This story is part of an ongoing series aimed at new runners.
Picking up the sport of running can seem overwhelming when you’re a newbie—everyone is boasting about LSD (long, slow distance) runs and speedy track workouts, using lingo that’s lost on a non-runner. Every person who posts miles online started where you are right now: not knowing where to start. And every person who has entered double-digit runs with ease never thought they would get there, doubting themselves like you may be doing as you read.
Start with the basics: have a goal, and a perfect beginner goal is a 5K race. But not just any race—one that fits perfectly in your calendar, has just the right amount of pizzaz and checks all the necessary boxes to make for a near-perfect race-day experience. According to our readers, nearly 30 percent of runners consider location over anything else, while 22 percent go for the swag and medal. The rest—distance, registration fee, weather, terrain—trails not too far behind. Here’s our breakdown of the top things to debate before hitting “register.”