As I’ve previously shared, after the Twin Cities Marathon went virtual this year, I decided that I still wanted to run the race. Training this year feels a little different, but I’ve been trying my hardest to stay focused and prepare for a different type of race. I thought I would share a few of the strategies that I am working on, in case you are considering a virtual race.
- Physically Train the Same: Even though the marathon is virtual, running 26.2 miles is the same distance! In order to run a marathon, you really have to prepare your body. I have been working hard to hit all of my training runs, just like I would for a real race.
- Mentally Train: Normally, the thought of race day and crossing that finish line is what keeps me excited about training. The hardest part of a virtual race is knowing you won’t have that race day experience. As I’m doing long runs, I’m trying to spend time picturing myself running the marathon solo so that I am more mentally prepared for race day.
- Practice Racing: Earlier this year, I did a virtual half marathon that actually went quite well. It was good to practice “racing” on my own and to learn about logistics. I realized that having to stop for water that I left along the course really slowed me down. For the marathon, I am planning on having people around to hand me water so that I can drink and keep going. This also helps prepare you for being able to push yourself in a non-race setting. Its good to try a “practice” race, even if its just a 5k.
- Have a Plan: Just because the race isn’t official, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have a plan. In fact, you should spend more time ensuring you know a course where you won’t have a lot of interruptions, where your water stops will be, and how you will carry nutrition. Don’t forget about accessible bathrooms too!
- Make the Day Special: Its also important to think about how you will make the day special after your race. Have someone hold out a finish line tape at the end so you still have a finish line experience. Take photos to celebrate. Treat yourself to your post-race snacks or meal. A virtual race is just as big of an accomplishment, if not greater!