In light of COVID-19 and social distancing some spring races have moved to the virtual scene. Instead of toeing the line with hundreds or thousands of other runners and walkers, racers now find themselves doing 5Ks alone around their neighborhood or doing solo half marathons out on the trails. A virtual race may look a little bit different than an in-person race, but the preparation steps are very similar. Read on to learn how you can prepare for your virtual races this spring.
The first step is to set goals for the virtual race just as you would a regular race. The goals can be anything that motivates you to train and finish the race. Here are some ideas:
- Run/walk the race and get a personal record time
- Run the whole race
- Do run/walk intervals (ex: run for 2 minutes, walk for 2 minutes)
- Negative split the race (ex: each mile gets faster — this works for both walkers and runners!)
Whatever you pick as a goal, write it down and use it as an inspiration as you train for the virtual race.
Plan Out Your Route
The second step in preparing for a virtual race is to plan out your route. During regular races, you are stuck with the course made by the race directors whether you like it or not. With a virtual race, you have the freedom to pick your own course. You can make it as flat or as hilly as you like! Pick a scenic route, or simply run around your neighborhood. Test out different routes on your training runs/walks to find which one you like best.
Create a Race Plan
The next step is to create a race plan. This is the time to try something new! There is no pressure and no one is watching! Maybe you try going out fast? Maybe you try walking the first part of the race but running the last mile. Be creative! This is your chance to think outside of the box and create a race plan that could lead to a PR!
Have Your Watch or Phone Ready to Go
Since you have created the course, you are relying on your watch or phone to tell you how far you have ran. Thus, it is important to make sure that your device is fully charged and ready to go the day of the race.
Stick to Your Usual Race Day Routine
Just because the race is virtual doesn’t mean you have to switch up your race day routine. Do you normally eat a bagel before each race? Do the same thing! Do you do a 10 minutes warmup walk/run and stretch before the race begins? Do the same thing! Cool down for 15 minutes afterwards and eat a protein bar? Do the same thing! Maintaining your usual race routine will help virtual race day seem like a regular race day.
Virtual races are uncharted territory. Many of us probably have never run or walked one before! Instead of being sad about your spring races being cancelled, get excited about this new racing opportunity. Give yourself something to train for and look forward to. For more information about upcoming virtual races, visit prraces.com.
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