Virtual races are loved by many for the comfort and convenience they bring to athletes all around the world. Where traditional races are bound by a strict set of guidelines, these events allow athletes complete control over several elements, including the date, time and location of the event. If this sounds like a lot of freedom, that’s because it is. But even as relaxed as our events are, virtual runs still require a good amount of planning and preparation. And if you are participating in one of these events for the first time, you’ll want to consider the following five tips.
1. Choose your Course
The first thing you’ll want to do when getting ready for a virtual race is to plot your course. The location you choose to run and the specific track you follow is entirely up to you. So you’ll need to plan out where and how you want to run well in advance. When choosing a course, think through your preferences. Do you like running on a sunny trail out in the woods? Or do you prefer exercising inside on a track or treadmill? Whatever your answer is, planning it all out in advance will help you anticipate potential obstacles before they arise.
2. Eat for the Event
Whether you are running a 5K, triathlon or half marathon, it’s essential to watch what you eat, especially in the days leading up to the event. During this time, there are several foods you will want to avoid because of the effect they can have on your performance. Such foods include those high in fats, protein and fiber. Items that fall under these categories can cause sluggishness, cramps and digestive issues you will not want to deal with while running. You should also avoid consuming large quantities of caffeine. Too much of it can cause headaches, heart palpitations or heighten any anxiety you might already be feeling about the big race.
On the flip side of this equation are the foods you should fill up on. The day before your run, you’ll want to eat a healthy amount of fruit, veggies, carbs and lean meat. These items will help you stay energized and alert while you run. But there is such a thing as eating too much of the right foods. So be sure to keep a close eye on your intake. Then, on the morning of your race, you’ll want to eat a light breakfast a few hours before the event. Fruit, oatmeal, energy bars, toast and peanut butter are all foods that can help you run your best.
3. Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Getting a goodnight’s sleep the night before your race is also crucial to your overall performance. And for adult athletes, “getting a good night’s sleep” means spending around seven to nine hours in bed. If you are a person that has a hard time falling asleep at night, try reading, taking a warm shower or listening to some calming music. These relaxing activities will help you wind down into a state where rest will come easier. And even if you aren’t able to fall asleep right away, there is no need to worry. The nice thing about virtual races is that they give you the freedom and flexibility to schedule your event on your own time. Meaning that if you have a rough night or the weather isn’t optimal to run in, you can reschedule your race for another day.
4. Hydrate Ahead of Time
It’s no secret that most people sweat when they run. And when a person sweats, they lose a lot of the water and minerals that help their bodies operate at their best. Thus, it is essential to hydrate both before and during the event. If you are running from home, it’s a good idea to keep some water on a table next to the treadmill. That way, you can access it easily without adding on to your time. If you are competing outdoors, bring a water bottle with you and drink from it periodically to avoid headaches and heat exhaustion.
5. Warm Up with Some Stretches
One final thing you’ll want to do to prepare for your virtual race is stretch. Many beginners often overlook the importance of this simple act but warming up before a race is an excellent way to prepare both your mind and body. Moreover, running without stretching first can strain and, at times, even injure your muscles. So if you don’t want to be bedridden the day after your big run, you’ll want to take some time to warm up. Lunges, squats and sweeps are all great examples of this type of exercise. But there are also several other stretches out there. These are easy to find videos and tutorials for online. Select the ones you believe to be most beneficial and practice them right before your big run.
Run the Race
Once you feel like you are fully equipped for your race, lace up your shoes and go! You can run with friends and family or compete with other athletes across the world with our advanced time tracking app. Whatever way you decide to run, remember to have fun. And when the thrill of your first race wears off, you can find more to sign up for on our site! Peruse our list of available events today or email us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.