Not in the mood to run another 10K? Lost all motivation for yet another half marathon? Instead of a standard running race, try one of these unique races to see training & racing in a whole new light.

Mud Runs

These down and dirty races will keep your mind off the running with obstacles and challenges along the course. Ramp up your stamina and strength as you prep for a mud run. Distance and intensity vary across these races so you can find something that fits your fitness level. Tough Mudder is 10-12 miles while Spartan Race and Warrior Dash are closer to the 3-mile mark. These races are run across the country; check the schedules and see when it’s coming to a location near you. Keep in mind these races are more fun in groups so grab a bunch of friends before you line up at the start. It’s a great challenge but also a fun bonding experience.

Century Bike Ride

Not actually a race, but more of a steady ride, it’s a great way to explore your city by bike with 100 miles of tough cycling. If you think all it takes to go on a long bike ride is a few prep-hours in the saddle, think again! I did a Century a few years back with very little training and I was in for a rude awakening at how tough it was to bike for so many hours. Find a Century ride a few months out and work up your mileage so you’re ready for the big day.

Long Distance Relay Race

This isn’t your average road race. Ragnar relay races cover about 200 miles with teams of 12 (or smaller if you’re extra intense) and are a 24+ hour race that involves each participant running three times and while you aren’t running you’re driving along the course as road support for the running teammate. While I haven’t done this race (still trying to figure out how to convince 11 friends to join me) it sounds awesome. Learn more about it on the Ragnar site and check out the schedule if you’ve got a group of devoted friends ready to hit the road.


Swimming, biking and running all in the same race; what could be better? Triathlons are a lot of fun and allow you to mix up your training if you’re used to focusing on just one thing. If you’re not ready to hit the open water just yet, check if there’s an indoor tri in your area, the perfect way to see if this is the race for you.

Color Run

Much like the mud run, this race will get you dirty, but instead of dirt, you’ll be covered in bright colors. Throughout this 5k run, the colored powder is thrown at you until you finish the race a tie-dyed mess. This is a pretty relaxed and not very intense race, it’s much more about the experience than your speed. If you’re new to running, this could be a good way to ease into races. Check out the Color Run site for more info.

Rock n’ Roll Half or Full Marathon

If you’re set on running for your next race, you might as well have some good tunes to help you to the finish line.  Hear bands along your race route, stop focusing on the pavement and get lost in the music. Check out the schedule and find a race nearby, or travel to another city for new scenery.

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