Race Registration: What Type Are You?

in Zooma

Do you plan your races out in advance?

A) Of course.  I map out my entire year, do small events every month or so, and culminate my training with one big event.

B) Kind of.  About half of the time, I follow 2 – 4 month training plans and plan to do an event at the end.

C) I just run for fun, and if I hear about a cool event, I sign up a few weeks in advance.

D) Are you kidding me?  I can barely organize a trip to the grocery store.  I sign up the morning of the event.


Have you ever impulsively signed up for a race?

A) Impulsiveness is asking for an injury.

B) Once.  My friend talked me into doing an event with her a week before.

C) A few times.  Snazzy websites always draw me in.

D) Have I ever NOT signed up impulsively for an event?


When you do sign up in advance, what’s your motivation?

A) I’m always nervous my events will sell out and my whole training scheme will be ruined.

B) Registering early helps motivate motivate me during the hard weeks of training.

C) I love getting the early bird rates and saving a couple of bucks.

D) I think signing up early is asking for an injury, a broken-down car, or being old by my crappy boss that I have to work on the weekend.

If you answered more A’s – you are a Super Racer.  Not necessarily the fastest one on the course (but maybe!), you love to race, and it drives your entire exercise regimen.  Improving your own performance is paramount.  If you answered more B’s – you are a Training Plan Punk.  A few times a year, you dedicate yourself to training plans for big, special events.  You’re more likely to sign up for big races with name recognition.  If you answered more C’s, you are Running for the Bling – you run and race for the experience of it and are less likely to be obsessed with improving your personal record.  You’d probably love doing an obstacle run or a mud run!  And if you answered mostly D’s, you’re a Spontaneous Speedster, preferring to run races on the fly.  Sometimes you surprise yourself with your awesome performances but don’t get too upset if the race doesn’t go as you hoped.


According to my entirely non-scientific racing poll, I’m a Training Plan Punk with a slight lean towards Running for the Bling.  Most of the time, I know what event I’m going to tackle a few months in advance, but I occasionally get sucked in by cool websites and promises of pretty race medals and sign up impulsively.  


Other factors that seriously impact whether or not I’ll register and when:


  • How easy the website is to navigate – I once backed out of doing a race because I couldn’t easily figure out how to register. 
  • The promise of sweet race swag – I’m highly motivated by tech t-shirts over cotton shirts, and if I hear a finisher’s medal is involved, I’m there.
  • Whether the early bird rate is really a good deal – if it’s only $5 off, I might hold off on registering, but if it’s $20 or more, my credit card is OUT.  I looooove scoring the early bird special.  Out of all the races that I’ve done, I’ve only had to miss a few that I was registered for, so I’ve saved much more by registering early than I’ve lost by bailing.
  • I really like it when races offer you the opportunity to defer your entry to the next year in case of injury.  But I’ve only seen that once!
  • I’ll register early if signing up sooner means my name gets printed on my bib – love it.

As I mentioned a few weeks back, I’m partnering with ZOOMA women’s race series as a race ambassador (I’m doing their Florida half marathon in January – so pumped!).  ZOOMA wants to know what ‘everywoman’ racers think about all aspects of events – from registration to course design to race swag.  They really want to appeal to all levels of female runners and design their events to be as inclusive and welcoming as possible.  That being said – ZOOMA and I would love to hear how you approach race registration. 


So – what motivates you to sign up for a particular race?  What makes you want to run away (pun intended)?  When do you usually register – far in advance or right before the race?



  • Samantha Angela September 12, 2012, 2:03 pm

    I definitely run for the bling. I like races that are going to be really fun.
    …granted I don’t really do too many races. The only one I’ve done this year is the <a href="http://samanthamenzies.com/home/2012/01/walt-disney-world-marathon-recap/"Disney Marathon. It goes without saying that it was amazingly fun.

  • Samantha Angela September 12, 2012, 2:04 pm

    I definitely run for the bling. I like races that are going to be really fun.
    …granted I don’t really do too many races. The only one I’ve done this year is the Disney Marathon. It goes without saying that it was amazingly fun.

