Thinking about signing up for a race?

Happy day to you!

Are you like this dog? Are you stuck?

Do you want to sign up for a race, but are afraid of the commitment?

Allow me to help you!

As you have probably noticed, by checking out my racing calendar I ran 9 half marathons last year, and plan to run 11 more half marathons and atleast 3 (maybe) marathons this year.

So, I would like to think that I have a LITTLE experience in picking a race.


Because I have made the mistakes, paid the price, and lived to tell you about it.So learn from my mistakes!

Signing up for a race can be as simple as picking a date and clicking submit.

But, making a huge decision like that without any forethought can have disastrous consequences.


Not only that, but it can be a waste of your time, energy, and hard earned money.


So do yourself a favor and use the Five W’s when signing up for a race.

The Five W’s you say?

Yeah dude, the very same Five W’s you learned in 3rd grade…

Who, What, Where, When, and Why!

WHO! Think  about  who  might  be  entering  or  involved  with  the  race itself.  Are  you  used  to running with  a  friend  or  running  group?  Ask  them  about  their  racing  plans.  Most  runners  love to discuss what is next on their running calendar (I sure as heck do).  Or  maybe  you  are a  lone  wolf  who  enjoys doing  your  own  thing.  Your  local  running  specialty  shop  will  be  able  to  direct you to  a  race  that’s  just  far  enough  out  of  town  where  you  can  keep  the  anonymity you  love  while  enjoying  the  racing  atmosphere.

WHAT! Think  about  what  distance you are comfortable with right now.  Do  you  like  that  intense  burst  of  pain  that  is  over with (fairly) quickly?  Then go for a  mile  or  5k  race.  Or  maybe  you  like  getting  in  a groove  and  clicking  off  mile  after  mile.  Consider  a  half  marathon  or  full  marathon. Have the  need  for  speed  but  not excited about the idea of  a short race?  Consider  a  5 mile,  10k or 15K.

WHERE! Location  is  a  huge  factor  for  most  people  when  choosing  a  race.  Do  you  like feeling of running  on familiar  turf?  Choose  a  local  race!  You  will  know  what  to  expect  from  the  course (which is very empowering!) and might  be  lucky  enough  to  hear  cheers  from  friends  and  family.  Do  you  want  a  change  of scenery?  Plan  a  run-cation!  Maybe  you  could invite  friends  or  other  loved  ones  along  for  some  post  race  celebrating.  When  choosing location,  remember  to  think  about  other  details  like  course  elevation,  terrain,  etc.

WHEN! Think  about  the  time  of  the  day/year  you  want  to  race.  Are you like me and absolutely hate the heat? Does  the  thought  of  going  outside  when  it’s  freezing outside have you shaking in your running shoes? While  you  can’t  exactly choose  the  weather  on  race  day, certain  times  of  the  day/year are FAR better  for  racing  than  others  in  many  parts  of  the  country. Check the historical weather maps to see what the weather is usually like for a race in the area you are leaning towards.
WHY! Many  of  us  run  for  a  reason.  Do  you  want  to  give  back  to  a  good  cause?  Many  races benefit  local  communities  and  charities.  Do  you  run  to  be  a  positive  influence  for  your family?  Invite  them  to  be  in the cheering section  on  your  big  day.  Do  you  run  for  yourself? Choose  a  race  that  excites  you!


As I mentioned, you can’t always pick the perfect race or run in the perfect weather conditions, but certain races appeal to certain people.


I personally am IN LOVE with races put on by Destination Races because run through beautiful wine country areas throughout the US and Canada.


Not only is the scenery beautiful, but there is a few hours of wine tasting at the end.


I think that location, post-race celebration, and the hype/excitement leading up to the race is important.


It is one of the reasons why I sign up for the races that I do.




For more information about local races in your area or state, check out websites like Running in the USA, and


Once you have a few ideas written down, search for race reviews online (or better yet, check out for tons and tons of race reviews!!!) to learn more about their perks and/or downfalls.


I have also written a number of race reviews here, check them out too!


Lastly, don’t be afraid to make the jump!


You have a HUGE community of like-minded individuals who are here to help you along your journey, pick you up when you fall, and cheer for you when you succeed!




Let’s connect!


10 thoughts on “Thinking about signing up for a race?

  1. eltonas37 says:

    Some good advice there 🙂

    With USABaker here and I see your point totally. I won’t enter a shorter race if it’s expensive or travel too far for it. I do enter a couple of local races (usually fell/mountain) as the money does tend to stay in the local area, which is very important to me. Fell running races are dirt-cheap anyway here in the UK and North Wales and are always really well run (pun could be intended!) I won’t pay for a half but generally, I prefer full marathons and will travel to e.g: I’m doing the Edinburgh Marathon end of May which is a long way from North Wales, but we have friends there so it’s a good reason to visit also 🙂

    I guess I’m lucky that I live in an area where there’s lots of cheap events that I can either run with my club and friends (Eryri Harriers) or individually. The Snowdonia Trail Marathon for example, is about £35 and good value as it’s 29 miles!

    But good prep is everything as is ‘wine-o-clock’ afterwards! 😀 🙂


  2. usabaker says:

    Running in So. Cal, everything is pretty much the same Hill or Coastline is really about the only choices. My problem is I’m still not able to warp my head around paying to run. 5K, and 10K, I run those 4/5 times every week so I find myself looking for half and full marathons but FEW are for charity and most are priced way outside what I view as reasonable, I don’t mind dropping 100/125 on a charity run, it for a cause; but I’ve issues with things like Hot Chocolate runs and the like; why? Beside the Triathlon this month, ugh.. I’ve not even trained for, the only run I’ve signed up for is the ACT for Military in support of Autism but its only a 10K. Just can’t figure out how to rationalize running for a $100 chucnk of pot metal, Am I missing something? – Confused in San Diego

    Liked by 1 person

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