How to Nail your Virtual Race

With the across the board canceling of races, runners all over the world were left with uncertainty on not only their racing plans but also their training plans. 

What’s the point of doing all this training if there’s no race?

That is a discussion topic for a different time, but what I want to talk about here are how many races are now offering virtual race options. Aside from this many new virtual races have sprung up. 

Earlier today I had a video call with one of my clients and we talked about how to best go about performing a solo time trial in place of his goal half marathon. I was messaging back and forth with another client who signed up for a virtual 50k. 

So let’s go over some tips and tricks on how to nail your virtual race!

1) Flexible Date

One of the best things about a virtual race is that you can pick the perfect day to do it on.

I told my runner who signed up for the 50k to watch the local forecast and if it seems like this weekend or that weekend coming up in May will have perfect weather, go with that day. If not, do the regular long run in the rain, but if it’s a crisp 45 on the trail, do a 50k! 

2) Bike Partner

One tip I gave my runner doing the 10k or half marathon time trial is to see if his son will bike alongside next to him for some of it. 

Research has shown that you’re simply able to tolerate higher levels of discomfort (you can push it harder) in the presence of others. 

Thus having someone cycle alongside you to even just be there will almost certainly help you with a faster time. 

3) Break down the distance.

If I were to do a virtual race I would likely pick a 1-mile loop and do that over and over again. 

The nice thing about a flat paved route is you can know exactly what you’ll encounter in regards to crossings, potential pedestrians, and any elevation change. 

I have a park or a fish hatchery that are both rather flat perfect 1-mile loops around and those are the exact locations I would do a best-effort race at if I was hoping for my fastest possible time. 

For many, it may be mentally less taxing to do 13 x 1-mile loops instead of a 13 mile out and back run. 

4) Your own personal aid station

Another benefit of a looped course is that you could set up our own personal aid station.

Seriously, if you are on a mile loop put a couple bottles and gels just off the course. If you have someone there to support you they can hand you one every mile or two, you could carry the bottle for a loop, and drop it as you run by next. Repeat for 13 to 26.2 miles 😉

5) Shorten the distance

If you’re more concerned or desiring a fast time than just covering the distance, you may get a better indication of your fitness if you shorten the distance.

Simply put, you can probably run a faster 10k vs a half marathon in regards to being a representation of your current fitness. Running a solo half or full marathon is darn tough, you can do it but doing a 10k or half instead of a half or full may simply be mentally easier for you to suffer for the duration.

6) Music

My last tip is to utilize music as a performance enhancer.

It’s proven that music can help athletes perform better and if that’s something that has worked for you in the past, I suggest using it! 

Many marathons do not allow the use of headphones, but if you’re going out hard by yourself and you’ve used it in training, jam away! 

The suggestion I have for you here is to save the tunes for the last third or quarter of the distance if you’re doing anything longer than a 5k, where I would just listen the entire time. Not listening to music for the first 2/3rd of the race distance will help you nail the 6P’s: proper pacing prevents piss poor performance, Once you get to 15k or 30k of our half/full marathon, reach deep into your suitcase of courage and drop the hammer! 

So there we have it,

Some killer tips on how to nail your next virtual event. 

I encourage you to let me know if I missed anything or if you have any personal experiences you’d like to share on this subject!

And f you like what you just learned and want to get more info on my sometimes unconventional yet proven tactics for helping my runners improve their running through sustainable training habits, nutritional guidance, developing great mindfulness practices, and incorporating easy to do running-specific strength work and having all of it come together with great accountability and motivation, visit kylekranz.com/pbrcoaching and fill out the contact form to get in touch!

As always, you keep running & I’ll keep coaching 🙂 

-Coach Kyle

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A post shared by Kyle J Kranz (@kyle_j_kranz) on Apr 26, 2020 at 8:30am PDT

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