Over the last few weeks, my hubby and I have been down with a nasty virus. Not THE virus, but one that’s knocked out a lot of people in our area, according to the clinic we visited twice this past month.
I’ve got hope that this bug will die, and I’ll get back on the trail and treadmill, running my 5ks and 10ks again. Soon.
In the meantime, I’m daydreaming about my upcoming travels to reach my 52+ Country Goal. That means I’m planning my first international half-marathon race.
I’m someone who needs a specific goal to keep me training. If I want to run loads to improve my overall health, the motivation of “feeling better” isn’t enough. I need a race – something I can’t get out of to keep me running. Otherwise, I get bored and stop training.
Enter the Virtual Race Platforms
Because I can’t afford to enter major races all over the place, I needed to find something else to keep me motivated. One day, about three years back, I discovered the Virtual Pace Series and the Moon Joggers. They solve this problem and give to charities I can happily support and don’t cost me a load of cash I can’t spare.
These virtual race platforms provides me with the motivation to keep up my race training. They have select periods of time (or specific dates) for each race to be completed during. When you sign up for a given race, you receive a runner’s bib and the medal after the race.
I don’t always wear the bib when I’m running the races, though I usually do. After the races, I snag a photo with the medal, wherever I’m running the race, whether trail or treadmill.
Using the Races for Long-Term Plans
This spring or summer, I’m going to run an international half-marathon. These virtual races are my training distances building up to that lengthier distance again after months of barely running due to illness, unexpected travel, etc.
My goal this year is to run the equivalent of one race per month. These virtual races will be most of the races, leading up to the two or three organized races I’ll be running throughout the year.
Getting the Right Gear Is Uber Important
Finally, I wanted to note that it’s important to have the right gear for these races, especially when running overseas. You’re not as familiar with the terrain, so the proper gear is even more important.
I swear by compression hose for calves. These allow me to run distances on unknown terrains – such as hills, that cause issues for my left calf – with less chance of injury. A collapsible water bottle is another excellent choice, as I can crumple it up and toss it into my backpack without taking up a lot of space or adding weight. I usually carry three of these with me on my travels.
Running tape, the right sports bra, running shorts with pockets (running belts haven’t done a thing for me yet. If anyone has a great suggestion, let me know!), and culturally appropriate tops are important, too. (i.e. don’t go running in a tank top if you’re visiting a country that considered sleeveless shirts unacceptable!)