Racing Wisely: Choosing a Destination

Racing can be a fun impetus for travel or a major onus. In this excerpt from Racing Wisely, I explain how to consider location, location, location as you choose a race.

RW thumbChoosing the location of your race wisely can set the stage for your own personal best, and location is a very personal decision. Will you target your local race, because you do best when you sleep in your own bed? Do you like to have the support of local friends and family on the course? Or do you prefer to be anonymous? On the other hand, is there a race that calls you that will require travel? What exactly about the location is appealing? Is it the race itself, or the scenery, or having family or friends who’ll put you up, or the opportunity to visit a new or exciting area? Given the length and demands of your race, will you even have the energy to sightsee? What is your budget?

If you feel stressed about travel, that should tell you something about whether and where you should travel for your race. In chapter 4, we’ll investigate travel planning in depth—a review of that chapter before you commit to your race can help you make a more informed decision.

Think about what terrain and courses suit your strengths. Many athletes choose a race because it is historic, or because a friend has done it and enjoyed it. These reasons may factor into your decision, but they aren’t necessarily setting you up for a personal best. Instead of committing to a race based on its popularity, others’ stories about it, or anyone else’s idea of what makes it special, choose a race that suits your personal strengths. If you live in the mountains, a race at the beach will feel mind- and muscle-numbingly flat, hot, and humid. If you live in the lowlands without many challenging trails, a mountainous run over singletrack can be a lung- and ankle-busting challenge. The more personal your decision is, and the less swayed by other people’s opinions, the better your race-day experience will be.

Read more in Racing Wisely.