Oct 12, 2011 - fitness    No Comments

How I pick a race

In eleven days, I do my next 5k! Holy carp! And this time, I have a vanload of people and an official team shirt. Gulp.


And! AND! We are talking about doing one in November. Double carp.


Lest you think this is impetuous, let me just tell you, it is not. There is serious research that goes into choosing an event, especially for a new runner.

At this point I am only looking at 5ks, but I’m sure it will apply if I were looking at different race times, too. Here’s my criteria:


Look for a Run/Walk. I am not even at the point that I can run the whole 5k, but I know I can walk it. I like the idea of a Run/Walk event because when I need to stop to walk, I feel like I still fit in. 

Find past results. I know, for instance, that I can cover a 5k in under an hour. I don’t necessarily want to be last, of course, but more than that I don’t want to hold other people up. If the event shows the last finisher of a 5k clocking in at under 40 minutes, I don’t want to be there. Yet.

Find a cause. Race for the Cure helped me rationalize the idea of a race, and get over my fear of public exercise, because HELL-O, I am so goddamn lucky to have the health I do, and being surrounded by reminders of that good fortune makes my anxiety seem ridiculous. (Rightfully so.) This next event I am rationalizing as setting an example for the girls like me out there, that they can turn into an athlete whenever they want, that a Hardy Girl can be a Healthy Woman, even after senior year of high school. 

Look for a shorter race within a longer race. I’m not there yet, but when I daydream about what a good next goal would be, I like to fantasize about the Sugarloaf 15k that happens at the same time as the Sugarloaf Marathon. Or a half-marathon that happens during a full marathon. (That is way, way, way in the future. Way. But it will be my strategy for the next level.)

And on to my ‘training’ for this 5k, instead of doing the C25K workouts, I have set my own intervals for 30 minutes via RunKeeper, and doing them on a 5k course. So, the first 30 minutes are scripted, and then I play it by ear as I finish the 5k distance. I feel like this builds my strength, but more importantly, builds my confidence to cover 5k at once. As fall settles in, I know I won’t care for running in the snow, so I am hoping to get some treadmill time in at the gym at work, or to join a gym, because I’d like to set some springtime goals for this crazy running thing, too.

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