Where should you run your next race?
One of the most common questions I get from runners is “Which race should I do next?” There are simply too many variables at play to be able to give a suitable answer without answering the question with another question.
Are you looking for a "good time" or a good “time”?
If your goal is to have a good time, here are my top 3 recommendations:
- Rock’n’Roll Las Vegas Half or Full (November): The night time start and large crowds aren’t conducive to a PR, but running the strip at night is insanely fun.
- The TCS NYC Marathon (November): The NY course is one of, if the not the, hardest 26.2 miles in the US, but if you want to feel like you’re running on a red carpet the entire time there’s no marathon which comes close to matching the energy. (Note: getting into the TCS NYC Marathon is a feat in of itself. You can qualify, enter a lottery or raise money. Keep that in mind if this is the one you choose.)
- OneAmerica 500 Festival Indy-Mini Marathon (May): One of the largest half marathons in the US also runs along the 2.5 mile Indy 500 track. Yes, running along the track will make you feel fast, but it can’t be easy on those turns and with over 25,000 runners.
If, however, you’re looking for a race to run a good time, here are three to consider:
- Rock’n’Roll Philadelphia (September): One of the fastest courses of the Rock’n’Roll Marathon series, this half marathon is a fantastic course to set a PR (in 2015, a whopping 41 runners qualified for the Olympic trials on this course.) It’s in the fall so your summer running can pay off and with just a few turns and a small hill at the finish line, setting a goal to run quickly here is a good one.
- Phoenix Marathon (February): I encourage you to go look at the elevation profile for the Phoenix Marathon course. Just take a peek. You’ll probably notice a trend: it’s all downhill. You want to qualify for Boston? This could be the race for you.
- Grandma’s Marathon (June): I loved this race. I loved the fans, the city (Duluth, MN) and the course. In 2015, 19.2% of the runners who raced here qualified for Boston. Grandma’s is a perfect blend of fast and fun.