Tips for making the most of your virtual race experience:
Since March, hundreds of running events have faced cancellations and postponements because of the COVID-19 pandemic. With no clear end in sight, participants and race organizers alike are starting to wonder if there will be any official races in 2020.
Enter: virtual racing.
Virtual racing gives an option to those who want to keep active, set goals and receive rewards and accolades for their accomplishments. It also allows us to continue supporting the causes we care about. Sure, a virtual race looks a bit different, but running a virtual race can still be an amazing, unforgettable and fulfilling experience! Especially when you're running with a cause in mind!
Here are nine tips for getting the most out of your virtual race participation:
Some runners have continued to follow their training plans diligently, while others have, understandably, been thrown off-course with stress, homeschooling or other COVID-19 related issues. Regardless of where you stand, there are three different distance options in the Virtual Pink Pumpkin Run and it IS possible to train for anything from a 5K to a 10K in a matter of weeks. And, at the end of the day, this is your race so choose something comfortable for you and get out there to "run and go pink!"
2. NAIL DOWN YOUR ABCs
A race has never been more about YOU, than a virtual race. You are the only one who can hold yourself accountable and get yourself to the finish line. We recommend setting an attainable but challenging goal for yourself. Make sure no matter where your route is or how much you see, you are pushing yourself to achieve what you set out to accomplish. Set your "A-B-C" goals before your race day. Your A-B-C goals are intended to ensure you cross the finish line proud of your efforts and have different personal goals to fit various situations. For many runners, goals means time, but these can be any goals that you have for your race.
Your A goal is your perfect scenario goal. It may seem like you are shooting at the stars, but on the perfect day it could happen. Think BIG.
Your B goal is more within your reach, but still challenging. This goal is attainable and could happen without the ‘perfect’ race day. Push yourself!
Your C goal is a goal that leaves you satisfied and proud of your efforts. There are many races that nothing goes as planned and the unexpected happens—this goal ensures you are still successful no matter the outcome of race day. For many runners, FINISHING is their C goal. This way you will ALWAYS feel proud of your efforts no matter what circumstance you find yourself in on race day.
3. PLAN THE PERFECT ROUTE
Some runners will be racing on their basement treadmills, others will loop through the streets in their neighborhood, while others may tackle a familiar trail. This is your run, get creative and pick a route that works for you! You could choose a simple route or you could choose to mimic the course you were originally scheduled to race.
There are numerous resources available to assist you in planning the perfect, safe route such as Runkeeper, Strava, and Map My Run. All these applications have the option to create a personal route with GPS capabilities.
SAFETY TIP: Always run with your phone and make sure someone knows your route other than you. Most of the timing apps (see #5) offer a live tracking feature that you can share with family or friends. Just like a live race, you should have an emergency contact located on your bib or body in the unlikelihood that it is needed.
4. CONTROL WHAT YOU CAN
Too sunny? Looks like rain? Do you prefer early morning runs or late afternoon rips? Which day of the week works best with your work and/or personal life? You have the unusual advantage of choosing the best day and time for your virtual race. We recommend setting a specific date and time that works for you—this will help you mentally and physically prepare for race day, just like an established event. Be sure to tell your family and friends so they can provide support!
The beauty of a virtual race is that if the weather takes an unexpected turn, you have the flexibility of pushing your race to another day - just make sure your fans know.
5. TAKE CHARGE OF YOUR TIMING
In a virtual race, you will not have access to a timing chip - which is normally attached to your race bib. But thanks to technology, there are a few options for virtual races!
- Use a running GPS or smart watch such as Garmin, Timex, FitBit, Apple.
- Download a free tracking app such as Runkeeper or Strava.
Once you complete your race you will be able to upload your finish time and be part of the official results page!
6. RUN TO RAISE FUNDS
Give your virtual race even more meaning: running on behalf of local women in need of a mammogram! During this unprecedented time, front line organizations like Marshall Medical Centers depend on much-needed funds and support to provide fundamental services to the community, and many women are facing even more financial challenges than before.
You can use your race as a way of capturing your family and friends’ attention and support! “Hey guys! I’m running in support of the Mammography Assistance Program at Marshall Medical Centers! 100% of your donations go directly to the hospital to help local women in need!” Everyone wins.
7. RECRUIT YOUR CHEERING SQUAD
Your household can be your personal in-person cheering squad! Have them assist in bringing you home through the finish line and serving up kudos and countless high fives. Get your social media squad involved as well and post pictures leading up to your race and ask for friendly and encouraging messages to be sent during your run time!
8. FOLLOW THE NEW RULES
Whether you’re training or racing, please remember:
- Don’t go running if you feel sick. Stay home. Run your race healthy. It’s virtual – you can do that!
- Stay 6 feet apart if you’re running with a group or passing another runner or walker.
- Carry your own fuel, hydration, and hand sanitizer - avoid drinking fountains and public bathrooms. PRO TIP: Plan a route that includes your own property and set up your own fuel/water station in your yard.
- Steer clear of handrails or crosswalk signals (use your elbow!) - and avoid touching your face while running (we know it’s hard!)
9. SHARE YOUR RACE EXPERIENCE!
Share your training, planned route, start line, mid-run and finish line race-face with your friends and @FoundationforMMC using #VirtualPinkPumpkinRun. Keep connected on your journey as we run virtually together. We can’t wait to celebrate with you after you crush your goal!
Excited to try your first virtual race? Sign up for the Virtual Pink Pumpkin Run now!