  • Michelle @ Eat Move Balance September 12, 2012, 2:06 pm

    I used to race much more a few years back (marathons, half-marathons) . . . now I just run a few small local races (5K, 10K) and do stuff for fun (like the Dirty Girl Mud Run). It’s actually been a good thing for me . . . less competitive, less intense training, less injuries, etc. 🙂

  • Rachel @ Runner's Tales September 12, 2012, 2:12 pm

    I would be a “Running for the Bling” kind of racer (2 out of 3 C’s) with a slight lean towards a “Super Racer”. I am a huge planner so I love figuring out which races I will be running the next year.

  • Megan@ The Running Doc September 12, 2012, 2:14 pm

    I like to register way in advanced, in fact right now I’m thinking about registering for a marathon that’s not until May 2013! For pretty much every race I’ve registered before I’ve started any serious training because I’ve found that being registered is a serious motivator for me. I guess I’m part super racer and part training plan punk.

  • Julie (A Case of the Runs) September 12, 2012, 2:18 pm

    I POUNCE on early-bird specials, and I’ve never had to cancel. Then again, if I’m not sure at the time, then I usually don’t end up registering at all.

    They used to process mail-in forms without the processing fee (that you’d incur online), but looks like they’ve caught on now. We used to save $5 per registration that way, too.

  • Ellen @ Wannabe Health Nut September 12, 2012, 2:20 pm

    Ohhh yes, just call me the Spontaneous Speedster! I signed up for the NYC half the night before deadline assuming I wouldn’t get in and I did! It was awesome though because it forced me to follow my favorite exercise mantra #dontthinkjustdo 🙂

  • Katie @ Peace Love and Oats September 12, 2012, 2:21 pm

    I think I’d be more likely to spontaneously sign up for races of I could afford it! A few big races and select small ones (unless my dad is paying!) is all I can do. I’d love to do races all the time if I could, there are so many I wish I could do !!!

  • Amber September 12, 2012, 2:24 pm

    Not going to lie good swag never hurts and I’ve signed up for a race or two soley for it. However well organized is the biggest thing. When I find a series I like how its run I stick with it. Quick and easy registration is great and not a lot of extra fees that is just silly. Also an efficent way to do packet pick up is VERY important, I don’t want to stand in line forever for something I’ve already paid for.

    Lastly I like chip timed, I might not be the fastest runner but I still like getting an offical time!


    Oh and a good cause that is always a plus.

  • Whitney September 12, 2012, 2:24 pm

    I choose my half and full marathons by destination and time of year and then by medals and shirts. I like a nice heavy medal and I definitely prefer tech shirts over boring cotton. Also, for halfs and fulls I sign up months in advance so I have the motivation to follow a training plan. I am less picky for shorter races such as 5ks and 10ks and will sign up a couple weeks out. I agree with you that the registration website needs to be straightforward and easy to navigate! 🙂

  • Jess September 12, 2012, 2:25 pm

    I am one to register early. Not that I’ve done a ton of races, but I register to make myself have something to work towards! I have registered for a race a couple weeks out when it lined up with my schedule.

    If there is bling I am SO in! 🙂

  • abbi September 12, 2012, 2:27 pm

    I’m a planner and early signer-upper! Several of the races I’ve done over the past year are ones that sell out within the first few days, if not hours, of opening!

  • Samantha September 12, 2012, 2:43 pm

    I’m a lot like you – Training Plan Punk with a lean toward Running for the Bling. I loooove getting race medals, along with early bird specials, and I generally have an idea of what race I want to run a few months ahead of time. That keeps me motivated to stick with my training because I don’t want the race to suck. I also factor in destination – I’m on a mission to run a half-marathon in every state before I’m 30, and I don’t like jam-packing my year with only races (so I have a diverse social life), so I have to plan accordingly!

  • Rhianne September 12, 2012, 2:49 pm

    I actually MADE money once by signing up early! I got the early bird special for $40 and the race kit included an awesome tech shirt, and a $50 gift card, not to mention a finishers medal.

    • Caitlin September 12, 2012, 2:50 pm


  • Kristy September 12, 2012, 2:57 pm

    I am training for my first half marathon in January. I got all the way to the payment screen on the online application and chickened out. Figured I’d log some more miles before I signed up. Even though I have no doubt that I will sign up and complete the race, I had butterflies in my stomach! I love free T-shirts, but it doesn’t draw me to or prevent me from signing up for a race. This year I am all about completing my 1st half and then doing a bunch of fun runs: color run, glow run, mud run etc.

