8 Ways To Maximize Your Virtual Race

The Latin origin of “compete” signifies “try together”. Nevertheless, with prospects to congregate confined, athletes are exchanging to virtual competitions and understanding how to strive and compete alone.

Dr Stan Beecham, an author and sports psychologist, emphasizes that maintaining the courage to face challenges is essential to having a fulfilling life, as well as reducing stress during hard times. His book, Elite Minds, delves into this subject even deeper.

Recreating the same assistance and sentiments of a conventional run comes with its own set of difficulties. It will require different methods both in the build-up and during the running of the virtual competition to achieve maximum success.

1. Choose an event that excites you

When geographical limitations are no longer a factor, you have a plethora of races to choose from.

It is simpler than it has ever been to participate in any event that you have always wanted to experience or one that has some sentiment towards you. Some events are created to force people to compete, while other activities challenge both the body and the mind.

For example, The Race is a 13.1-mile (half marathon) and 5 kilometres long race that focuses on and fills support for Black-run establishments, communities, and organizations, and usually attracts around 1,500 individuals to Atlanta.

At last year’s virtual occasion, the number of people taking part was comparable, according to Tes Sobomehin Marshall, the race director who is also the creator of Running Nerds and Run Social Atlanta, as they informed SELF.

This year, the event set for September 30 – October 3 will still be open for remote attendance, with an in-person option being available as well.

The Boston Marathon is planning to have a significantly reduced in-person field on October 11th, but they will also give people the opportunity to take part virtually. Generally, to be eligible to join this acclaimed race, one must achieve a certain amount of time.

The complimentary event has a limit of 75,000 participants and offers every runner the remarkable opportunity to secure a distinguished unicorn medal. This year, the Falmouth Road Race, a celebrated seven-mile course along the shore of Massachusetts, has organized both in-person and virtual alternatives.

Then, some gatherings do not precisely involve running, although there are running activities intertwined with other kinds of activities. Take BibRave’s Run to Escape: Mission Mt. Olympus is a virtual, six-part, 27-mile event that can be completed at any place and time, providing similar thrills to those experienced in an escape room.

With the Runkeeper app, you will do between three and six miles of running, receiving audio instructions as you go. After you’re done, you will receive hints and a puzzle that needs to be solved to move on to the next mission.

By completing the task, you’ll not only be viewed as a hero in a legend, but you will also get special offers on earphones, shades, and other pieces of equipment.

2. Contribute to the greater good

Several virtual races are hosted to raise money for charity organizations or having a philanthropic aspect to them. Marshall acknowledges that the pandemic has created a difficult situation for these organizations due to the limits on events and the financial troubles they face. His firm has held virtual events for several organizations, including Girls on the Run and Back on My Feet.

According to Morgan Jaldon, a Seattle-based running coach, who told SELF, costs of admission and contributions work to close off vital budget shortfalls.

Even if the virtual event you participate in doesn’t support a charity, you can still decide to donate to one through apps like Charity Miles or GoFundMe. Sauriol suggests that this might help to increase one’s enthusiasm when competing in a race.

Furthermore, competitions and their affiliated organisations in the running industry are facing hardship.

Marshall commented that she felt fortunate, as her organization does not occupy a physical building, and it was relatively simple for her to make alterations. Those businesses that signed leases and other expensive contracts have experienced more difficulty, causing some to reduce their workforce and others to go out of business.

Another great reason to take part in virtual racing is to ensure that your favourite running events, as well as the various suppliers (e.g. timing companies and medal designers), remain viable during the pandemic, according to Marshall.

If you’re an experienced runner, now is an excellent opportunity to help someone else finish their first race. You might be bursting with pride, feeling elated and even more triumphant than when you crossed the finish line for the first time yourself, Sauriol suggests.

If you have a pal who hasn’t tried running yet or is considering it, touch base and inquire if they would like to enrol together, so you can take on the challenge as a pair.

3. Chart your own course

Sauriol states that the bonus of participating in self-organized races is that you have control over the direction of the contest. Instead of being restricted to a certain time and path, you can pick your own way that fulfils the objectives you set.

If you are looking to set a quick pace, opt for a flat route rather than a terrain with inclines. If you are looking for a beautiful view, you can take a journey through an unexplored path.

It is feasible for you to compete in your race using a treadmill if it is most comfortable and fits best with your schedule. A subscription-based app, RunBetter, may be used to increase the running intensity, supplying incline changes and other prompts for a fee of $5 each month.

If you’re competing in an outdoor race, it’s important to consider all of the details. Take some time to figure out which route you want to take and possibly give it a test run. You could use apps such as Strava or MapMyRun to map out your route.

Sauriol suggests going on a circuit that revolves around your residence, automobile, or an area such as a doughnut shop. By taking that route, it would be straightforward to get to water, treats, lavatories, and other must-haves.

4. Train—but don’t strain

Even if your event’s virtual, the effort is real. If you don’t already have a regular running routine, if the race you’re doing covers further than your normal route, or if you want to achieve an optimal time, you need to prepare for it.

According to Levin, the method you employ to train will vary depending on your initial ability level and what you are aiming to accomplish. You should aspire to run at a higher speed or a farther distance by getting a training program or an instructor in the same way as for a physical race. SELF has organized events for a 5-kilometre, 10-kilometre, and half marathon race.

