Early Bird Risks the Cash

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Are you willing to do early bird registration for races?  Or do you wait until the last moment to sign up?

I was thinking about this last night; I have no intention of actually signing up for my (hopeful) September and October triathlons until I’m very deep into training and 100% sure I can safely do the races.  The races won’t sell out; I’m more worried about my ability to compete.  I don’t want to be out $80 or so unnecessarily. 


However, until normal circumstances, I usually sign up for races pretty early so I can get the early bird discount (it can be as much as $20 for larger races).


Out of all my races, I think I’ve only had to bail on two or three that I pre-registered for.  It sucks to lose the money, of course, but overall, I’ve saved WAY more than I’ve lost by registering in advance.  A few times, I’ve simply not felt up to doing the longer distance and dropped down to a shorter distance, if the race offered that option (like I signed up for a 10K and ran the 5K route instead).  And of course, there are many races that you MUST pre-register for – the big ones usually sell out.


So – are you an early bird?  Or do you hate committing to a race so far in advance?


Speaking of early, I ate lunch way sooner than normal.  I was hungry!  Fun fact:  breastfeeding burns so many calories, it’s kind of like I run 6.25 miles everyday.  Kind of being the operative word. Winking smile


DadHTP came over to see Henry and brought That food.  I had the red curry.


Happy Thursday!  The weekend is almost heeeeeere.



  • Faith @ For the Health of It June 28, 2012, 1:59 pm

    For my first race, I forked out ahead of time. I knew it was the only way to get me to commit! Then I caught the bug and was SO excited to do more I knew I could train without forcing myself – ha.

    I got burned by the Green Cove Springs 8k I registered for way in advance though! A storm passed through that morning and they cancelled the race without offering a refund or reschedule. I understood that the weather was out of their control, but it really burned me that they didn’t care about the folks who were out a good chunk of cash!

    • Sunny June 28, 2012, 2:03 pm

      This is horrible and I’d be pretty ticked. I realize its normally in the fine print but I guess I just assumed they’d allow you to roll your registration to the next year or something.

      • Caitlin June 29, 2012, 12:38 pm

        they should’ve given you a discount to do the race the next year, at the very least! boo.

  • Alyse June 28, 2012, 1:59 pm

    I just plopped down $70 for my first half marathon. It’s nine months away. I intend to be prepared. I hope I still like to run by then. 🙂

  • Kendra @ My Full-Thyme Life June 28, 2012, 2:00 pm

    I guess if the race was for a charity and I knew the money wasn’t completely wasted it wouldn’t sting as bad. Now that I think about it, aren’t most races for charity or are there many out there that are purely for the competition? I’m not a racing person so I don’t know how it works. Your lunch looks delish. I’m heading out for my lunch break now! By the way, have you noticed Henry reacting to your breastmilk after eating certain foods? My son pretty much didn’t get bothered by anything I ate except for one time when I ate some chorizo. He was NOT happy!

    • Caitlin June 28, 2012, 2:04 pm

      This is a good question. I don’t know! I doubt most races even for charity give the entire fee over. There are so many costs!

      Henry doesn’t care what I eat. I’ve read some babies are irritated by certain foods but not H Dawg. I’m sure he’s used to certain foods like curry because I ate them the entire time I was pregnant! I wonder if he would react me to eating something I never ate while preggers, like red meat.

      • Kendra @ My Full-Thyme Life June 28, 2012, 3:29 pm

        I think you are right about the food which you eat while preggers. The aforementioned chorizo was not something I ever ate while pregnant and, to be honest, never eat in general. It was random and threw my little peanut for a loop!

        I ate spicy stuff all through my pregnancy too! Thank goodness it didn’t bother him… that would have been a bummer for me. No alcohol AND no spicy food?!? 😉

      • HTPDad June 28, 2012, 8:53 pm

        When I organized charity races, a particularly ‘picky’ lawyer/accountant took me to task for daring to insinuate it was a tax deductible 501(3)c event. I was supposed to somehow ‘impute’ what the event would be if we did it for the hell of it, and only the amount over that was deductible.

    • Alyssa @ Don't Look Down June 28, 2012, 2:56 pm

      I think most races do have some sort of charity benefit but I am guessing it depends on the race. In general I am much more likely to do smaller races because I think they do better with percentage going to charity. I am going to keep this in mind when signing up for future races!

