Plan Ahead

Make the most of your year by planning your races ahead of time
By Aaron Mabry | Jan 12, 2012

Regardless of whether or not you train to stay in shape, lose weight, or continue to knock away at PR’s, it’s important to have a specific goal in mind to help keep you focused, as well as motivated. I, for one, know that if I have a race coming just around the corner, it’s all the more important to maintain my level of fitness and really fine tune my training to that specific distance.
It’s also important to arrange a schedule of races throughout your calendar year to ensure that you continue to train properly and efficiently. Doing so will help to keep you motivated and always help keep your eyes on that next race.
However, it’s of the utmost importance to not race too often. In any case, racing should be used as a measure of performance improvement. If you race consistently throughout the year, you’re able to gauge your improvement by your times. As you improve, specifically to avoid plateauing, you might also consider taking on more challenging courses or distances. But by all means, be sure to pace yourself.
And one more suggestion, go ahead and pay the registration fees up front. That’s right: schedule them all now! This ensures your commitment to the race, while simultaneously serving as motivation not to lose your hard-earned loot.
So with that said, I’d like to suggest a few races for which you might consider.  

Isaac Dickson Hot Chocolate 10-K Kids’ Hill Climb and Marshmallow Dash
When: Saturday, Jan. 21
Where: Asheville
Description: Enjoy Asheville’s flattest 10K followed by entertainment and a steaming cup of hot cocoa. Race is limited to 1250 participants and registration is ONLINE ONLY. To register, visit,

20th Annual Frostbite 5K/10K and Mile Fun Run/Walk
When: Sunday, Feb. 9
Where: Fletcher Park Ridge Hospital
Description: This race event will take place on a flat to gently rolling course of varying terrain. Water will be available throughout the course and delicious cookies and fruit will be available to everyone after the race. To register, visit

Bearwallow Beast 5K
When: Sunday May 6
Time: 1:30 p.m.
Where: Gerton
Description: This daunting 5K, ranking among the most challenging east of the Mississippi, features 1,300 feet of elevation gain over its 3.1 miles. To register, visit

Bele Chere 5K
When: Saturday, July 28
Where: Asheville
Description: The Bele Chere 5K will move to downtown Asheville and the new Pack Square Park. The race will be adjacent to Asheville’s famous festival and the new course will have more running inside the festival boundary then ever before. To register, visit
Asheville Citizen-Times Half-Marathon and 5K
When: Saturday, Sept. 15
Where: Asheville
Description: Voted as “one of the top best half-marathons in the Southeast” by Blue Ridge Outdoors magazine, this is a challenging half-marathon route, as well as a walker-friendly 5-K course through historic downtown Asheville. To register, visit

Aaron Mabry is a former 800m and 1000m State Champion from Pisgah High School. He ran collegiately at East Carolina University where he had the opportunity to compete in Conference USA. Now married, he’s the Director of the Haywood County Fairgrounds and is an assistant coach for Pisgah’s distance program.