It can be daunting planning your 2015 race calendar, particularly when we’re still in 2014 (though, not for long). However, given how quickly races can fill up and the amount of time and commitment it takes to train for some races, it’s good to have a plan.
But where do you start? There are so many great races out there—how do you narrow down the field? My 7-point guide will help you choose races that will keep your 2015 calendar both inspiring and challenging.
1) The “A” Race
These are the bucket list races—those races that you’ve thought about for years, perhaps even dreamed of doing. These races usually require a significant amount of training, commitment, or even travel, but they are in your blood, beckoning you to the starting line. My goal for 2015 is to complete my first 50-miler. I’m looking at the Siskiyou Out Back Trail Run (SOB) or White River— do you have a race suggestion? Let me know.
2) The Repeat Race
We all have our favorite races, those races that we go back to every year, maybe to improve our time or see familiar faces, but generally we do these races because there’s something special about them. My Repeat Race has always been the Pikes Peak Marathon.
3) The Challenge Race
It’s always good to step outside of your comfort zone. If hills challenge you, look for a course that is particularly hilly or consider a distance that you haven’t attempted before. Never run a trail race before? Here’s your chance! Given that I love hills (yes, love ‘em) and a 50-miler is my “A” Race, I’ll have to give this one some thought. Perhaps I need to switch it up and consider a duathlon or triathlon?
4) The Just-for-Fun Race
These races don’t typically require a ton of commitment or training, but they remind us why we do what we do—running is fun (well, usually) and provides great camaraderie. While it may be one tough race, the White Salmon Backyard Half always meets this criteria.
5) The Destination Race
I love combining travelling and racing. It’s a great way to experience a new city or even a new country. Though, it’s been a bucket list race for years, Imogene Pass Run in Southwestern Colorado is on my list for 2015.
6) The Unfinished Business Race
These races mean business! Perhaps you weren’t able to start (DNS) a previous race due to unforeseen circumstances or you started, but did not finish (DNF). Whatever the reason, the “Unfinished Business” race is designed for you to finish it—Speedgoat 50K—you’re mine in 2015!
7) The Volunteer Race
Sit at least one race out a year. It’s a great way to give back to the running community and experience a race in a different way. It’s also a good way to scope out a race before you run it. I’m hoping to volunteer at Miwok 100k next May.
We all have budget and life constraints, which may prevent us from fitting all of these race types into our 2015 calendar. However, my 7-point guide provides a good framework for how to think about choosing races. Many races can fill up quickly, particularly popular ones, so know the registration date and time and mark your calendar. It’s wise to have a few Plan B races in mind in case you don’t make it to the starting line of some of your top races.
Need a little more help? Ask runners for recommendations, post questions on running social media sites, or read race reviews online. Trail Runner, Runner’s World, and BibRave are good places to look for ideas and inspiration.
What races are on your list for 2015?