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7 Steps to Running a Virtual Race

“Disclaimer: I received a free virtual race entry to the San Jose 408K as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!”

Living in Japan has been pretty great, but one downfall is that there aren’t as many local races as there are back in the states.  That’s why virtual races can often be a good option for those living afar, or maybe for those who don’t want to run with large crowds.  I recently ran the San Jose 408k and I was asked a few times, “How does a virtual race work?”  Well, here are the steps to running your own virtual race!

Step 1: Choose your run – The first thing you will need to do is decided which race you want to run.  I usually look for an event that contributes to a charity that I like and that also has good swag.   I really like the 408k because the benefitting charity for the 7th year in a row is the Pat Tillman Foundation! And sign up early or look for a promo code to save a few bucks! Bibrave is currently offering $10 off with code “Bibrave”! You can still register until September 16th!

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Step 2: Find a friend – You are going to need accountability since you are doing this thing on your own.  Running a race in person provides running support and an adrenaline rush that’s hard to duplicate when running a virtual race.  So it’s good to find a virtual running partner to sign up with you or even better- find a local friend and you guys can run together in person!  I didn’t have a local friend to run the 408k with me, but a couple of other BibRave Pros also participated which kept me accountable during my training and on “race day”.

Step 3: Find a Venue – The great thing about in-person races such as the 408k is that the course is already all marked out for you and usually includes some pretty nice scenery to keep the race interesting.  For instance, the 408k ends at Santana Row (a high-end shopping/dining area) and it’s the only event that finishes there.  So you’ll need to decide on your own (or with that friend from Step 2) where exactly you will be running.  Since the 8k is kind of an odd distance (4.97 miles), it’s probably best to run with a watch so you can measure your distance either before hand or during the run.  My plan was to run my 8k on the track, but I ended up having to hit the treadmill due to rain.

Step 4: Train! – Even though you aren’t running in person and won’t win any timing awards (well technically you’ll place 1st in everything if it’s just yourself) 😉 – You will still need to train so that you can run your best race – because it’s still YOUR race after all.  So give yourself enough time to train, especially if you’re just starting out with running.

Step 5: Race Day!- Once you’re all set with your training, it’s time to prep and run!  The cool thing about virtual races is that you can pick any day and time to run.  Not a morning person?  You can run at night!  Have a busy weekend?  You can run during the week! For the 408k I tried to run on the actual day the race was happening (March 4th), but I ended up running the day after.  Also, unlike a lot of other virtual races, you can still run the 408k as a Remote Runner even though the event has already taken place. So you don’t have to suffer from any FOMO. 🙂  And here’s how I prepped for my 8K!

Step 6: Share your results! – Now it’s time to show off your hard work! Take a pic of your time and post it on your social media channels!  Some events will even have special incentives for virtual races – i.e. all virtual runners email their times to the race director or post them to the Facebook page and fastest times win a prize. The San Jose 408k didn’t offer this type of incentive, but maybe it will in the future!

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Step 7: Collect your swag! Another benefit of running a race remotely is that you don’t have to wait in any long lines or go to any crowded expos to get your swag.  Everything is conveniently mailed to you either before or after the race.  I’m still waiting on my swag, but here is what the SWAG looks like! You can also opt to add on other things such as extra shirts, a tote bag, or a hat.

And that’s it!  Congratulations! You completed your virtual race!  Now you can go celebrate with a post-race brunch (or dinner depending on what time of day you ran). Then rest up for the next one!

So what’s another incentive of running the San Jose 408k as a remote runner? It will qualify you for a bonus medal if you decide to complete the Run the Bay Challenge series and run the Silicon Valley Half! Yay, more SWAG!

Have you run a Virtual Race before?  What did you think?!

~SM

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