What’s Your Type? Match Your Personality to the Running Race of Your Dreams

Julie Bitely

| 3 min read

how to pick a perfect race
If you’re a newbie runner, signing up for your first race can be just the nudge you need to go all in with your training.
Deciding on the right race for you depends on a variety of factors, including your personality and interests. We’ve matched up different types of races to the personality they’d be perfect for. Find your “type” and get your dream race on the calendar.
  • Hometown Hero? Sign up for a Road Race: These are great races to get started with as you can typically find one close to your town and training is simply a matter of getting the miles in. Measured in kilometers, training plans abound online for beginner 5K, 10K or 25K distances. Translated into miles, that’s 3.1, 6.2 and 15.5, respectively.
  • Overachiever? Sign up for a Marathon: If chasing and crushing goals is kind of your thing, you’ll be slapping a sticker boasting 26.2 (the number of miles you’ll run in this race) on the back of your car in no time. Well, maybe a little time as training plans can be as long as six months, which requires physical and mental stamina. Still, setting this lofty goal can really focus your training efforts and the sense of accomplishment you’ll feel crossing the finish line is worth it. Most marathons are also run with a half-marathon, so if you get injured or can’t keep the commitment, you’ll likely be able to drop down to the 13.1-mile distance.
  • Social Butterfly? Sign up for a Fun Run: If you’re not worried about your time and like to laugh, find a local themed run. There are lots of races around the holidays that encourage dressing up – think feathers at your local turkey trot or your finest elf attire at a Santa dash. You can find color runs in bigger cities during the summer and many breweries in Michigan put on, well, beer runs. You’re going to need to cool down afterward, right? If you click on the calendar at RunMichigan.com, you can search for races by date and distance. Find the race that speaks to your fun side and sign up with some friends!
  • Adrenaline Junkie? Sign up for an Obstacle Race: You’ll conquer strength and agility obstacles along the race route when you sign up for these sometimes grueling races. With brand names such as Tough Mudder and Warrior Dash, as well as locally-produced events, you’ll get a great workout and you’ll probably be a little filthy at the end. Remember to pack a change of clothes as you prepare for battle.
  • Nature Lover? Sign up for a Trail Run: More challenging than road races thanks to the rugged terrain, trail runs are the perfect way to commune with nature. You’ll want to train on trails similar to the ones you’ll be racing through. If the ground is particularly treacherous, you might want to invest in running shoes specifically designed for trails to better help you navigate steep hills and to protect your feet.
There’s nothing scientific about these match-ups, so feel free to disregard your “type” and run them all to find the best fit. No matter what you sign up for, remember that finishing is always an acceptable goal, especially for your first race!
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Photo credit: Mike Boening Photography (main image), GoToVan (hometown hero), Gregory Regalado (overachiever), Scooter Lowrimore (social butterfly), JBLM MWR (adrenaline junkie), Deanna Young (nature lover)

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