Monday, June 27, 2016

How I Decide What Races to Run

Alternate Title : There are 3 races I want to run // do & for my inconvenience, they're all the same weekend.
^But that didn't have quite the same ring did it?

3 races, 1 weekend, & a literal inability to do it all. How do I pick?

There are usually 4 criteria that determine my desire to register, fork over my credit card info & commit my life to training.



1. Budget
I try to keep my running habit as budget friendly as possible. 
What's the entry fee? Would I need to travel for this race? Hotel Room? Gas? Extra meals out?

2. Timeline
I try not to jam pack a weekend - if I know I'll be up late dancing at a wedding on a Saturday, I wouldn't sign myself up to race on a Sunday. Additionally - I wouldn't register for a half marathon that's only 2 or 3 weeks away, when I haven't been training for a half marathon. If I'm going to pay up, I want to be trained up.

3. Race Distance
I don't register for a 5K if I'm looking to race a HM.

4. Uniqueness 
What sets this race apart from the others? Is it a half marathon with an evening start time? Are there unique medals? Is it a relay or distance I wouldn't otherwise race?

Not all races can be unique. Sometimes, if it fits the other 3 categories, uniqueness doesn't matter. $15 for a 5K that fits my timeline & is near my house? Sign me up. An expensive half marathon a 2 hour drive away? It better have something special about it.

BUT...what do you do when 3 races, that all fit the criteria occur on the exact same weekend. Usually I would search out alternate, but similar races & do all 3. Unfortunately, my schedule will not allow for such, nor are alternates readily available. I have to pick & I can only pick one. So, what are my options, what are the pros & cons? 

Option 1 : Ragnar Appalachia  
200 mile-ish relay race, 2 day event, would include 3 trail runs of varying lengths & difficulty
 August 12 - 13th

Pros : Ragnar, a sweet double medal since I'll be doing Ragnar DC this year too, get to try my hand at more trail running, less race more just get yo ass to the finish line.

Cons : Must take a day off work, don't have a team yet, haven't run more than 10 miles on trails in my life, means I can't do options 2 or 3.

Option 2 : Two Face 10K 
2 x 10K, one road race, followed shortly by one trail race
August 14th

Pros : 2 races & 2 medals that hook into 1 sweet, bigger medal, the course is right near my house & put on by my running group.

Cons : I haven't run more than 10 miles on trails in my life, means I can't do options 1 or 3.

Option 3 : Pittsburgh Triathlon  
Sprint Distance - 600M swim, 20K bike, 5K run
August 14th

Pros : I was really bummed I wouldn't get to do a tri this year - racing this would solve that problem, I love tri training - it's built in cross-training.

Cons : Swimming in the Allegheny River, semi - expensive registration, means I can't do options 1 or 2

Option 4 : Olympic Tri + Two Face 10K
Olympic Distance Pittsburgh Triathlon (Saturday - 13th) - 1500M swim, 40K bike, 10K run
Two Face 10K (Sunday - 14th) - 2 x 10K road + trail

Pros : RACE ALL THE RACES! WIN ALL THE MEDALS!

Cons : I usually have terrible ideas, I'm not certain I would like an Olympic Distance tri, I thought the sprint was the perfect distance, I might limit my ability to be competitive in any event, that would be a lot of miles for one weekend + a lot of training.

Which race would you pick - why?
Any other options I'm not thinking of?

I'm linking up with  
Holly & Tricia for Weekend Highlights 
 Marcia x Patty x Erika for Tuesdays on the Run

33 comments:

  1. I try to choose races based on uniqueness - that's one of the more memorable parts! Races are a great excuse to travel to a new place. Thw Twoface 10k sounds like a winner since it's so convenient and the medals sound awesome! Trail runs are my favorite, you could definitely handle 10 miles. I'd love to try a sprint triathalon at some point!

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    1. I loved the sprint tri I did last year, which is why another one made its way into my potential race list! So hard to choose!

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  2. Ahh so many decisions! Okay I may be very biased because 1. I can't swim and 2. just did Ragnar so I'm still in love.. sooo if it were me I'd say Ragnar:) Haha. I'm pretty similar on all of this criteria. I love when there's something unique about a race but if it's convenient, affordable, etc. then I'm totally cool with it. Let us know what you decide!

