Last year around this time, I was working furiously on putting together my 2012 race schedule. For some reason, I wanted to have things all figured out before the year even started. Even small local 5K races.

I tend to do that. Overthink things. For no good reason.

This time, with the exception of a few key races, I’m not really looking past next month.

So far, my confirmed 2013 schedule looks like this:

January 20 – Midwinter Cruise 5K. So local I feel like it would be wrong not to do it. 

Midwinter Cruise 5K
2012 Midwinter Cruise

January 26 – F^3 Half Marathon. Have wanted to do this one for a couple years. 13 miles on the Chicago lakefront? In January? At least you know the field will only be really serious runners, because who the heck else would sign up? 

June 8-9 – Ragnar Relay. I need this much time to wrap my mind around running solo in the dark in weird areas. Oh and just that whole relay thing and running or sitting in a van all night … and day. 

August 24 – North Country Trail Half Marathon. They had a great registration deal last August, and again, this was a race I had my eye on for awhile. And I plan on using this as the first weekend in a week-long vacation in my favorite part of my second-favorite state. Just have to find a cheap house to rent. 

And if I continue my self-imposed ban on frivolous spending through the rest of this month, on Dec 31 (the day before the price goes up), I will register for

May 5 – First Midwest Bank Half Marathon. “Local” race for me, and my very first half marathon (in 2010) … cannot wait to see how far I’ve truly come. 

Southwest Half Marathon 2012
2012 Southwest (now First Midwest) Half Marathon

And that is all I am committing to right now. There are certainly other races I’m considering, but I’m going to wait to register. Come February 1 (or whenever this opens), I’ll have a good idea how the rest of the year might (or might not) shape up.

So why am I waiting to sign up for more races?

For one thing, there is no need to register for so many races so far in advance. Unless a race has a history of selling out, it won’t make a difference on race day if you register four months in advance or four days in advance.

Some races do offer early bird pricing, but in most cases, you only save $5-10. I have found that these “early bird deadlines” encouraged more impulse registering (by me). And I’d rather save $65 and not do a race that I regret signing up for, than save $5 on a race that I end up not looking forward to. (That happened for me at the Chicago Half Marathon earlier this year.)

Keeping my schedule open will allow for more flexibility without overdoing it. This way I can add in a race that a friend or my running club is doing, or a new race that I didn’t know existed, or a deal comes through Schwaggle (or some comparable site), etc. By packing my calendar with 1-2 races every month now, if I start adding in more races here and there … it’ll just become too much. For my wallet and my sanity.

What about you? Do you have 2013 mapped out, or are you just taking it month by month?