virtual race

How to prepare for a virtual race?

How to prepare for a virtual race?

If the race you have been preparing for this year has been postponed or canceled by the coronavirus, you may have certainly been disappointed. However, the possibility of registering for a virtual race, whether carried out by the organizers of the canceled event or by other organizations, can be a good way to not let your workouts go to waste.

One positive aspect of virtual races is that you can sign up for whichever you like no matter where you are.

One of the first things to know when preparing to participate in a race of this type is that it requires a bit of planning and strategy, because you essentially play the role of organizer and participant of the same. That is, you must take care of logistical details that normally only the organizers of the same take care of. This may be a bit difficult or overwhelming at first, but it is certainly still exciting.

The first thing you should ask yourself is, do I do a 5-kilometer run or do I better do a half marathon or the marathon distance?
How do I plan my hydration? What kind of gels or supplement should I take? Don’t forget that this may be a suitable experience to practice just like you were on race day so it’s well worth doing it properly.

Visualize what your route will be

One of the first things you should take into account is where you will take the tour. Make sure it is the most suitable place for you. By now, you have probably seen runners doing the activity inside their house, or in confined indoor spaces, in their patio or the one closest to their residence.

Perhaps the most important decision you have to make is precisely what will be your route to run the virtual race. Although the distance is established by the organizers of the race you have signed up for, the route depends on you. You can look for ups and downs, that the section is all flat, or walk the blocks closest to your residence.

Consulted by Runner’s World, Christine Burke, senior vice president of strategic partnerships and products for runners, and the manager of virtual events for the New York running club, recommends that if it is a long run, consider that someone can serve as support or help for you during the route, especially with regard to hydration points
Burke gives ideas on how to use the Strava route functions to see the route that runners have completed near you and make a Similary. MapmyRun is also an option or RunGo. Another is to do a loop-type tour that, although it can be repetitive, allows you to plan nutrition and hydration on the route with the support of a friend or family member.

Another option is to do a round trip route if you do not have a technology to trace the route. A GPS watch can help you, making half the route out and the other way back. You can add excitement by making the return a little faster. Another option is to run the distance like about 5K on the treadmill, although for longer races it could be boring. If you do it on tape it is good that you prepare your playlist with your favorite music, ask your friends or family for support with a call of encouragement and mix elevation and rhythm to give air to your muscles

Prepare your mind

Perhaps one of the most difficult things about not being in a real race is having your mind ready for the activity when you are not with other runners around you waiting for the kickoff. Because of this, it can be even more mentally challenging than preparing for and running a normal race. Your training runs are a great opportunity to work on mental strategies and ways to develop your mental toughness. Try to play brain games and use pictures, visualization, and positive self-talk.

Another good idea when the big day approaches is that you tell others what you are going to do. Share it with your friends or family. Tell them the details, when you are going to do them, at what time, from where you will leave, so that if it is within their possibilities they can give you encouragement. Another way to get them involved is to talk to them on your phone while you run or ask them to wait for you at some point on the route to give you encouragement.

Find the best moment

Another important aspect is choosing the right time to do it. This aspect has to do especially with the weather. There are virtual races that establish a specific date for their completion, it may be a single specific day or a period of a week to complete the distance. One recommendation is that you organize yourself to do it during the first hours of the morning to avoid that the sun later plays against you. Now if it’s cold or rainy, it’s better to wait for the right time.
On the other hand, knowing the date makes it easier for you to get into the racing mindset.

Choose your goal

An important aspect to consider within your preparation is the choice of a goal, this can help you stay motivated to move forward and give more structure to your training. As Christine Ruff recommends in “Run for Good” it is important to make sure you choose a smart race goal, which means it must be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timely.

Although some runners like to focus on performance goals, it doesn’t have to be related to their finish time. You can choose something like running the full distance without stopping to walk or running a negative division (running the second half of the race faster than the first).

Some virtual races have a large window to know when you can run the race, but you must choose a date to do so and mark it on your calendar. If you can’t set a deadline, you can keep putting off the race, as well as your training.

Sticking to a specific goal will keep you motivated and prevent you from getting bored or wanting to skip workouts. If you are able to reach your goal during the race, it will add more meaning to your achievement. And if you don’t achieve your goal, it can inspire you to keep doing more races and working towards your goal.

This is our virtual racing calendar of 2021

All Year Long

Rock ‘n’ Roll VR Series 

Create a profile and take part in weekly challenges, races, and training with the free new virtual race series from Rock ’n’ Roll. You can even earn points for activities completed when you link your fitness tracker.