  • Dori June 28, 2012, 2:01 pm

    I always fall for the early bird discounts, and yes, I’ve lost some money. But overall, I tend to run most races so I think it’s been a benefit for me. Great question!

  • Sunny June 28, 2012, 2:01 pm

    I always register early! I feel like I’m losing money if I don’t. I have yet to bail on a race! =) Once its on my calender, I’m running it!

  • Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat June 28, 2012, 2:09 pm

    Ooh great question. I’d say I’m a semi-early bird. I try to at least get some sort of savings, but at the same time, I don’t like having a race hanging over my head for too long or else I start to question whether or not I still really want to do it!

  • Amanda K. June 28, 2012, 2:12 pm

    Usually I go the early bird route.
    It saves money AND keeps you motivated from the start!

    But I was planning to run an 8k after my son was born and ended up backing out, so I’m glad I didn’t dole out the cash. (more on that decision here: http://www.thekriegers.org/post/12562705029/running-its-almost-race-day)

  • Sarah June 28, 2012, 2:12 pm

    Where do you get your Thai food from? I’m gluten free in CLT, too, and always looking for more places to be able to eat safely.

    • Caitlin June 29, 2012, 12:39 pm

      Thai Taste is the best!

  • Mai June 28, 2012, 2:18 pm

    I’m usually afraid to commit early, but last time, the race sold out! For my upcoming triathlon, I signed up early so I would keep up with my training. It’s been a great motivator. 😀

  • Army Amy* June 28, 2012, 2:43 pm

    There is a fantastic race in my area that is super reasonable. I wanted to sign up for it (The full was only $60!) but the chance of me moving is 50/50 right now. I just can’t do it. I decided if I don’t move, I’m going to make some signs and be a spectator instead.*

  • Alyssa @ Don't Look Down June 28, 2012, 2:49 pm

    For me it depends on the savings and the amount of time before a race. For my half Ironman it was $25 price jump for registering early (and it is a very expensive race to begin with) so it was definitely worth signing up for early. I’m looking at another race for the fall and it’s only a $5 savings and since I’m not sure about it I’ll just wait.

  • Lindsey June 28, 2012, 2:49 pm

    I sometimes sign up early, or I might sign up half way through. I do not like to register too early, but again not willing to pay way more to register late.

  • Megan June 28, 2012, 3:02 pm

    I’m an early bird…hate spending more money for the same thing! The thought that I already put the money out is more motivation to train and complete! I’ve skipped one race because it was an adventure run and my friend I’d signed up with hadn’t really trained and decided not to do it and I didn’t want to go alone. I have a verbal commitment for another, but that one I actually am waiting on signing up for, even though the emails about the rising prices are driving me nuts!

  • jameil June 28, 2012, 3:20 pm

    I need that early discount! I really don’t like people getting a better deal than me!

  • Michaela June 28, 2012, 3:27 pm

    Last year I had to register in February for the Chicago marathon ($145) that was in October. I don’t usually register so early but I knew if I didn’t I wouldn’t get a spot. The problem was I was running a marathon that April too. I pushed it too hard, got injured and had to stop running for a couple months. Luckily the injury was after the April Mary.. Because it was so expensive (and for profit), I didn’t want to see my money go to waste. I sold my bib for chicago on Craigslist. I know some people don’t agree with this. What do you think?

  • Susan June 28, 2012, 3:50 pm

    I’ve been burned THREE times by the same race! I’ve registered for the same 1/2 marathon three years in a row and have yet to run it. The first year I found out I was pregnant a couple of months before the race and horrendous morning sickness kept me from training properly. The second yea I felt really ready and then developed Achilles tendinitis 2 weeks before. And this year, I developed plantar fasciitis a few weeks before (and yes, I’ve re-examined my training!). But, I still generally register well in advance for races for fear of selling out.

  • Ashley June 28, 2012, 4:01 pm

    I always sign up last minute, it is a terrible habit. I’m always paranoid I won’t end up being able to do the race so I wait to sign-up. That is how I spent $200 on a half marathon, 5k and 4 mile run in one month. Plus another $50 for a 10k the next month. Those are LOCAL races. Nothing incredibly huge. I kick myself every time!

    Also? I am now craving some take out like its my job.

