different racing seasons: 800m and mile on the track, short road races (5K-10K), or longer road races. I then pick my goal race(s), usually one per season unless I'm training through the season, eg. skipping indoor track and focusing on building a better base. Specific goal races are chosen based on prior experience at the race, race reputation, course, cost, size, and convenience. Distance has already been determined by the prior factors. Other races are added to the schedule to use as milestones and for evaluation of progress in training, also to get me race sharp as my goal race approaches.

                            2014 Goals: Run first trail ultra, first 100K, and see what I can do in a 24-Hour race

                            mab411


                            Proboscis Colossus

                              Pretty much all about a convenient location for me at this point.  In fact, all of the major races I've run thus far have been in cities where my family lives.

                               

                              Our financial situation is starting to loosen up a little, so we may start looking at races in more "exotic" locations, but we also start running into issues with scheduling.  I'm a teacher, and I have a lot of trouble justifying missed time with the kids just to go run down the street somewhere.  But I'm not sure if I'd be good for much if I tried to fly back Sunday evening to be at work Monday morning.

                              "God guides us on our journey, but careful with those feet." - David Lee Roth, of all people