Picking the Right Marathon

Okay so you’ve resolved to run a marathon in 2011, but aren’t sure which one will be the best for you? Here are a few tip to help you consider which race is best:

#1 — Timing: The ideal marathon will give you at least three months of good outdoor running prior to race day. It will fall on a quiet time of year for you, either personally or professionally. There will be options for half marathons and other local running events that will keep you motivated and on track. You will have had at least 4 if not 8 weeks of downtime from your previous big race, so residual fatigue isn’t an issue.

#2 — Terrain: You might love the punishment of steep hills and oxygen-starved air; perhaps your crave epic scenery or the taste of travel to another part of the world. Or maybe you just want to drag race the whole way. Whatever you chose, make sure the race you pick has the terrain that matches your goals for the event. Watching total marathon newbies suffer on challenging courses because they didn’t know what they were in for isn’t fun…and it can be avoided if you do your homework.

#3 — Conditions: Make sure to research the weather on / around the race date of choice. Do a web search for race reports and forum posts about the event to learn what others have said. A race in Florida in January sounds great, for example, until you realize it’s been in the 30s at the start for the past few years. Knowing that the sun beats down on you later in the day, or that the temperature plummets on the other side of the mountain pass will make you a much more informed racer…and lead you to a better overall experience.

#4 — Logistics: Traveling to your next race sounds cool and exciting until you realize it means passports, international flights, a new language, and random dietary changes pre-race. Don’t get me wrong, I am all about adventure. I just want folks to consider just how much bandwidth they have before they pull the trigger on a race that could just be challenging enough so as to suck all the fun out of it.”

Maybe you have some varying goals for your race though. If that’s the case, read more from active.com as they help you focus what you want to accomplish from the race so you can pick the best one.


4 responses to “Picking the Right Marathon

  1. What marathon(s) are you doing this year? Chi-town for a fast course?

    • I’m actually going to do a half here in early June and see how my time is, then use that to reassess if qualifying for Boston in November at the Monumental Marathon is a realistic goal. We’ll see! What about you?

      • No marathons this year…lots of biking instead.

        You can definitely do it. They say on their website that the Monumental Marathon is fast and flat and good for qualifying 🙂 Let me know if you do it; I’d love to come up and cheer you on and run with you some if you need it!

      • Yeah, the Monumental is supposed to be great for qualifying. I’m just not sure I’ll be able to do it. 3:50 I feel confident about, but 3:40? We’ll see! You can come visit and run with me though. 🙂

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