Consider factors like timing, cost and personal goals when choosing a fitness event to train for.

Race Over? How to Choose Your Next Half Fitness Event

If you ran in the Kaiser Permanente Half Marathon or 5K last weekend, you can probably still feel the adrenaline rush from crossing the finish line. Not to mention that thrill you get from picking up your medal. If so, you’re probably already looking for ways to sustain that feeling and maintain your fitness momentum by signing up for a new race or fitness event. Here are some tips on how to choose a follow-up.

Take Timing into Consideration

Training is hard enough without trying to do it when you’re under a lot of pressure at work. So when choosing running or other fitness events, look for ones that don’t coincide with big deadlines or presentations. Likewise for big social events; nothing like planning a wedding, baby shower or other big event for monopolizing your schedule. Weather can also be a factor, unless you’re someone who doesn’t mind running when it’s cold and wet, or hot and steamy. (This is why so many races take place in the fall and spring.) Timing may also influence your choice of event; while training for a 5K is fairly flexible, marathon training requires longer-mileage runs that will cut into your weekend time. The good news is you can push your body to exciting new levels in each one.  It is all about what you are up for.

Be Cost Conscious

No question about it, some fitness events cost more than others. Registration fees can vary quite a bit, and then there are all the other costs to consider as well. A hotel room might run you $85 in one part of the country, and $300 in another, not to mention meals and even flights. Planning well in advance can make a huge difference, too; many fitness events have early bird pricing that can cut your fees in half.

Go for Personal Goals

Knowing what you want to get out of a race is key to choosing the right one. Are you looking to up your mileage, or beat a previous time? Or is this race all about fun? When planning a race as a social event with friends, look for one in a pretty area, or with some additional fun factor, such as a race through wine country.

Find Out What Others Have to Say

Not all fitness events are created equal. In addition to size and the layout of the course, fitness events vary in terms of how they’re planned and operated. Some are run like well-oiled machines, others are smaller scale and require greater tolerance for disorganization. Luckily, you can find reviews and commentary about most better-known running events. Look on running boards or simply google the name of the event plus the word “review” or “recap” to get the lowdown.

Melanie Haiken writes about health, wellness and fitness for national magazines and websites. She specializes in discovering and reporting the latest research on diet, nutrition, fitness, weight loss and other health-related topics. Her award-winning stories have appeared in Fitness, Shape, Health, Forbes, and other respected magazines. She also contributes health stories to numerous Kaiser Permanente newsletters and other publications.