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    1. Definitely will! Haha, if anything, I'm sort of leaning away from Ragnar because I know I'm already doing one this year. Just figured the double medal & the added trail challenge would be neat.

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  3. I love reading this because I am debating doing my first out of town race - I usually stick to everything I can wake up from my own house - but want the experience of picking one from afar.

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    1. I've done relay races out of town, but all of my half marathons that were out of town were in Cincinnati, near where I grew up, so, I still had a house to sleep in, etc.

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  4. Wow, even with your typical criteria, that is a really tough choice! When I decide races I do usually try to find something unique about them. The Two Face 10K sounds great but getting an opportunity to tri sounds irresistible I'm sure...

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    1. It really is pretty irresistible. If their website had more info I probably would have registered already, but they're a little vague about the course which I don't love.

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  5. Ahhhhhhhhhhh, so many choices!

    Lets be honest, I'd probably make my choice based on the medal, hahahaha!

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    1. Haha, I don't know what the tri medal is like, which is making my decision super tough. Otherwise it would be a big factor in my decision!

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  6. "I usually have terrible ideas""...you are too funny!

    Kudos to you for even putting the tris on your list. That swimming I could not do!

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    1. Swimming was my first sport, so, actually, it's probably my strongest leg of the tri!

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  7. Something similar happened to me this year. I tossed my name in for MCM and then found another trail race I really wanted to do. Since I got into MCM, the trail race will be run next year instead. :) RUN ALL THE RACES!!!!!

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    1. Exactly! Trying to figure out what I don't mind pushing out to next year, ya know.

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  8. I think your list is spot on... I am new to racing, but all the things you put on your list would be deciding factors when I make the decision what races to sign up for. I have yet to do a destination race (because of the associated costs).

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    1. That's the thing, I think, I could run 2+ local races for the same cost as one race away. It's a tough choice.

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  9. I vote for #2, and can't wait to hear what your choice will be!!

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    1. Thanks for the vote Ana! So few people voted, just gave me more to think about. haha. I was hoping folks would make this easy on me!

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  10. I've often wondered why they have races here all on the same weekend, followed by weekends of nothingness. The race directors need to do better planning. Surely they know they'd have increased participation if they spread them out a little? From your list, I'd probably pick Ragnar as I have yet to do one of those! Although, Appalachians sounds intense. Hilly, yes? Thanks for linking with us Jessie.

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    1. I think people probably guess that they're not pulling from the same group of people. Trail running is fairly different from tri's, at least in my mind. But I just happen to love it all!

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  11. I'd totally choose Ragnar, but I don't do triathlons. If I did, I'd be the crazy one racing on Saturday and Sunday.

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    1. Oh man, you have no idea how tempted I am to do both & race Saturday & Sunday. Just not sure if I'm setting myself up for failure.

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  12. i think i would do option 2 because back to back 10k's are trainable, a double medal is awesome, its close to your house and sounds a lot of fun. i think the other options could possibly present injury risks which is never a good thing.

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    1. So sensible! Haha, but I think you're right about option 4 being a bad idea & causing injury. Sigh. But it's so appealing.

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  13. I would pick Ragnar. I would love to do one of those races ! I think they are probably less frequent than the other 2 opportunities.

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    1. Funny enough, Ragnar is what I'm leaning away from, since I'm doing a road Ragnar about a month later in September!

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  14. These all sound like awesome races! It always is so hard to make a choice when you want to run them all but can't!

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    1. Right!? I was planning to do all 3, but when I sat down with my calendar I noticed they were all the same weekend!

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  15. i like #2! the medals that hook into one big one sounds cool haha. honestly, it is so hard to choose a race, especially when they all sound pretty fabulous!

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    1. They're supposed to post a prototype next week so we can see this years updated design, but I know the 2015 medals are super cool, so I'm sure these will be too!

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  16. Man, seems like all of these races are unique... I am not a triathlon athlete, so I'd probably go for option 1 or 2.

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