So you’ve caught the bug! Yes, yes. We’re all basically crazy people, but you probably know that from your existing running habit. Of course, the statistic that many people cite is that less than 1% of the population has run a marathon. Maybe that’s because running 26.2 miles is 100% bananas, but regardless, you’re about to accomplish a huge feat. Be excited! Then settle down and let’s talk about how to pick your first marathon.
Here are the five ways you can pick your first marathon.
Run a marathon Based on the date.
There are some August and September marathons around here, but that means you have to train through dead-hot summer. Of course, there are several in May and April, but you potentially have to run through blizzards and you definitely have to run in snow. Which do you prefer? Looking for a race in 6 months or a year or it doesn’t matter so long as the season is right? Keep in mind too that if you want to use some local half marathons as training runs, you should pick those and put them on the calendar, too. Check for local races and start looking for ones near your preferred date.
Do one that’s close to home.
There is more than one marathon that starts within two miles of my front door. It’s perfect. I don’t even have to find parking. If I am really saving my legs, I can bike or drive a mile away and still walk in. It’s so convenient to do a race that’s close to home purely for logistical reasons. Plus, you get to sleep in that morning (I mean, not late, but more than if you’re driving from an hour away), and you can run the race course for a training run. It’s so great to know what to expect from the route. Definitely consider a race that’s close to home.
Run a Marathon that’s sentimental.
The first time I ran a long distance race in my hometown was a special day. I saw tons of people I knew, I was very familiar with the route, and I knew people in the area so it was easy to travel and stay in the area. I’ve also done some distance races in areas where I camped as a kid, so they’re special to me and I really enjoy the scenery. Is nostalgia a motivating force? If yes, pick a sentimental location.
Pick a destination race.
Oh man. There are so many amazing bucket list races. Lots of people like to pick a race that will become a vacation for them. Travel out of state to see a friend or make it a family affair. Just keep in mind that it’s hard to stick to your pre-race routine when you’re in vacation mode, and you won’t get to run the course beforehand. Usually, destination races are the kind of thing you want to do when you don’t care how well you perform. Not every race has to be a PR! Especially if it’s somewhere really awesome.
Choose by the theme or cause.
Many races are done to benefit worthwhile charities. Lots of people run the Marine Corps Marathon to honor marines in their family. Other people run a race to support children’s charities or a humanitarian organization in their region. This is as good a reason as any!
Whatever the reason, picking a new race to accomplish is exciting. Get pumped, start thinking about your training plan, and mark your calendar for your first marathon. It’s going to be great!