Virtual Race Tips
With more virtual races in 2020, and possibly beyond, I wanted to share a few tips for planning for a great solo event!
The same pre-race prep you’d do for a “normal” race is still really useful;
planning food for the days before the event, including some carbohydrates
keeping off your feet as you can
getting lots of sleep
being as relaxed as possible
planning your event day
let people know what you are doing and when so they can support in person or virtually!
Take time to plan the route of your race, if you have a choice over where you run. Think about whether you want flat running or are happy with some hills. Will you run all on road or trail? Try to match what you’ve run your long runs on terrain and elevation wise if you can.
Also think about the mental aspects of the route, without the other runners and crowd support and nice, interesting route can be a great distraction. Some runners like running new routes, others aren’t as confident with their route finding so may prefer to stick with routes they know, it’s very personal.
Plan in advance what you are eating for breakfast and when, and what you’ll drink. One of the benefits of virtual races is that you can start when you want, sticking to the time you’d start your long run work well as the timing off for and running is well practiced!
Double check your kit, route and plans for the day.
Let people know you are setting off to get that virtual moral support!
Without the benefit of race pacers and other runners you can pace yourself off, pacing yourself become more important. Setting off too fast is the biggest challenge I see! Consider setting a pace “ceiling” that you won’t go faster than for the first part of the race, get settled into the rhythm. Pay attention to your pace, and also your effort level, breathing and perhaps heart rate to make sure you aren’t leaving all your energy in the first half.
If you have a PB pace in mind it’s worth seeing if you can arrange running friends to pace you for the final part of the distance.
Food and drink
With a virtual race you have to be self sufficient with food and drink. Hopefully it’s just a matter of doing what you’ve practiced on your long training runs, remembering you’ll either have to carry it all with you or have someone meeting you to top up supplies. In fact even if you do have support it’s worth carrying some items with you so you can eat and drink when you need to.
Where you can see if you can get friends and family supporting you on the route, either in person or virtually. Support messages are such a boost. And knowing you have someone waiting for them at a certain point breaks up the distance nicely and provides something to really look forward to - especially if they have snacks!
After the event remember to treat it like a race and eat, drink and rest well to recover. Think about what will make finishing feel special for you, without the finish banner and crowds.
Mindset and Motivation
You can also find some great mindset/sports psychology tips for virtual races here;