The 'How To' Guide for Virtual Racing
So what the heck is this virtual racing stuff all about anyways?
Run your race, your pace, anytime and any place from May 28 to June 25. Here is everything you need to know to make your virtual race AWESOME.
Running Together, Apart
VIRTUAL IS HERE TO STAY
Run Calgary has been busy reimagining 2020 in response to the global pandemic. We have shifted from in-person events to virtual races in order to help keep our community safe and healthy, but also moving.
While we have had to adapt our events to an all-virtual platform, we are still setting goals, connecting to celebrate one another and running. We have heard from you that Run Calgary races are a part of your life, so whether this is your first virtual race, or you are a seasoned virtual-veteran, here are some tips to have the best virtual experience ever. These tips were curated by our team and were provided by members of the Run Calgary community.
"I'm really happy you are finding ways to support runners through this chaos - honestly, this is an important target for me and being able to participate, even virtually, has been so helpful. Thanks for all you are doing!"
- Caroline M.
HOW TO GUIDE
Once you learn what each virtual event has to offer and what each event supports, decide how you want to participate.
Register for a fee and upload your time to the leaderboard, post your picture and engage with other Calgary runners through our digital platforms. Plus, your event counts towards series swag, you will receive celebratory finisher’s swag, a product purchased from a local small business, and you will be contributing to our charity partners through your registration fee. Please note these spots are limited.
Follow Run Calgary's social media channels for prizes and updates on when registration opens for each of these events.
In addition to our typical social channels, we have launched a closed Facebook Group for Run Calgary virtual participants only. Consider this group your digital information tent.
Here we will connect, share our goals and celebrate our achievements. Yes we are running virtually too! Feel free to ask training questions to the group, which includes We Run The World Coach Melissa Paauwe, Sport Injury Specialist at LivActive Shari MacDonald, the 2020 pacers and Lead Pacer Amy Li and the Run Calgary team. We will also share Run Calgary news, expert videos, routes and tips for best practices as circumstances change and evolve in Calgary and area.
If anyone knows how to crush goals it is Trevor Hofbauer. This Calgary runner has been following his goal setting process for years and it paid off when he qualified for the 2020 Olympics. Set small goals, build on them and have a clear BHAG (big hairy audacious goal) you are working towards that is in the future. Trevor shared his method with the junior ambassadors last year in this video. But we think runners and walkers of all ages can benefit from his knowledge.
Follow Trevor's road to the next Olympic games.
Each of Run Calgary's events support amazing charities in our community that tackle a wide range of social and health issues. The Charity Challenge fundraises for 80 charities annually and in a typical year raises upwards of a million dollars. We invite you to check out the charities to see what resonates with you and incorporate your virtual event with a cause that means something to you personally. Maybe it's asking your family to donate a $1/KM for one of the charities that supports cancer research or inviting your friends who love animals to sponsor you for $20 for each virtual race you do that goes towards conservation or rescue animals.
There is one dedicated charity for each of the smaller events and a portion of your registration will be donated back to those causes. You will also get to hear from our friends at The Calgary Zoo, AARCS, Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, Brown Bagging for Calgary's Kids and Senior's Secret Service about where the money goes and how much good every contributions does, no matter how small.
Before you go inviting a pal to run with you, that isn't quite what we mean. We can't help but notice how busy the sidewalks and pathways are these days. As an organization that exists to get people moving, we are thrilled to see so many people out walking, jogging and strolling through Calgary neighbourhoods.
Send an encouraging text to a friend who is tackling a fitness challenge or acknowledge a neighbour with a kind word when you see them out walking. The ask is simple, share your love of running and invite others to experience a virtual run or walk by registering.
Many sources state how important it is to keep your body moving to combat the mental fatigue and anxiety. Make your training runs a part of your self-care routine. Time on your feet, strength work and some stretching over a consistent period pre-race will not only help you have a great race, but also alleviate stress. Runner’s high anyone? Check out the 2020 Calgary Marathon training programs for all distances that can help you set up your week (please note they are dated). Having achievable goals, daily, weekly and longer throughout your training, and on race day may just get you that P.B. you’ve been looking for.
Life is just better with a plan. When you are getting out the door for a walk, a training run and especially your virtual race, it is good to know in what direction you are moving. Run Calgary will be sharing some favourite routes and unconventional courses from our pace team on the private Facebook group. However, we are asking our runners to use the pathways and sidewalks near their homes and to create their own race routes this year if possible.
Get creative and map out a route that brings a smile to your face. Do you have a great hill in your neighbourhood that gives you a mountain view from the top? Add that in. Can you run by a forested area or the Bow River? Awesome! Make your race route one that you love. The best part about virtual running is you can do it at any time. No need to wake up early unless you love a sunrise finish. Health and safety are important, so make sure you know your route, use appropriate reflective gear if needed, practice physical distancing, and watch for hazards. It’s a good idea to bring your phone and ID too, just in case.
We brought a big dog to ask about mental preparedness for those longer distances. Dave Proctor is a Guinness World Record holder and long-distance runner. He once ran on a treadmill for 24 hours straight so he knows a lot about powering through.
