Training for a big race can be motivating and a powerful way to reach your goals. For me, it can also be daunting and anxiety inducing. Yet, my running is at it’s best when I have a race goal and a tangible time frame for my training. The best way I have found to combat the “big race” nerves while still reaping all the benefits of having a race on the horizon is to sign up for a race series.
Race series include a differing number of bundled races, allowing participants to bulk register for a specific time frame (ranges from about a month to a year). I have done a few race series in the Portland area and have never regretted it. The available series in Oregon are as varied as the runner that sign up, from trail to road, and just about any distance you can imagine.
The Go Beyond Racing Trial Series is a Forest Park series that is fun and highly sought after. There are a few different seasons each year for this series (Spring, Summer and Fall). Races occur every other Wednesday night on the Leif Erikson Drive trail in Forest Park. Race courses are between 4 and 7 miles and the route is not posted until the Monday before the race.
The Oregon Road Runners Club (ORRC) 5K Series, 10K Series and Half Marathon Series are low key and divinely stress-free. There is a real community feel at the beginning and end of these races that help keep you coming back throughout the entire series. For this series, the races run every few months, all year. This schedule provides a great train, race, rest routine that will keep motivation and fitness top notch throughout the series. The swag for these individual races is great as well, ranging from race-specific socks to a race-themed throw blanket!
There are other series throughout Oregon and include, but are not limited to:
- Oregon Half & Full Marathon Series
- Scenic Oregon Run Series
- Oregon Brewery Running Series
- Gorgeous Relay Series
- Stumptown Cross Country Series
- 5K Series Fun Runs (Portland P&R)
So, with all these options, why run a race series? Why commit to training for multiple races, potentially taking focus and fitness away from one, main effort? For me, the race anxiety I tend to feel for months leading up to a race is much more reduced when I know I have more opportunities to reach my goals. This helps me truly appreciate the journey and not the destination! Another great reason for running race series is that they are often more economical than focusing on one large race. The ORRC Half Marathon Series comes out to be about $40 per race. That’s a steal considering some popular halves can run in the hundreds.
Moreover, running a series makes you feel that runner community love. When you see the same people week after week, or even every few months in a year, you get to know faces. You start to cheer on those you’ve seen push themselves in the past, you can track down that runner that beat you to the finish in the last mile at a previous race, and you can get the sense that we, truly are, all in this together, chugging towards a common goal.