So you’ve made the leap and decided you’re going to enter an event this season – well done you! At HIGH5 we sponsor a huge number of events covering running, cycling and triathlon, so we know there are lots to choose from and narrowing down such a large selection can seem a bit daunting! Don’t worry – we’ve pulled together all the key things you need to think about to make sure you pick the right event for you.
1. What ‘level’ of ability would you put yourself at?
Take running for example, if you hadn’t mastered your 10k ability, going for a full marathon might be quite the task. Events are supposed to be challenging but enjoyable, so pick an intensity or distance that you know will be stretching you but that you can realistically complete.
2. Be prepared
Different events require different levels of training to complete and also different kit! Make sure you are ready to commit to putting in the ground work so that when you ‘buy all the gear’ you’ve got some idea – At least enough to get your round the course with a smile on your face!
3. How many people do you want watching?
You might have a big family who have been through the 6am training starts or put up with the turbo trainer blocking the TV for so long and want to (begrudgingly or not) come down and support you! Make sure you check how ‘spectator friendly’ the course is, you might find some routes are harder than others to spectate! Alternatively you might want to attack this on your own and a quieter course might be right up your street – everyone’s different and looking for different things in an event which is why there is something for everyone! Check on the event organisers website to find out the route before you sign up and see if it’s as open or remote as you’d like it!
4. Location Location Location - Do you want to stay local or travel?
Some people love scoping out events in new and exciting places, this is great but be warned this adds a whole host of complexities. Depending what wave you sign up for some events start as early as 6:30am and if you have far to travel that means travelling through the night or staying over the night before. Events aren’t cheap which is why you need to be sure you pick the right one –and don’t forget if its far away you will also need to factor travel/ accommodation costs on top of this. That said – a scenic route is priceless and you need to make sure you are motivated around the course, some awesome sights can definitely do that!
TOP TIP Can you turn your event into a holiday – best scenario is you pick somewhere you can take the whole family and turn it into a holiday!
Image by Airborne Lens
5. Where is the start in relation to the end?
Events are hard enough without having to worry about simple things like “where did I leave the car”, not too many participants want to set off on a 26.2 miles run or 50 cycle to then find their car is now inconveniently many miles in the other direction. For example Chester Marathon starts and finishes in the same place... handy!
Image by SportsPicturesCymru
The mention of hills immediately splits a crowd – you either love them or hate them. Neither is wrong but be sure you are well aware of what course you are signing yourself up for? If your training is always on the flat, picking an event which is constantly up and down hills may not be the best idea.
7. Closed road or traffic dodging
I think if you asked most people they would prefer to enter an event which is closed circuit, especially if you are new to the events world this gives you the chance to take part in an event without the pressure of dodging traffic! That said you might want to tackle a city event and these are often harder to lock down.
8. Am I being supported?
It’s always good to check what help, advice or safety teams and marshals are on course. You want to feel safe in the fact if you run or cycle to the top of a hill that there is going to be someone there in case you used all your puff! Or that there are enough stewards to sufficiently direct you round the course and you’re not going to get lost in a woods somewhere.
9. Will there be nutrition on course? (not only that.. will it be HIGH5?!)
The longer the course, the more important this becomes.. ensuring you have the right nutrition to see you round the course is essential and definitely should not be overlooked. You don’t want to be caught out halfway round with nothing when you were supposed to have brought your own! TOP TIP: We provide nutritional guidance for running, cycling and triathlon distances!
Last but not least, make sure you get a shiny medal or t-shirt to show off to your family and friends – you deserve it!
TOP TIP – Personal experiences of events can make or break a decision! And whilst opinion of courses is subjective and should be taken with an open mind, they are a good way of seeing if it would be something you’d enjoy!
Castle Triathlon Series recommend visiting RaceCheck.com for the best independent reviews, and also ask questions on the #UKTriChat and #UKRunChat twitter hashtags. See you all at an event soon!
Thanks to our event partners for their tips and tricks; Hillside Outside, Castle Triathlon Series, 209 events, Active Leisure events, ORA Events, Threshold Sports, All or Nothing Events, UK Triathlon, Golazo Cycling.