Running Race in Progress
Photo by Joe Shlabotnik
Some people find it intimidating to register for a road race, especially if it is their first one. There really is no need to be nervous. I recommend registering for a road race as soon as you think that you could possibly finish it (or even earlier!), especially if you are just starting a new workout program and have not been keeping in the best shape for the last few years.

Here are 5 reasons to register now:


Setting a goal 5k, and actually registering for it as soon as you can, is a great way to motivate yourself. It will keep you out there meeting your real goals regarding your health while giving you something tangible to work towards.


You will not want to waste your registration fee, after all, so you are more likely to see the race through than if you decide on a race but wait until race day to actually register.


You will also help the race organizers plan their event because they’ll know that you will be there. As a race director myself, it makes a huge difference when people preregister because it can sometimes be hard to predict how many people are going to register the day of the race.


It is great to have a definite date of when you will be racing for the first time. You can put a post it note on your mirror so that you will see it every morning, and you can mark each day on a calendar. Even as a frequent competitor, I like to plan my races in advance and mark them on my calendars.


The best reason that you have for registering for a race now, though, is because once you get there you will get hooked. Runners are great folk, and are very inviting to new athletes and people no matter what sort of shape they are in or how fast they are. If you meet somebody out on a run, you can tell them what race you are getting ready for and they will instantly start sharing race stories from when they ran it or giving you tips for your first time. When you get to the race, everybody will be happy and having fun no matter seriously they take things.

I do hope that you get hooked on racing; it is one of my favorite activities. A few years ago, a friend of my brother’s visited Maine the weekend of the Beach to Beacon (a very popular 10k that requires preregistration 4 or 5 months in advance) so I brought him to the starting line and convinced one of the ladies on a baggage bus to drive him to the finish.

I believe his exact words to me after I finished were, “I’ve never seen so many happy people in one place!” Even people that were hurting after a particular bad (or good) race were in a good mood and enjoying the post-race festivities.


(If you are lucky, you will pick a race with good food at the finish line. More likely, you will pick a race with average food at the finish, so be sure to ask your fellow runners which races have the good food at the end. That’s a little bonus reason for running some races!)