Running a Virtual Race for the Time?
Here are eight tips for getting the most out of your virtual race participation:
1. TRAINING: TO BE OR NOT TO BE?
With spring being a popular race season, many runners were well into their training plans before COVID-19 shut our world down. Some runners have continued to follow them diligently, while others have, understandably, been thrown off-course with stress, homeschooling or other COVID19-related issues. If you were signed-up for a marathon or a half marathon, and your training plans have gone awry but you are taking part in the Saskatchewan Virtual Marathon, consider running a shorter distance if it better suits your current situation.
SAFETY TIP: Now is not the time to try to push yourself beyond your limits. Work with a distance and pace that works for you. If you are not comfortable with long training hours, consider dropping down to a shorter more accessible distance. This is your race.
2. NAIL DOWN YOUR ABCs
A race has never been more about YOU, than a solo, virtual race. You are the only person holding yourself accountable and getting yourself to the finish line. Set 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 mean 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
“Already plotted out a 3K route past my house/water station which I will run 7 times .” —Heather Lewis, Run Ottawa member
Some runners will be racing on their basement treadmills, others will loop through the streets in their neighbourhood, while others may tackle a familiar trail. This is your run, get creative and pick a route that works for you and follows your public health agencies’ guidelines. You could choose a simple route like this guy or you could choose to mimic the course you were originally scheduled to race. RacePointMaps offers elevation profiles of many races, including the Saskatchewan Marathon.
Important! If you are running sometime on the Saskatchewan Marathon weekend, we specifically ask that you do not use any of the Saskatchewan Marathon routes as they will not be closed or policed. Please do not attempt a group run on race weekend—or at any time during the virtual race window (May 28 – June 28)
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 timing apps 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 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 or secured around your ankle. 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 (woohoo!) you will be able to upload your finish time and be part of the Saskatchewan Marathon official results page!
6. RECRUIT YOUR CHEERING SQUAD
Your household can be your own personal in-person cheering squad—have them assist in bringing you home through the finish line with countless high fives.
But what about crowd support along the course? Consider using an app like Motigo! This free app is available allows your friends and family to record personalized audio messages that play to help motivate you throughout your entire race, through that dreaded kilometre and on the last mile where your legs are shaking.
7. FOLLOW THE NEW RULES
Whether you’re training or racing, remember to physical distance through your ENTIRE run.
- Always run with your phone and make sure someone knows your route other than you, most timing apps 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 body in the unlikelihood that it is needed. Whether you’re training or racing, remember to physical distance through your ENTIRE run.
- Do not run if you feel sick. Stay home. Run your race healthy. It’s virtual – you can do that!
- Run with a group that is known to you.
- Stay two meters apart if you’re passing another runner or walker.
- If you feel that someone is running too close to you, ask them to give you more space or let them pass.
- DO NOT spit or blow snot-rockets.
- Carry your own fuel, hydration, and hand sanitizer with—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.
- Obey all rules for road pedestrian safety including running on a sidewalk where available and not on the road, follow the rules of the road if no sidewalk or multi-use trail is available and run against oncoming traffic and not with traffic
- Steer clear of handrails or crosswalk signals (use your elbow!)—and avoid touching your face while running (we know it’s hard!).
8. SHARE YOUR RACE!
Share your training, planned route, start line, mid-run and finish line race-face with your friends and @SaskMarathon. Keep connected on your journey as we run virtually together. We can’t wait to celebrate with you after you crush your goal!
(used with permission from Run Ottawa)