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How to Pick the Right 5K, 10K, Half, or Marathon Race

How to Pick the Right Race For You

Vowed to sign up for a race this year? Before you do, make sure you're picking the right one. Here are four things to do before committing to a race.

Poll your friends: Talk to your race-loving friends to see which courses they recommend, especially if you've never raced before. Your friends are a good place to start since they know what you like, can offer you their personal feedback based on their own experiences, and will be able to offer suggestions of races that gel with your personality and skill level.

Do your research: Every course is different, so it helps to get as much info on the what those miles actually look and feel like before you commit. Check out race review sites like My Favorite Marathon, Yelp entries, or the Runner's World Race Finder for reviews and runner feedback on anything from the pre- and postrace logistics to the sights you'll see while you run.

Give yourself time: You may have the enthusiasm, but if you're not used to long runs, you shouldn't pick a race that's too close on the calendar — you won't have enough time to properly train. A four-month training schedule is a good place start if you want to do a full marathon, so keep this time line in mind before you sign up.

Be prepared: Once you've picked a race and successfully registered, don't delay! It's time to start strong and stick to a training schedule. Your success on race day depends on how seriously you take your training, so don't procrastinate. For a one-stop resource on how and when to train, check out our race-training guide here.

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