It can be hard to choose an event at the best of times, but with additional COVID guidelines and uncertainties it’s even harder.
But with summer looking hopeful in terms of events and many virtual challenges on the horizon, there’s still plenty of options to get competitive and experience that event atmosphere this year!
When it comes to looking for an event and finding the right one for you, there are some additional things to take into account this year on top of other things you might already need to consider – for example, location might no longer be just a matter of how far you’re willing to travel but also government advice and guidelines.
Keep reading for our advice on how to pick the right event for you this year.
1. Will you feel comfortable being around lots of other people?
No one really knows the outcome of this year, and while it’s very likely events of all sizes could go ahead in the second half of 2021, it can be difficult to know what the climate of the outside world will be.
While the events that went ahead at the end of last year were safe and COVID-secure, it’s a personal decision whether you’ll be comfortable heading to somewhere you might be interacting with a lot of other people. If you’re curious to know what HIGH5’s first post-COVID event looked like, read our blog post about it here.
If you ultimately decide you’re less comfortable with going to an in-person event, there are still plenty of virtual events and challenges you can do in the comfort of your own immediate area! There are plenty of challenges on Strava for any sport preference and level.
2. What type of event is it?
Once you’ve sussed out whether you’ll be comfortable at the event, look at what kind of event it is. Is it in line with your goals? Do you think it’s achievable? Could you push yourself further? What’s the course like? Is it fast and flat or tough and hilly?
For example, you might be thinking about signing up for a half marathon but in the back of your head you think you could take on a marathon – why not challenge yourself! Equally, don’t sign up for a notoriously tough race if you’ve never done an event before. Try to find something at the right level for you!
3. Will I be able to get a spot?
A lot of events that were postponed or cancelled last year rolled over their participants to this season, with a small number of dropouts. Make sure you check the popularity of the event and whether there are enough entries available – while this might not be an issue for some smaller or less high-profile events, you might need to put off a dream race for next year and settle for another option.
4. Where is it?
The next important step is to look at where it is – not just for scenery or ease of travel, although those are important too!
Some questions to ask are: How will I get there – by myself or public transport? Will I need to bring someone with me? How long does it take to get there? Will I need to stay in a hotel?
Once you’ve thought about that, consider any uncertainty and correlate it with when it is – for example, you’re more likely to be able to travel further with ease later on in the year, as oppose to spring. Particularly if your dream event is overseas!
5. When is it?
Another important factor is when the event takes place – both date and time. Do you prefer to race in hot or cooler conditions? Will you be able to get to the start line in time for an early start?
If you’d like to err on the side of caution when it comes to COVID-restrictions, cancellations and safety, it would be best to look at events that are going ahead later on in the year – of which there are plenty
6. What's the atmosphere?
Look at race reviews and the event website to gauge the atmosphere. You should be able to find information on the organisation, friendliness, competitiveness and different features of any event by searching the internet. One website for this is racecheck.com, which allows you to search events by type, location, date, distance and name and read reviews from previous participants. You can also check out our blogs on our favourite picks for triathlon, cycling and running events this year.
And with that, you should be equipped to find the right 2021 event for you!
Not sure where to start with event nutrition? Read our nutrition guides for triathlon, running, cycling and virtual events.
HIGH5 Starter Nutrition Pack
The HIGH5 Starter Nutrition Pack is a great place to start if you want to test our award winning products. It contains the most popular Energy, Hydration and Recovery products to help you get the most from your sport. Get yours here.