Racing During COVID: 5 Tips for Race Training

Coach Casey · April 20, 2020

Runners around the world have had their spring and summer race calendars severely disrupted due to rapid spread of the coronavirus and the subsequent, necessary, restrictions on large group gatherings. Races throughout communities, from local road races to trail ultramarathons and even the historic Boston Marathon and Olympics, have been postponed or completely canceled in 2020. Racing during coronavirus seems impossible. An upsetting of a runner’s race calendar can oftentimes spell disaster for training routines. Motivation can go out the window, a perfectly timed taper can be viewed as wasted, your race day outfit can suddenly just looks like scraps of thin, scant fabric. 

However, we’re here to tell you not to fret! While your races being canceled may seem like the end of the world, it’s not! Racing during coronavirus is real! Beyond that, there are numerous ways to continue your race training during coronavirus while maintaining your social distance and staying safe.

Practicing race strategies alone is a great way to develop race skills during coronavirus!

Racing During Coronavirus

5 Tips to Continue Your Race Training: 

1. Train your unique racing skills

One of the keys to being successful at any race distance is having the necessary in-race skills beyond speed and endurance. These can include hydration and fueling practices, pace control/acceleration, or tactical movements and passing. Now is a great time to fine-tune those skills. Spend a few more long runs practicing your fueling and hydrating for a half marathon or marathon. Experiment with a few additional energy gels and become an expert at slugging water while in motion. You can also use runs and workouts to become an expert at given paces. Train your body to know exactly how fast you’re going without relying on a watch. Race tactics are also key. Practice taking corners tight or wide without breaking stride. Prepare your body to make short speed bursts for 5-10sec during a run to pass your imaginary opponents. Think of all the extra time you now have to train these skills even further!   

2. Do Time Trials

Racing during coronavirus can come in forms other than person-to-person competitions. Time trials are great ways to test race paces and efforts in shorter, more controlled, individual environments. No competition or set distances or routes necessary! Additionally, time trials allow for great week-to-week developmental tracking. Pick a distance, determine your goal race pace and see if you can knock those paces (and subsequent distances) out for the entire time trial. Did I mention that Charge Running has weekly Time Trials???

Use time trials and virtual races to keep racing during coronavirus

3. Enter a Virtual Race

Charge Running is offering multiple virtual races throughout each week at all types of distances. From 1 mile blitzes to full virtual half marathon races, we’ve got you covered. Virtual races can be completed from anywhere and provide a live, competitive and supportive race environment. Plus, you get a running coach in your ear keeping you on track and engaged the whole time. Pick a few different types of races, adding to your running toolbox. If you’re primarily a marathon racer, try out a 1 or 2 mile race. If you like the shorter, faster distances, why not test your skills in an 8k or half marathon? The options are endless and there’s no need to risk your health to race hundreds of like-minded competitors. 

4. Focus on pre-hab and injury prevention

No time like the present to take even BETTER care of your body. A long training block leading up to a goal race can be brutal. You may have some added aches and pains that could use some extra TLC. Use this time not to stop training but to add measures of pre-hab and injury prevention to your routine. Additional stretches on top of fuller warm up and cool down routines can make all the difference over time. Start icing and heating a bit more as necessary. Wipe the dust off that foam roller and use it! With the stress of an impending race diminished a bit you can be more purposeful and take your time maintaining that perfect racing body!

5. Deep dive into race research    

This is where the real fun is! For all your running/racing nerds out there this should be a breeze. If your goal race has been postponed or even if you have to find a brand new goal race, start your planning process. You can restructure your training timeline but equally as important is spending this additional time doing race-specific research. Study the S#!% out of the course map. Note elevation changes, possible windy stretches or tight turns, where the hydration stations, and everything else you can think of. For added fun look through past results and start watching race videos of either that specific course or just great races at your select distance to gain even more insight. This is an opportunity to become an absolute expert on every detail of the race. Just like with any test, the more studying you do beforehand, the easier and less stressful it is on the day!

Want to sign up for a tone of awesome virtual races? Need a bit of extra support with your new race schedule? Join Charge Running and get access to amazing live runs, workouts, and virtual races each week on top of personalized coaching from professionals!

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