Home > Runs & Races

Planning ahead for virtual races

If you want to enter a virtual race, here are some things to think about before the big day

The 2020 spring race schedule has been completely erased due to the coronavirus outbreak, and while we’d all love to be able to compete in a live event, we can’t. That doesn’t mean we can’t race, however, because more and more virtual racing opportunities are being announced. A virtual race might not be something you would have considered before COVID-19, but now it’s your only option to fuel your competitive drive. Before you race, here are some tips to help you plan ahead for the big day.

Cover your route before race day

Measure out your route a few days before the race so you know it’s the right distance. If you run blindly, you’ll have to constantly check your watch, which will get annoying. Also, make sure you know the route well. You don’t want to forget the course and miss a turn.

RELATED: Virtual race series gives Canadian kids chance to race during COVID-19

Make it a flat run

Sure, you can choose a hilly route if you want, but you’re racing. Leave the hills for another day and find a flat route so you can run a fast time. It might be virtual, but you can still push for a PB.

Photo: Maxine Gravina

Avoid traffic lights

Map out a route that doesn’t have crosswalks and requires you to cross as few streets as possible. You don’t want to have to stop for traffic if you can avoid it. Of course, if you do have to cross any roads, obey all traffic laws and be safe.

RELATED: 13-year-old boy runs 100 miles in Quarantine Backyard Ultra

Run laps

If you’re running more than a 5K, it’s a good idea to create a route with several laps. If the route can go by your house, that’s even better. This way, you can cycle back past your home, where you can have an aid station set up with water, gels and anything else you might need.

Run a little farther than necessary

You’re going to map out your route beforehand, so you’ll know your route is exact, but it’s not a bad idea to go a little farther (maybe 100 or 200 metres more), just so you guarantee you won’t get home and see your GPS file says you didn’t run far enough.

RELATED: 6 essential tips for snagging a Strava CR

Treat it like a regular race

Eat the same meal you would for a normal race, get a good sleep and follow the same routine you always do on race day. There’s one caveat to this: if you don’t sleep well and you planned on running at, say, 9 a.m., put it off for a few hours to make sure you sleep enough. Most virtual races are to be done whenever you can, so if you miss your original start time, it’s not a big deal. The better you sleep, the better you’ll run.

Be safe

Stop at any traffic lights you can’t avoid, look before crossing any streets and give a wide berth to anyone you have to pass. Your run is a big deal, but following social distancing rules and taking regular safety precautions is more important.