Running a race is a great way to both challenge and to motivate yourself in your training. There are a lot of different types of races to get involved in– it isn’t just about running on the road. And don’t think you have to do it alone or figure things out by yourself, in most areas you can find running clubs and companies that specialize in helping you train properly to meet your desired running level. You can also subscribe to RaceTimes online magazine, FREE, for valuable articles and find highlighted events throughout the year.
Check out the following companies / clubs:
RunnersWorld Tulsa – est.1978, provides training, gear, and events
Here are some different types of races that you can take part in.
- Fun Runs
Fun runs are a great way to build up your experience and give yourself a challenge. They are typically 5-10km in distance and often appeal to beginner and intermediate runners.
You can usually find fun runs relatively close to you happening almost every weekend. You can join in either just for the fun of running and/or combine your interests to raise money for charity at the same time.
In many cases, fun runs will be sanctioned by USATF to enable those athletes who want their effort to be certified by a standardized process. The general distances for a lot of fun runs are 3.1 miles (5 km) and 6.21 miles (10 km). They are great to run with friends. Many charities support events and encourage their supporters to run for them to raise money. The charities are there on the event day to support their runners making it a fun and worthwhile event for all involved.
In addition, there are a lot of popular themed running events that bring added entertainment value. If you like to role-play there are costumed themed events, or perhaps you really like a particular food or beverage then you might try beer/wine runs or donut or chocolate runs, sometimes they combine concepts where runners run in costumes and drink beer at each mile marker for example.
- Team Obstacle Racing
If you want to up your fitness efforts and like getting down and dirty, then obstacle racing provides the opportunity to add physical and mental challenges to your running efforts. By running through a series of dark tunnels, wading through ice cold water and maneuvering over/under/through any number of challenges!
The most well-known obstacle races are Tough Mudder and Spartan races which have been springing up all over the world. They are military style obstacle course races and not for the timid or for those with long term injuries, but if it sounds like fun then there are plenty to get involved in.
- Trail Racing
Trail racing is much like cross country racing taking place on grassy/dirt trail type terrain typically on hiking type terrain.
Trail running and racing has some great benefits such as scenic less populated nature locations, less likely to run on hard surfaces, which may increase wear and tear on the joints and generally avoids having to dodge pedestrian or vehicle traffic.
For those wanting to add more challenges than just running a race, triathlons have become increasingly popular with many runners. A triathlon consists of a swim, cycle, and a run to the finish. As more of a whole body fitness experience – a triathlon is a great challenge. Most triathlons consist of a 1500m swim (just under a mile), a 40km mile bike ride (24.85 miles), and a 10k (6.2 mile) run at the end.
If you’ve progressed to the marathon (26.25 miles) level but it doesn’t seem far enough for you, then perhaps ultra-running races might be what you’re looking for. Ultra-marathons are generally races longer than 26.25 miles. There are many events now ranging from 50 miles to 200+ miles with some very famous races across the planet but you can find plenty closer to home to get started.
Deciding on the race that fits you or trying something new is a great way to stay motivated in your running and/or taking your running to the next level, there are many great ways to try something new and decide which race fits you best.