5 Reasons to Love Virtual Racing

With in-person races canceled due to COVID-19 restrictions, you may feel unsure about what sort of running goal to work toward. But racing hasn’t stopped completely.

Since 2017, Fleet Feet stores nationwide have gathered runners on the first Wednesday of June to celebrate National Running Day with the Big Run 5K. This year’s event went virtual and offers a new opportunity for you to pick the distance and route that best fit your goals.

So whether that’s one mile or 26.2, this year’s “My Big Run” is an exciting and creative way to set a goal and compete virtually with runners all over the country.

Woman using Fleet Feet app

1. Get motivated and motivate others

For many runners, a race is a big motivator to get out the door and train on a regular basis. A virtual race is no different. Use this opportunity to pick a goal that is meaningful to you. Your goal should be specific, measurable and achievable based on your current fitness. The race date also provides a deadline to keep you going.

Invite friends to sign up and hold each other accountable. That might be through social media or with Zoom check-ins.

2. Connect with other runners virtually

You won’t toe the line in a big crowd of people, but on June 3, you’ll take on a personal challenge that will unite you with thousands of others. That in itself is powerful. Even before the race, you can connect virtually with our running community while you train (join Fleet Feet’s Strava Club).

Woman running alone on a trail

3. Choose your own adventure

Hate waking up early? No need. Want your dog to run along? Just fine. Always wanted to run a marathon course through your hometown? Now is your chance.

As you consider your plan, though, be mindful of potential obstacles like traffic and park closures. Plan ahead for hydration and nutrition. Stay safe and be sure to follow social distancing guidelines as outlined by the CDC. If you encounter others along your route, take extra effort to pass from a distance. Fleet Feet Chicago co-owner Lisa Zimmer says, “Cross the street if you need to. Do whatever it takes to safely move six to eight feet out of the way of someone passing you.”

4. Work on your mental game

A virtual run is an excellent way to learn more about yourself and what keeps you motivated. Workouts boring on your own? Try fun takes on interval training, like this Mystery Run speed workout. Feeling unmotivated to get out the door? Check out our YouTube channel and perform warm up drills to your favorite pump-up music. Have difficulty staying present during tempo runs? Research shows that just 20 minutes mindfulness meditation per day for five days can significantly improve your ability to focus. Experiment a little to find what helps you run your best. And stay tuned for our weekly training tips each week.

5. Put your fitness to the test, then keep building

While nobody gets stronger and faster after every race, each one offers a chance for self-evaluation, celebration and discovery. Think of this virtual race as one stepping stone to propel you toward more personal challenge, new experiences and more meaningful community engagement.

Share your journey with us. Use the hashtags #TogetherWeMove and #MyBigRun.

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