January 1

Run Wild Missoula Resolution Run

January 6-12:

Walt Disney World Marathon & Half Marathon
Lake Buena Vista, Florida
Also includes: 5K & 10K

January 7-February 7:
San Francisco Half Marathon
San Francisco, California
Also includes: 10K & 5K

January 10-31:
Miami Marathon & Half Marathon
Miami, Florida
Also includes: 5K

January 11-21:

Charleston Marathon
Charleston, South Carolina
Also includes: Half marathon & 5K

January 16:
Chilly Willy Half Marathon (In-person and virtual options)
Sugar Hill, Georgia
Also includes: 5K, 10K

January 17:
Carlsbad Marathon & Half Marathon
Carlsbad, California
Also includes: 5K

January 17:
Houston Marathon & Half Marathon
Houston, Texas
Also includes: 5K

January 17:
Key West Half Marathon (In-person and Virtual options)
Key West, Florida
Also includes: 5K


February 6-15:
Lost Dutchman Marathon & Half Marathon
Apache Junction, Arizona
Also includes: 10K & 8K Trail Run

February 8-15:
Great Aloha Run
Honolulu, Hawaii

February 14:
Donna Marathon Weekend

Jacksonville, Florida
Also includes: Half marathon & 5K

February 18-21:
Disney Princess Half Marathon
Lake Buena Vista, Florida


March 20-April 3:
Crescent City Classic
New Orleans, Louisiana

March 21:
Shamrock Marathon & Half Marathon (In-person and Virtual options)
Virginia Beach, Virginia
Also includes: 8K


April 10-25
Salt Lake City Marathon & Half
Salt Lake City, Utah
Also includes: 10K & 5K

April 22-25:
Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon & Mini-Marathon (In-person and Virtual options)
Louisville, Kentucky
Note: The Mini-Marathon is a half marathon

April 30 – May 2:
Flying Pig Marathon
Also includes: Half marathon, 10K, 5K


Green Bay Marathon & Half Marathon
Green Bay, Wisconsin
Also includes: Marathon Relay & Half Marathon Relay

May 2:
Flying Pig Marathon & Half Marathon (Virtual, but may change to in-person)
Cincinnati, Ohio

May 25:
Coeur d’Alene Marathon & Half Marathon (In-person and Virtual options)
Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
Also includes: 10K & 5K

April 12 – May 31:
Bend Marathon
Also includes: Half marathon, 10K, 5K
Race day is “officially” on April 18, but runners can continue register and complete the virtual run between April 12 and May 31

Check back for 2021 updates
Freihofer’s Run for Women

(Check back for 2021 updates)
Calgary Marathon
Also includes: Options for virtual Ultra Relays, 10K, and 5K


May 28 – June 28:
Saskatchewan Marathon
Also includes: Half marathon, 10K, 5K

Check back for 2021 updates
Virtual Brooklyn Mile

Check back for 2021 updates
UConn Health Half Marathon
Also includes: 10K, 5K

Check back for 2021 updates
Bellin Run

Check back for 2021 updates
North Olympic Discovery Marathon
Also includes: Half marathon, marathon relay

Check back for 2021 updates
Banff Marathon
Also includes: Half marathon, 10K


July 24 – 25: (May be In-person or Virtual)
Bix 7 & QuickBix
7-Miler & 2-Mile

July 25:
San Francisco Marathon & Half Marathon

Check back for 2021 updates
Virtual NYRR Black Lives Matter 1M

Check back for 2021 updates
Out Living It 160K Relay
Also includes: Ultra relay, where each runner runs 40k


August 15:
America’s Finest City Half Marathon (Virtual options)
San Diego, California
Also includes: 5K

Check back for 2021 updates
Falmouth Road Race

August 15:
America’s Finest City Half Marathon
San Diego, California
Also includes: 5


Check back for 2021 updates
Boston Marathon

September 18 (May be In-person or Virtual)
The United States Air Force Marathon
Dayton, Ohio
Also includes: Half Marathon, 10K, & 5K

Check back for 2021 updates
VIA Marathon


Check back for 2021 updates
Wicked 10K & Monster Mile
Virginia Beach, Virginia
10K & Mile


Check back for 2021 updates
NYC Marathon


*Check back for updates for December 2021 races.

Vary the route

Christine Ruff believes that where you do your training runs (and the virtual run itself) can have a huge impact on your training and your overall mindset. Therefore, he suggests mixing the career routes so as not to fall into boredom or demotivation. If it is within the means and allowed in your locality, a trail or park would be a good idea, or whatever route is more scenic and peaceful.

Trying out different routes can also help you choose the one you like best for the day of the race itself.


Run for a cause

Nonprofits are also struggling right now. Many of them rely heavily on donations, and you can help them immensely with a simple fundraiser for a charity or even supporting a small business in your area. Find out which virtual races have the donation option, there are several options, you can also create your own page to collect, for example on GoFundMe, and make the donation of what you have achieved to the chosen charity.

Have fun

It’s your career so nothing better than making it fun. There are organizers who offer the medal, others who send you the number so you can print it; You can organize your provision or supplies upon arrival and have it delivered to you by one of the people who are supporting you. You can make the finish line with something simple to celebrate when you arrive. Have fun, ask your family and friends to cheer you on through social media, improvise a tape, and tear it up on arrival just like the elite do. The idea is to have a good time.

The other thing is that several race companions organize themselves and do it at the same time, each one on their own route. Although your teammates that day do not have to be your usual race companions.
It is also good during your preparation to share your progress with your friends, as this will help you stay inspired to continue with your training.

If you don’t have a group of runners or runner friends you can connect with, find some virtual running buddies online. You can use the social media of runners like Strava to post your workouts and interact with other runners. Many virtual races have a Facebook group or other ways to connect with other virtual racers through social media.

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