Choosing Goal Races


I’ve been pouring over race options lately trying to figure out a plan for 2014. Thanks to GI issues and a tumble that left me seriously hobbled, I came up short in my goal races and there were no PRs this year. While I don’t have all my goals figured out for next year, I am clear on one thing, I’ll be gunning for some personal bests!

Obviously there are lots of factors that can play a role in whether you snag a shiny new PR on race day – some you can control and some you can’t. In talking with Coach Bennett, who I’ll be working with again for my goal race, he urged me to pay much more attention to the course when choosing the race. While that may sound obvious to some, I’ll admit the course map has rarely factored into my races choices before. And while yes my current half marathon PR was earned on the Newton hills, it does make me wonder what kind of time I could put down on a more forgiving course!

So many things to consider: the timing of races (especially in light of family commitments and a goal to go after #14in2014); local vs destination, and now the course map — decisions, decisions!

How do you pick your races?

Do you have your 2014 races figured out yet?



  1. I typically choose races close to home (my race budget is limited) and at this point I prefer to do races that I really like for some reason (it’s all about having fun)

  2. I try to find fun destinations and GOOD WEATHER!

  3. Time of year is probably the first thing I take into account when race planning mostly for heat issues, which I loathe. I’ve only been super strategic on course selection when I’ve gone for my BQs. Both were achieved on relatively flat courses. : )
    All the best with the planning process!

  4. Well, 2013 was my first year running so I kind of went a little crazy doing any race that sounded fun, or wasn’t too expensive locally. I ended the year with 15 5Ks, if you include the two 5K obstacle courses that I ran.

    I have nothing confirmed for 2014 yet, but I have a new goal of finishing a half marathon and a Tough Mudder in 2014. That will be my main focus. I’ll also probably pick some different local ones that I didn’t run this year.

  5. Location is the #1 determinant. I’ve done a number of destination events (Vineman Ironman, Canadian Death Race) but races close to home are usually optimal for performance.

    The only race I really have on my schedule for 2014 may be an early May half marathon.

  6. I pretty much do the same races every year. They are all close to home and well-organized. Work and family obligations make destination races too complicated.

  7. There is a lot to think about when picking the best races for the runner. I definitely take weather into consideration for marathons, that’s for sure! Nothing with the potential for too hot for me. After that, course definitely comes into play. Good luck figuring it all out!

  8. I seem to chose races that LOOK fun and pay very little attention the course. I have a couple registrations already, but I’m seriously considering the RW Heartbreak Hill hat trick…interested??? šŸ™‚

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