  • Amanda September 12, 2012, 3:08 pm

    I think I’m more of a training plan punk, but I hope once I build up more of a base (and have more money to spend!) I can sign up for races just for fun =)

  • Alex @ Healthy Life Happy Wife September 12, 2012, 3:10 pm

    I’m definitely a training plan punk! I normally sign up for a race largely due to the location/scenery. I won’t sign up for short races that are expensive…I’ll be more likely to sign up for a half that is pricey before a 5k. I almost always sign up super early though!

  • Lisa in IL September 12, 2012, 3:14 pm

    I have a series of races that are all fundraisers for local charities, those races I always sign up for and ahead of time for the early bird discount & if I complete all 5 I get a “special” sweat shirt! Silly reason but it works. My biggest hurdle for signing up is a race buddy. My husband generally has to work on race days (he’s in retail), my daughter is still in high school cross country & track so ihsa rules won’t allow her to compete several weeks before & several weeks after the season. My other grown children think I should pay for their entry fees if I want a buddy ( umm no not happening). So I generally sign up for other races when I see a friend on fb (lame sauce) that’s signed up for a race. I just want someone to ride with me (I’ll even drive), to start the race with and meet at the finish line. With all that being said I am registered for a Chicago half in October even though I’m flying solo because I get to run in costume!

  • Ashley September 12, 2012, 3:23 pm

    If you don’t like entering early, most races actually have coupon codes available as the race date gets closer. Before entering, I google the race name and “coupon code.” RnR ALWAYS has coupons, but I’ve also found them for smaller races. This may be bad…but once I found a coupon code given to a running club. It was posted on the a public forum on the internet! I didn’t belong to the running club, but I definitely used the code.

    Also I’m a total sucker for good swag – but I mean really good stuff, not the usual medal and tech shirt. I’ll shop around. I’ve gotten a couple of duffel bags and a few sweat shirts/running jackets.

    Finally, I can definitely impulse race. I ran my first ultra this summer on a whim. My friend entered and I said I’d enter and run 20mi with her (my training plan called for 20), then stop. We hit mile 20 and I decided to just keep going…and finished!

  • Allie September 12, 2012, 3:42 pm

    Ha! Totally nailed it. Definitely racing for the bling. A PR would be nice, but I don’t really care. I just want that medal to hang on my medal hanger, and I’m definitely motivated to sign up extremely early (I’ve registered a full year in advance) to get rock-bottom prices.

  • Carina September 12, 2012, 3:46 pm

    Aye, I’m a planner since I tend to do marathons (hard to do on a whim for training and the fact that many fill up). I’m aiming to do all of the World Marathon Majors, and I’ve done about a dozen non-majors as well. But I posted last week on my blog about getting burned by planning ahead. We’ve planned an entire overseas trip for next month around a marathon that got cancelled last week, even though it’s a big race and this would have been its 30th or 31st year. Thankfully it’s somewhere we want to go anyway, but the training runs and work I’ve done over the last few months just got flushed down the drain last week. Unfortunately, finances and vacation days won’t let us just fly to China on a whim if/when the marathon gets rescheduled.

  • Susan September 12, 2012, 3:50 pm

    Super Racer all the way. I decided to sign up for my first marathon – Richmond, November 10 – because when I looked at the website registration was half price. Half price! How could I resist? I always sign up for races ahead of time, know my race schedule by heart, and am disappointed if there is no medal.

  • Heather September 12, 2012, 3:55 pm

    I’m an ambassador for the FL race, guess I will see you there!

  • Wendy September 12, 2012, 4:17 pm

    I have a random question… I see steamed kales on your plates all the time. Do you buy them fresh, frozen or already steamed? 😛 I love kales but I’m so lazy abt cleaning, chopping and prepping.

  • SaraRM September 12, 2012, 4:17 pm

    Im more of a super racer! While I may not preregister, but I typically know what im racing 4-6 months in advance I just wait to sign up because of an always changing schedule. I like fun destination races and do not get excited about local races much at all. I would really love to run the Austin Zooma race bc it is a driveable distance but offers a resort vacation type weekend! LOVE THAT!