  • Annette@FitnessPerks June 28, 2012, 4:13 pm

    I try to sign up early, b/c I HATE knowing that I could HAVE saved money by deciding earlier. I’ve never had to drop out though, so far so good!

    Yummy looking lunch!

  • Katie H. June 28, 2012, 4:30 pm

    I always register early to get the best price, and as a commitment to myself–having spent the money, I’m very unlikely to slack on training! However, I can understand why you would want to wait this time.

  • Hillary June 28, 2012, 4:36 pm

    I always do the early bird registration—I need that financial commitment to keep me motivated during training!

  • Lexi @ You, Me, & A World to See June 28, 2012, 5:13 pm

    I’m an early-bird with some things because I can be so Type A, but at the same time, I’m always running late. Best of both worlds? 🙂

  • Karlee June 28, 2012, 5:22 pm

    red curry is my favorite meal of all time!!! i’ve tried to recreate my favorite restaurant’s version so many times with no success : /.

  • Lisa June 28, 2012, 6:03 pm

    I’m an early bird, but I recently had to drop out of a race due to finding out that I’m pregnant!!! 😉

    • Caitlin June 29, 2012, 12:41 pm


  • Katie @ Peace Love and Oats June 28, 2012, 6:33 pm

    I usually try and sign up early, but only for key races. For smaller races I wait to make sure I want to do it, sometimes if I have too many races I feel overwhelmed and burnt out

  • @HilaryFleming June 28, 2012, 6:39 pm

    I don’t really race…however, I have a random question about your Thai red curry dish. I literally cooked something similar to this in the crockpot 2 days ago and was reminded how delicious spicy curry dishes are. However, when my first baby was little and I was breastfeeding, if I ate anything like that at all he would be up all night screaming. Did you have any issues with Henry? I am literally going to have a baby in a week and was pining for my curry, but saw that it worked for you and thought maybe this is just an individual baby thing.

    • CaitlinHTP June 28, 2012, 6:41 pm

      That sucks 🙁 No, he doesn’t seem to react to anything I eat – did you eat curry while pregnant?

  • Molly @ RDexposed June 28, 2012, 7:04 pm

    I pulled an early bird and now my foot is hurting. I hope to not be eating that money!

  • Elizabeth June 28, 2012, 9:33 pm

    I typically sign up for races as soon as I decide to run them – which is usually early enough to either be in at least the second pricing tier. Fun facts, 1) A race I ran in November assigned Bib#’s by the order in which you registered – I was bib #1! 2) I called out sick so that I could register as soon as the website opened for the BAA Distance Medley (I still was only #349 and I had a confirmed registration at 3 minutes after it opened).

    I only waited to the last minute for one race and that was for a half this past March – I decided on a Tuesday that I was going to run the race that Sunday even though I hadn’t run a single step since my last half 3 weeks prior. I PR’d. By just under 20 minutes.

  • Julia H. @ Going Gulia June 28, 2012, 10:36 pm

    I signed up for my first half marathon last month, and the race isn’t until October. I was a little nervous signing up 5 months in advance, but I wanted to be committed to a goal and knew I wouldn’t back out of it if I had already paid! So far so good with training…hopefully things stay that way!!!

  • Alex @ Healthy Life Happy Wife June 28, 2012, 11:26 pm

    I like signing up early! Love getting a deal 🙂

  • Brittney June 29, 2012, 8:45 am

    I’m a late registerer. I didn’t even sign up for my marathon til I’d done like a 16-18 mile training run and was almost totally trained for it, because I was so paranoid I would change my mind or get injured! The good news is, I’ve never NOT done a race I’ve registered for, so I haven’t lost any money.

  • Amber June 29, 2012, 10:01 am

    I normaly register early, but I’m considering a marathon and I won’t regiser for that until I’m into training a little.

  • ChattyNatty June 29, 2012, 10:18 am

    I’m an early bird sign up girl. It keeps me on track and knock on wood- knock, knock- I’ve never not been able to start or finish a race due to injury. A lot of the races I do you actually have to sign up early if you want to get in. I too like the early bird sign up perk.

  • Heidi June 30, 2012, 12:12 pm

    I usually try to register early for races – and if i absolutely have to bail (like on a local 10k i recently decided not to run) I feel less bad (granted that one was like $5 to register…). If i spend a lot of money on a race though I will go through hell or high water to make sure I’m prepared to race it.

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