Levin and Sapper advise their runners not to go overboard when training for virtual races, especially if they have a major race coming up.

Exercising hard on top of the strain caused by the pandemic could be a risk factor for injuring yourself or becoming overwhelmed if you are not responsible. They caution you not to get hurt just when competition races are set to begin in person.

5. Know your purpose

Dr Justin Ross, a clinical sports psychologist in Denver, CO, advises planning your virtual race by first deciding what you intend to attain from it.

For some, it may be to take the place of a race that had to be called off. For others, it’s a way to gauge current fitness.

It could be a method of engaging with buddies and other joggers. Ross emphasizes that individuals entering a virtual race should have a definite idea of what they hope to get out of it to make the most of it.

6. Wear your race director hat

Once you have figured out why you’re having a virtual race, it’s time to start acting like a race coordinator–beginning with choosing a spot for your event.

If you’re aiming to measure your fitness level or publicize it, the track is hard to beat. This path is a straight line that is precise and will not be disrupted by things like red lights or GPS errors.

If a track isn’t feasible to use (due to a lack of access or for the given race distance), you can design a road course that meets your criteria. You can attempt to replicate a running track you would have been competing on, or pick a course that offers you the best opportunity to set a speedy record.

You ought to recall that you don’t have the good fortune of acquiring passes for a virtual race–thus when taking part, it is wise to factor in road intersections and traffic signals.

Think about the pedestrians you must stay away from–now more than in previous times–and decide when you can run in a place with nothing blocking you so you can keep your concentration.

Once you have determined a site, select a date and hour and be prepared to stick to it. This will assist you in recognizing it as a significant competition rather than just some other fast exercise. Staying committed will prevent you from abandoning when things become difficult.

Ross advises treating it like a race and setting up a structure for it as if it were a regular race, rather than leaving it up to when it was convenient to carry out.

Attach an outdated competition number or make one for your own event if it helps to set the precise date and locale.

Sharing your ethnicity with others is another way to make it more real and hold you responsible for it. Racing virtually can make the competition more tangible, as opposed to being something you view inside your own head, which can help you stay dedicated to achieving your aim and not shy away from the challenge.

It is necessary to ensure that any technology or timing tools, for example, GPS watches, are in proper order and you can use them correctly.

Be sure to verify how the event is logging your performance: the tools used, the information accepted and when to start and end your time. You don’t want any technical difficulties to affect your race, as expected from a reliable race director.

7. Brag, praise and complain

Have the specifics worked out? If you want to take advantage of the social element of races, then get your friends or family involved in your virtual race.

Even though you’ll be doing the running alone, it does not have to be a journey taken alone. Beecham states that many racers still feel a sense of a social bond even while participating in a virtual race.

At traditional races, most of the socializing does not occur during the event. Ross remarks that when running in competitions, their speeds often vary so much that they have the opportunity to communicate with their acquaintances about how the race went both before and after. “And I think virtual races offer that same opportunity.”

At least share your results with your social media connections, let them know about your struggles and successes just like you would if you were standing at the finish line hydrating and recovering.

Ross proposes organizing a conference call or video conference right before the competition with the runners, with about one minute for it to finish, and then see who can return to the call first.

8. Find out how good you are today

The difficulty of a virtual race is different as there are no other participants to be compared to or race against.

Benji Durden, a former elite runner that is now competing in masters-level races, stresses the importance of focus in an event such as the virtual Three Creeks Half Marathon, which took place on April 1. In a road race, you can choose a person as your target – such as the person in the bright orange vest – and attempt to overtake them. I had to keep glancing at my watch repeatedly today to make sure that I did not start daydreaming. I had to keep pressing.”

This may not be all bad. Beecham states that some people find having other competitors in a race to be advantageous, yet for other people, their fellow contestants can become a hindrance. He states that people may realize that they function better when their mind isn’t as occupied, and that, consequently, can lead to becoming easier to enter a flow-like state.

Beechem emphasizes that when running, it is important to remember that assessing your individual speed does not require the presence of any other athletes.

Rather than striving to outperform others and measuring your successes based on your ranking in the group, you need to figure out ways to stay focused and dedicated to bettering your outcome.

Beecham suggests setting yourself an aiming time which you think you can do if you give your absolute maximum effort. He suggests having a target, keeping an eye on it throughout the competition, and dedicating yourself to running at that speed for as long as possible.

Ross thinks that setting a certain target and having a race plan is essential, particularly when the competition begins to be difficult. He points out that the greater the level of inner determination you have, the more willing you are to battle for it.

Enduring the discomfort may be more challenging in a virtual race given the lessened structure and absence of physical rivalry.

The adaptability of an online race will likewise assist with mental suppleness simultaneously – the ability to encourage yourself out of difficult tasks when perhaps you don’t feel like doing it, as Ross notes.

Having an awareness of fellow runners participating in a virtual race concurrently or anticipating your results can motivate you to keep pushing past difficult parts of the race and resist giving in to the temptation of simply stopping and trying again the next day.

Beecham inquires, “What is my capability now?” “Answer that question. The level of my performance in the future, be it tomorrow or the coming week, may not be the same.


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