10 Tips To Run A Virtual Race!
Virtual races are almost identical to traditional races, with one exception: there is no starting line. Runners still register online and pay a registration fee, and can be completed at any time before a specified date.
When you are finished running your race, upload your times to the race’s website, chat with fellow runners in the race, and check in on their times.
The best part?
After you submit your finishing time, you still get that super-satisfying finisher’s medal in the mail!
Benefits of Virtual Races
What’s great about a virtual run is that it can be completed at any time of day. If you aren’t a morning person, log your race in the evening. If you are having a day where your body feels incredible and your mind is right, run that race on that day!
The best thing about this type of running events is that picking the day that works best for your translates to better overall performance.
A virtual race is an excellent way for beginner runners to ease themselves into the running scene. Signing up for your first live race is a little bit scary, especially for recent Couch to 5k graduates.
Competing in a virtual race slowly introduces you to racing without the intimidation of experienced runners leaving you in their wake!
10 Tips On How To Run A Virtual Race
1. Plan your Route
The beauty of a virtual race is that you are in charge of picking your route. If you hate running in congested urban areas or want to keep the path ahead nice and flat, you have the power to do so.
To make things a little bit easier on you, stick to trails or courses you are familiar with. If you want to feel the thrill of race-day, find a trail or a section of the city that is unfamiliar to you to keep things exciting and short your mind into race-day mode.
2. Set Personal Goals
Sure, finishing the race is your number one goal, but setting smaller goals is never a bad idea. These goals can be anything from maintaining a 10-minute mile to running the race distance without stopping.
Running the race alone removes the accountability from fellow runners, so you need to set small goals to keep your motivation up.
3. Find a Running Buddy
Virtual races can feel isolating, but they don’t have to be. Find a friend or family member to train and compete with on race day. Are you having trouble finding someone willing to undertake this task with you? Don’t worry; you’re not alone!
The online running community is ripe with lone wolfs just like you looking to join a pack. Find an online running community (like the one here at RunnerClick!) and find a buddy willing to run alongside you virtually.
4. Treat It Like A Live Race
It’s easy to cast a virtual race at the bottom of your priority pile. Plus, it’s much easier to stop running and walk that last mile when no one is around watching you.
I know from experience how much better I run traditional physical races with a buddy pushing me all the way. It doesn’t make you a bad person; it just makes you human.
Get your mind in the right race-day space before lacing up your running shoes and treat your virtual race like a live race. While it’s often optional for most races, you can also upload your running course and times to the virtual race website to boost accountability.
5. Stay Positive
Running races require a lot of mental strength. There are no fellow runners to lend inspiration or give you a word or two of encouragement when running alone.
When out there on the road running your race, you are the only one to push you through mental barriers. When your mind is begging you to stop, keep it occupied on positive affirmations.
Adopt a running mantra like ‘I am strong’ or ‘I can do this’ to replace all of those ‘I can’t do this or ‘I want to give up’ thoughts that will undoubtedly cross your mind.
6. Get Charitable
One way to get motivated about a virtual race is to select a charity you feel passionate about. While the entry fees from most virtual events often go to a charity, you can up the ante by running for a charity you love and raising additional funds.
Set up a GoFundMe for your desired charity, and get the word out to friends and family!
7. Wear your Bib!
Now is not the time to get embarrassed. Many virtual races will mail out virtual race bibs to wear on your race day. Wear it! You may feel a bit silly, but nothing will quite get your mind into a race-day mode other than wearing your race bib.
If the race doesn’t supply you with one, you can easily make your own. Post a sweaty selfie of you and your bib on Instagram when you are done with your race.
8. You Still Need To Train
Virtual races may seem easier than live races, but that isn’t true. It’s just as important to train the right way before a virtual race. If you run without proper training, you risk getting an injury.
There is no shame in sitting this one out if you haven’t quite found the time to train before the race-day deadline. Think of your entry fee as a charitable donation, and make sure you are prepared and ready for the next race!
9. Be Prepared
When you are getting ready for your race, you must be prepared. Wear comfortable clothing that won’t rub or chafe as you run, and bust out your race day running shoes.
Make sure that you bring plenty of water and fuel up with proper nutrition and a good night’s sleep.
10. Celebrate Success
There is no fanfare at the finish line when running a virtual race. Sure, it’s a bit of a bummer, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t celebrate afterward! Treat your finish line as a marker for a traditional post-run celebration.
Go home, grab a beer (or slice of cake), and call a friend to mark the occasion.
Take a nice hot bath (I like to buy expensive celebratory bath bombs for such an occasion), and go out for a nice meal in the evening. You may have run the race alone, but you won’t be hard-pressed to find friends and family to celebrate your success!
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