Virtual races are a much different experience than racing in person. How does one achieve a new personal best on a virtual race? If you have put in the training, it is definitely doable!! Last December, I ran a virtual marathon and bested my personal record (PR) by over 15 minutes. Since then, I’ve been without a goal, but I’ve recently signed up for the Virtual Women’s Half Marathon and will be completing their Triple Challenge as a BibravePro. With three different races over two days, I’m very excited to have a new set of goals. It made me think back to the virtual race tips that helped me on my last race,
Here are some virtual race tips that helped me achieve a new personal best race time.
Virtual Race Tip #1: Plan a new route
Often, we train on the same routes over and over and over again. Us runners know every turn, every tree, and every rock of the street or path we run several times a week. For your virtual race, mix it up a bit!
Websites and different apps will allow you to plot your route in advance. For example, for my virtual marathon, I used PlotaRoute to get my exact 26.2 distance. I ran through neighborhoods I don’t usually see. New places make for a great, race day like experience!
Even with a new route, make sure you know where to turn! Just a few tricks to help. You can print out maps of your route or send the route to friends so that they can meet you at turn points. Another feature is that if you have a Garmin watch you can even upload your preplanned route.
Virtual Race Tip #2: Invite a friend
Are you the competitive sort? The race experience always includes me picking out someone ahead of me and trying to catch up or overtake them in the race. Simulate that competitive atmosphere by inviting a friend. You can start socially distant, or they can join you along to route to have fresher legs for your last stretch.
For my last two virtual races, I met friends along the way. One kept me on pace during the hilly portion of my course. In the last three miles, a group of runners on fresh legs met up with us and kept us going! Just because it’s virtual doesn’t mean you have to run alone.
Virtual Race Tip #3: Have a cyclist help you out
Have a friend, child, or significant other with a bike? They can pace you! My great running friend Anthony has done bike support for several of our races. Cyclists make awesome company during a virtual race. They not only keep you company but also keep track of turns in the course and carry any equipment you might need. Think of your cyclist friend as your own traveling aid station and cheer station! Water, gels, first aid gear, they can carry it all right next to you during the entire race and keep cheering you on. Anthony was great about pushing me once I hit the wall in my virtual marathon.
Virtual Race Tip #4: Set your watch to your goal pace
Sometimes, there really isn’t the option to bring someone else with you for your virtual race. If you have a running watch, such as a Garmin Forerunner, you can use settings to make a virtual pace buddy.
Using the training feature, Garmin allows you to set a distance and an upper/lower goal pace. While running, your watch face will tell you how much farther you have to run AND what your average pace is. This means you can “bank” faster earlier miles and don’t have to try to dothe math in your head while you’re running. (i.e. I ran the first two miles this fast, I need to hit this pace to get that PR!) It’s much easier to take a peek at your watch and see if you’re in the green zone. If you’re green, you’re on track to hit your PR!
In summary, there are many fun ways to switch up your virtual race day to make it special and hit that PR that you’re been training for. Find a new local to run, bring a friend on foot or on wheels, or use your watch to create your own virtual race pacer. I hope these virtual race tips help you have a great virtual race day.
Sign Up for a Virtual Race Today!
As I mentioned above, Ill be running the Triple Challenge with the Women’s Virtual Half Marathon the weekend of April 10th. One thing I love about this race is that they have a set start time for each time zone. Even though we are running on our own, we’re running together! Run with me!? Right now they have a discount code of BibRAVE$5off to save $5 off any distance.
If you enjoyed my tips for a great virtual race day, make sure to check out other posts on my blog!
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