Customize a Race for Your Clients

Featured Image Customize Races

Many races abound throughout the year, although most are virtual right now with the pandemic. In years unlike 2020, races include runs of varying distances (1-mile fun run, 5K, 10K, marathon, ultra runs). Some runs have obstacles and mud. While some offer beer or doughnut incentives. Other races incorporate activities like biathlons with biking and running; and triathlons with swimming, biking, and running. Here’s how you can customize a race for your clients.

Create Race Guidelines

Since you are the “official” you are in control of the guidelines.

The idea came to me while vacationing at our favorite lake. We carried our bikes with us to take full advantage of the flat terrain, limited traffic, and bike lanes on both sides of the road around the lake. One morning I headed out and had to stop for foot traffic running by. An Ironman triathlon qualifying race was taking place.

Elite athletes competing in Ironman races swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles, and run a marathon of 26.2 miles. Half Ironman races are just that (half the distance): 1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike, and a half marathon run at 13.1 miles. Sprint tri’s reduce distances to a half mile swim, 12.4-mile bike, and a 3.1-mile run.

Endurance Training course

Scale that back and switch it up a little to find there are many options for races. I wound up doing my own several times during our vacation utilizing what was available to me…and what I enjoy most. I biked, kayaked, and paddle-boarded for my tri. The distances varied depending on the weather and my mood.

Keeping in mind what your clients enjoy and what challenges them, customize a race just for them.

Indoor or Outdoor?

Indoor options at the gym include using the rower, treadmill, and stationary bike. Combine outdoor options with an indoor run/walk suited to your client, elliptical, followed by the lateral or ski erg. If a pool or open water is available (and the climate allows) for those who swim, make a race with swimming, riding an outdoor bike, and walking a track. Determine the speed and duration that fits the individual’s fitness level.

Program Training

Once you have created the individualized race, start helping your client train for it. Prepare a plan to incorporate in training sessions. When he or she is conditioned, set the date and time for the race. You could do the race with them or allow them to do their own tri or bi.

Consider adding some perks to make it feel like a “real” race. You could have a finish line for the client to pass through victoriously. Hold up posters to cheer them on. Reward your client with a victory medal at the end. Keep stats on each leg to share with your client.

With or without the perks, finishing a race has its own rewards. Customizing one is a great way to motivate and encourage clients allowing them to participate in events that truly interest them. It might also be a way to keep on track when your client is on vacation. In many cases, they can take their race with them!



Kim Becknell Williams is a freelance writer with more than ten years of personal training experience. Certified through NFPT, she is a Functional Training Specialist and holds a Master Trainer level certificate for resistance, endurance and sports nutrition. Kim has written two books including Gym Etiquette 101. She enjoys writing a variety of lifestyle articles and fitness blogs.
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