I highly encourage participating in local races & / or just running in general. Races are so much fun! Everyone in the running community, both locally & not, get together, run together, & sweat together, & it gives you happy endorphins. I love it when the route comes with a good view like the ocean, & I love it most especially when it comes with a big medal at the finish line. Almost all races come with a medal, but the big ones are obviously where it's at. Right when I got to the finish line for this race, I jumped up in the air for the photographer that was taking my picture, lol ☆(๑＞◡╹๑)v The lactic acid in my ass & legs was so real after this race!
Physical education with Camille: Some races are on trails & running trails or outdoors in general are a little bit more challenging, & you may expend more calories because the speed & incline are both inconsistent. I suggest cross-training, especially for long races. Strength conditioning will reduce your chance of injury, & it'll increase your speed. I also suggest investing in shoes that are just right for your feet, something light-weight with an appropriate amount of support. Break them in months before your race. You don't want to run in anything new or in something that you're not used to. Lastly, don't go too hard, especially if you don't run that often, & most especially if you don't run long distances that often either. The number one mistake that some people make is over-achieve, especially when they're not used to it. Start slow, & build your strength over time. Don't put too much pressure on your performance, & allow your body to run at a pace that's best suitable for your fitness level. Don't forget to give yourself adequate rest & time to recover afterwards.
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