Dave's Top Ten List for surviving a long virtual distance race
10. Loving Loops
Where else can you have an opportunity to set up your own personal aid station that you can circle back to whenever you choose. Doing shorter achievable loops out from your front/back door of your home is a perfect way to stack the miles needed to achieve your virtual 21, 42, or 50 km running race. Having your fav treats at your fingertips adds extra incentive to finish the loop and fuel up.
9. Beware of the Chair
If looping a short course around your home be cautious of the comforts that your home provides. Everyone, and I mean everyone, falls victim to choosing comfort the further the distance ran. I suggest having your aid station set up away from your fav Lazyboy recliner.
8. Family Affair
Get the family involved! Ask your children or spouse to accompany you on their bikes for a portion of the run. In my experience this brings a whole new lively energy to a time period. I suggest choosing a later portion of the run when things are bound to be more difficult.
7. Explore your Community
What a perfect opportunity to run up and down the streets you've never ventured down in your community. I've seen some great ideas on Strava of runners running up and down every street in their communities.
6. Embrace the Highway
Cyclist living in the city of Calgary have known for a long time the beauty and wide shoulders of the highways south and west of our city. The best way to social distance run is to do it on a highway where very few people are. The beauty of our rolling foothills are are perfect place to stretch out the miles needed for a long virtual race. I suggest running facing oncoming traffic as to see the vehicles if they are getting a bit too close. If a vehicle hugs the white line just take a step into the ditch for safety sake.
5. Pick an Inspiring Time
The beauty of virtual racing is you get to pick the start time. Personally I'm a sucker for a good sunrise. If you are more of a night owl then a sunset maybe a better choice.
4. Plan for wind
Want to have a great second half experience of your virtual marathon, plan for a second half tail wind. The constraints of a big city marathon is the weather on the day is completely random. Where else could you organize a perfect course that provides you with a tail wind that picks up at your turn around point to nudge you home for your new PB. Pro tip: The wind in Alberta typically is calm in the early morning but picks up dramatically around 9 to 10 am. This can be used to your advantage.
3. Visit Loved Ones
A strategy I have used often is running from my home in Okotoks to visit (at a physical distance) my mom and dad in High River then return home. This has become my absolute favourite run as I get to see the glowing, loving faces of two people I love. A destination turnaround point is also a commitment tool because instead of using smaller loops you must commit to getting a long distance and further getting home. It also looks rad on Strava.
2. Pick your Temperature
During Canada's Spring the daily temperatures will fluctuate dramatically from day to day. This creates a perfect opportunity to choose the temperature that best suites your racing body temperature needs. Everyone is different but my ideal running temperature is 5 degrees with a light drizzle.
During this time of COVID-19 gratitude for your personal health and wellbeing goes a long way. The celebration of running and improving your overall health should be top of mind during your virtual race this Spring/Summer. We runners endure, it is what we do best, and its possible the best gift that we can be giving our community during this challenging time. Know that you are an inspiration to someone and that someone is watching your every step and will one day be an inspiration for somebody else. Be the change you want to see in the world and be grateful you have two resilient legs, powerful lungs, and a strong heart.
Just like a good training schedule helps your body prepare for the race, a good support plan helps you physically get through it. We wish we could be out on everyone’s routes to cheerlead, provide hydration and nutrition and generally help you during your victory lap.
We recommend water, snacks, and sunscreen, but use what you have been training with to make sure there are no surprises along the way. Better yet, ask someone you live with to meet you at a specific point on your route to help out! High-fives and a water from your partner just before you hit “the wall” might be just what you need to finish strong! Or, have your kids set up a driveway finish line for you with chalk and music!
While we won't have 22 cheer stations on your personal virtual route to keep you moving, Run Calgary and our partners have curated playlists and our favourite podcasts that will keep you bouncing to the beat and inspired to keep moving.
Check out the Run Calgary Spotify Playlists curated for YOU!
For the runner who gets inspiration from our remarkable Canadian women athletes:
For the runner geek who wants to hear how races work and "see" behind the curtain:
For the runner who likes to learn about gear, health and nutrition all relating to running:
The competition aspect of this year’s races are as fierce as ever! And while you may not be running alongside Guinness world record makers, we still encourage you to seek that personal best. You can keep track of your time and statistics through an app. Run Calgary has teamed up with RunKeeper to create a leader board for all our virtual races this year. How will your time stack up to your fellow racers? Go for it.
A tip from Calgary runner and blogger Run Travel Eat
Make sure you remember to smile, run safe during the pandemic, and have fun. The time we are living in is something we will remember forever and tell our kids and grandkids about. While everything seems really negative in the world. We can still make some positive memories to take away from this time.
Thanks to our fantastic partners we are giving away incredible prizes over the race window for Virtual Calgary Marathon including weekly Nuun packages, running shoes, sunglasses, Garmin watches, gift certificates to The Running Room and Jugo Juice and Nuun for a year.
How to Win?
- Participate and get on the leaderboard!
- Tag us in your race events and training runs using both #runcalgary #runcalgaryvirtual
- Tag our awesome partners @nuunhydration #runscotia @runningroom @garmin
- Best finish line photos
- "Things I saw on my run" pictures
- Best Map Art
- And more....
dive in to the virtual festival
Which Virtual Event is for You
Explore the six unique Run Calgary virtual races coming to an inbox near you. Join MoveMore Rewards by participating in four or more events per calendar year to earn Series Swag.