how to choose my first 5k race
5k-running how to run training

Signing Up For Your First 5k Race

My wife made me do it. After the 3rd one.

You’re feeling comfortable running and are ready to test your self and sign up for a 5k race. Whether you plan to run an entire 5k race or implement a Run/Walk strategy, It’s awesome that you are going to sign up for your first 5k race!

Here’s what you need to know to sign up for your first race

Picking your first race is a challenge in itself – with factors such as distance, location, elevation gain, and weather all changing how comfortable and successful you will be.  Oh yeah, and the metals matter too! And don’t forget about that cool race shirt too! :). Seriously, about 35 percent of racers consider the location to be the biggest factor in choosing a race, while another 25 percent really care about the swag.   The cost can be a consideration too.

Choosing My First Race Location

Local races are a wonderful way to get started and feel comfortable.  In the Northwest we have plenty of races that are happening year-round, but you may want to check our local specialty shoe store for upcoming races.  Holidays invite many races to happen, and you will likely find something like the Shamrock Run or a Turkey Trot to kick off the next holiday.

Picking a Race Based On Swag

Let’s face it.. When you finish your first race, you will be hugging that medal like it’s gold! Many races have awesome medals and great fitting and looking shirts.  Once you have a few races under your belt, the t-shirts that are offered to participants will start to stack up and you may need to make a race shirt quilt!

Races With Reasonable Registration Fees

Marathon runners regularly pay $100+ for their races but you should be able to find a local 5k race that costs around $35-$45.  If you are paying anything more than that, then you should get some pretty sweet swag or be part of a race that is a large regional race with lots of participation.  Keep in mind that many races will implement a waterfall registration pricing strategy – that means that the earlier that you register, the less expensive it will be.

Weather Makes a Difference in Your Race

You can’t really easily predict the weather, but you can prepare for race day weather.  Are you a fair weather runner? Then stick to races in the warmer time of the year with less rain. Are you willing to get out and run in the cold of December with all the other crazy runners? Great, Book It.

The Ups And Downs Of A Race Course

Have you ever heard someone bragging about the elevation gain that they encountered on a run?  Well, that’s beause running up hill is hard!  For the beginner runner you should choose a race that will have a limited number hills and one that is relatively flat.  A 100 ft elevation gain isn’t too much if it’s spread out.  Many race websites will tell you how much the elevation gain is so that you can plan accordingly.

Race With People That You Are Comfortable With

Racing with seasoned athletes sounds like a great idea…until you’re waiving to them from last place in the race!  Of course, you shouldn’t really get into the comparison trap of how fast you are compared to others, but still, it sucks to be in last place.  Smaller and local races are a great place to start to get your feet wet (actually, you should try to keep them dry).  Run with a friend, run with a group, just go out and run, you’ll meet new friends along the way.

We hope you have a wonderful first race!





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Hi! I wasn’t a runner either. This is my journey of understanding how to run, getting in shape, and joining the running community.

This is where I started.