THE OLD WAY You picked up race fliers at the running shop and posted your registration form with a cheque for the entry fee.
THE NEW WAY You have your Google Calendar set to remind you when registration for your goal race opens.
THE BEST WAY The internet has made it necessary to ‘compete’ long before race day for some popular events, as you and thousands of other runners race to gain entry. And if you want to be competitive, it makes sense to plot out a season that includes tune-up races en route to your goal race. Those in-between events can help you get accustomed to race-day nerves and give you a chance to test your fuelling and kit choices before the big( ger) day(s).
However, there’s also something appealing and energising about the spontaneity of deciding to jump into a 5K or 10K with just a few days’ notice. Following a long-term training and racing plan is wise, especially for the half marathon and marathon distances, but the plan should be carved in soap, not stone.