Yes, you read it right. I’m training for a VIRTUAL MARATHON!
Virtual Racing During The Covid-19 Pandemic
The year 2020 has been nothing but unpredictable. When my goal half marathon was canceled 4 days before the race in March, I was disappointed. My running buddies and I ran a virtual half marathon on race day, March 12th and even wore our race bibs! I was even able to beat my previous best post-twins half marathon time that I’d set in January at the Carlsbad half, without the crowds cheering me on or closed roads.
Then the full shutdown happened. Our running group workouts got canceled. I stopped even running with friends and stuck to the roads and trails near my house rather than my coast runs. School and YMCA child watch were closed, my mom stopped coming to help with the girls and we now had NO childcare. It was hard. I remember even crying on one of my solo runs because of all the fear, uncertainty and sadness I felt for everyone affected. Running felt like therapy to me during this time and some days I just HAD to get out to process my emotions.
After the initial slump that followed as we all adjusted to our new lives in a Covid 19 world and in quarantine, I pivoted. I collaborated with a running coach and fellow Beachbody coach on my team, Sam, to offer a 6 week virtual race and strength training accountability group. We created training plans that integrated Beachbody strength, cardio and recovery workouts strategically placed throughout the week to best support running performance. The group started in mid April and race day was Memorial Day weekend.
I committed myself to the virtual half marathon and race day was one of the most fulfilling days of my Beachbody coaching career as the race reports flooded into our accountability group, some women wearing our Run the World team shirts, some celebrating lifetime PRs, and everyone saying that our group and that virtual race was a beacon of light during an incredibly difficult time.
Virtual Marathon Plans
2020 was the year I was feeling ready to get back to a full marathon for the first time since the 2017 Mountains 2 Beach marathon that I ran just before getting pregnant with the twins. I have run 4 half marathons since having the twins, but I never felt ready for the time and effort needed to train for a full marathon. And then of course, I finally WAS ready.
I love the training cycle of a marathon- the long runs that leave my legs aching, the feeling of accomplishment after a solid tempo run, and the importance that every training run has in creating the endurance necessary to run 26.2 miles. But, it’s also a big time commitment and with 3 small children who don’t always sleep through the night, it was hard for me to imagine getting the rest I needed to recover properly and have the energy to keep up with them. Not to mention that I have been laser focused on growing my Beachbody coaching business.
When my friend Megan mentioned that she was going to train for a late fall marathon, I jumped on the idea of having a training buddy. When we first planned it, we didn’t expect the pandemic to affect racing as long as it has and we considered the Revel Big Bear in November. Megan is planning to expand her family next year, so this is really our last chance to train and run a full marathon together for a while. So when Revel was canceled in July, we decided that instead of waiting , we’d just run our own virtual race.
Our plan is to run 26.2 miles together on November 14th. We’re still finalizing our route, but we are pretty sure we’re going to run on trails. We want to make it a trail marathon for a few reasons: 1) it’ll give us a reason to g out and explore some awesome new trails during our long runs 2) we can be more secluded from crowds on race day (our normal running routes are more crowded than ever now) and 3) it’s a NEW challenge for us which makes it more exciting!
I am excited!!
I have about 14 weeks until race day. Due to a minor setback I had in July with a mild sprained MCL, I am slowly building my mileage up (last week was just 20 miles) but confident that I can get the endurance I need to run 26.2 miles in November! We don’t plan to “race” the distance – we’ll just run together and it’ll be an accomplishment to finish. In a lot of ways this takes the pressure off and just allows us to enjoy the experience. I obviously know it’s not going to be easy and it WILL be painful, but I’m excited for the training and the journey!!
If you want to follow along closely with my training, follow me on Instagram. I plan to do a virtual half marathon in October as well! If you want to join our next 6 Week Virtual Race & strength training group, we start on September 7th and race day (5K, 10K, and half marathon options) will be on October 17th. For more info on how this works, complete this form and I’ll send you info.
We can’t control when races will return – but that doesn’t mean we can’t run on our terms!!!