  • Annette@FitnessPerks September 12, 2012, 4:18 pm

    I totally am in between. I don’t sign up for races just because of bling, but mostly for convenience- location, how close it is to where a friend lives, travel, parking, etc. I am WAY more about those details. I hate stupid stress on race day!

  • Corrie Anne September 12, 2012, 4:37 pm

    I can’t commit to races!! I’m the worst!!!!!

  • Michal September 12, 2012, 5:28 pm

    The biggest factor for me is location, then cost. I live near DC, and nearly all the races take place in Virginia – but I refuse to drive for longer than the race would take me to run, so that knocks out quite a lot of the options when you’re looking at 5 and 10ks. I’m willing to pay a little more if the race has really good swag, but I frequently balk at the price of registration. I’m one of those people who find it hard to resist buying all ten of the ten-for-one deal, so a really good discount would probably suck me right in.

  • Lisa Eirene (@LisaEirene) September 12, 2012, 5:35 pm

    I definitely check the race ahead of time. I pay attention particularly to elevation (for biking events). Cost is a big factor for me, too, so if a race or event is too expensive I won’t do it.

  • Hillary September 12, 2012, 5:48 pm

    I’ve always gotten the early bird discount, so I guess that says a lot about me, huh?!

  • Lauren September 12, 2012, 5:49 pm

    I am a Training Plan Punk with a Little Super Racer. I care very little about swag, medals, tees; I just want to run. I used to do big races but have sworn them off indefinitely because they can be a logistical nightmare. Now I choose races that are close to home, beautiful courses, and don’t cost an arm and a leg for transport, fees, hotels. I will do a destination race if it meets all my other requirements.

  • Emily September 12, 2012, 6:15 pm

    I’m a B. Although I won’t race a half or longer without a medal. Sorry! Guess I just love the bling.

  • Holly P. @ A Year in Wichita September 12, 2012, 6:38 pm

    I am pretty much choice C all the way. I’m not a very good runner, but I enjoy it. I enjoy it so much more, however, when its a fun theme, or in a gorgeous setting, or if beer is offered post race. Really, if there is just beer…I’ll run for beer!

  • Stellina @ My Yogurt Addiction September 12, 2012, 7:50 pm

    I like to sign up somewhere in the middle UNLESS there is a cap on the amount of people, then I sign up right away! I also love T-Shirts and medals!!!

  • BroccoliHut September 12, 2012, 8:25 pm

    Interesting topic! According to the questions you posted, I run for the bling–I don’t run to PR or anything, I just do it for the fun of it all!

  • Deanna September 12, 2012, 8:33 pm

    As a member of Sole Sisters of Peoria, IL I would like to invite you to join our virtual 5k…
    This is a virtual 5k with tech shirts (Short or Long Sleeve) and Bling (finisher medals)…
    If you live close enough to actually participate in the Cupcake Classic- you also get Cupcakes! 🙂



  • Mai September 13, 2012, 12:16 am

    I am DEFINITELY an “in-advance” person. I just want to be sure that I can handle the distance! 😀

  • healthy ashley September 13, 2012, 7:45 am

    I don’t even need to take the quiz to know which I am 🙂 Super Racer represent!!

  • Keri September 13, 2012, 8:57 am

    I’m also a training plan plunk who has a tendency to swoon over racing medals. I agree with all of your reasoning (though I’ve never done or seen a race that puts your NAME on the bib!!). A couple more reasons that I’d add to your list: if a hotel stay is involved, and the race isn’t 13.1 or longer, it’s not worth the extra $. I also am a sucker for causes–from run for lupus research to race for the cure to humane society, I like that my $ is going somewhere good. And last, I like green races–last summer I ran a 10k and they emailed almost 10 different times that there would be water on the course but NO cups. We ran with our own water bottles and filled them up. There also wasn’t a race bag of schwag (some of which I missed, but I can do with less).

  • Irina @ Chocolatea Time September 13, 2012, 10:11 pm

    I’m just like you – mainly a Training Plan Punk leaning towards Running For The Bling. I love structure and often need races to help motivate me to run, but I can’t deny that medals and cheaper race fees are quite nice as well 🙂

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