While it’s tempting to get your workout started by simply running at top speeds, this can actually cause injury. Before any running workout, it’s important to warm up your muscles in order to stretch them out and prevent you from any tears or tweaking a tendon. Also, if you start your running too fast, you are more likely to slow down faster and your endurance will wear down. Here are some great warm-ups that will keep you loose and feeling great throughout your workout.

  1. Walk

Start your warm up with a brisk walk. This eases your body into workout mode and helps get your legs ready for your run. Walking takes the tendons and muscles in your legs through the same range of motion that running does. Walking increases your body temperature and increases blood flow to your leg muscles.

  1. Stair Climbs

Find a series of stairs and slowly jog up and down them. This stretches out your glutes and hamstrings to keep your legs and even increases the range of motion of your legs so that the muscles are loose and energized. This dynamically stretches out your muscles and helps prevent injuries when you begin to run.

  1. Deep Lunges

On a straight stretch of the track, do some deep lunges. Deep lunges are able to stretch out your glutes and your calves. This is a great way to slowly loosen up your legs and your hip and knee joints so that they are not damaged during any strenuous part of your run.

  1. Stretches

Certain dynamic stretches can work to energize your legs and help prevent you from any injuries during your workout. These are some examples of dynamic stretches that you can do during your warm up:

  • High Knees – Do a light jog, but kick up your knees as high as they can go. Do this for 30 seconds
  • Butt Kicks – Do a light jog, but kick up your feet behind you as high as they can go until they lightly kick your bottom. Do this for 30 seconds
  • Ice Skaters – Start in a standing position and then slowly bring your left foot to the opposite side of your right leg and lean down then slowly. Repeat with your right leg. Do this for 1 minute.

Don’t Forget to Cool Down After Your Run

Something that is also helpful for recovery after your run is doing an effective cool down. Once you have completed your run, do some light stretches and walk for a short distance. This will help slow down your heart rate and will prevent your muscles from becoming sore after your workout.

Training for Your Virtual Race

It’s important for you to train for your virtual race so that you feel prepared for race day. Find a race that gives you enough time to train beforehand. You can choose a race that works well with your personality and has a medal that you will always treasure.

When the weather begins to change, it can be tempting to stay indoors instead of going and running outside. But, just because the thermometer has dropped does not mean that you cannot enjoy the outdoors when you want to go for a run. Here are some tips to help you enjoy your run when it’s colder outside.

1. Protect Your Feet

Look for shoes that have the least amount of mesh. Also, be sure to wear socks that wick away your sweat, but will still keep your feet warm. This will help ensure that your feet stay warm and will keep any snow or slush out.

2. Layer It Up!

If you are running in colder weather, the general rule is to dress as if it were 20 degrees warmer. Be sure to dress in layers, so if you do get too hot and sweaty when you run, you can begin to shed layers. Also, it may be a good idea to remember to wear a scarf or mask to keep your face warmer when you are running. Cold air tends to also be very dry, which can cause breathing issues.

3. Warm Up Before You Start

It’s easier to get started on your run if you have warmed up beforehand. Before you start your run be sure to do some stretching and some light jogging. This will help you stay warm while you are running and will keep you feeling great throughout your run.

4. Stay Hydrated

Even in the colder weather, it is important to stay hydrated and make sure that you are getting plenty of water while you run.  You may be losing as much fluid in the winter as you do in the summer, so it’s important to make sure that you always have an insulated water bottle on hand while you run.

5. Stay Visible

Unfortunately, during winter, the sun sets much earlier in the day, which means that there are fewer daylight hours to actually go for your run. It is important that if you are running during darker times, that you wear something that ensures that can be seen by others. Make sure that you wear clothing that is reflective and stay in well-lit areas. It also may be a good idea to wear a headlamp.

6. Change Quickly After Your Run

Once you are done with your run, take a warm shower and change into warm clothes. This will help you recover easily from the winter cold. A warm beverage such as a hot cup of coffee or tea can warm your body up and help you recover quickly.

Training for a Virtual Race During the Winter

It’s important to train before your virtual race, which can be more difficult during the winter months. If you are training for a winter virtual race and you cannot stand running outside during colder weather, you can still complete the race wherever you want including a treadmill. Find what works best for you and your training habits.

If you haven’t signed up for your first virtual race, it’s time that you did! There is no better time than now to start racing. Signing up for a 5K or 10K race that you complete in your own time is easy. In fact, it takes minutes to do and makes you eligible for a finisher’s medal just like the one you’d receive at a sponsored event you attended in person.

Developing a winning mindset can help you overcome the challenges you face with your first virtual race. It helps you adapt and conquer the terrain you’ve chosen to race on. If you have a time in mind that you’d like to beat, you can set a goal for yourself. The thing about virtual racing is that you do it on your own terms, when it’s convenient for you so timing yourself isn’t necessary.

Here are some ways to get into a winning mindset while virtual racing:

  • Pride yourself on having the courage to start. For many people, running a race is a dream that they’ve had for a long time. Unfortunately, for some men and women, time constraints or life events prevent them from joining their friends, family members or work colleagues in an organized race. Having the opportunity to race on your own is incredible. It’s something that not everyone can do alone. That’s why you should be proud of your decision to start.
  • Know that you are strong and resilient. Your body is capable of doing things you’re not even aware of. Keep this in mind when you start to tire or feel like giving up in the middle of your race. It’s okay to run and walk. Virtual races give you greater flexibility. You can even ride your bicycle or take your dog for a walk and have it count toward your 5K or 10K total. The point is to finish what you’ve started because you are strong and capable.
  • Listen to uplifting music or your favorite podcast. This race is all about you! Why not put yourself in the right mindset by listening to music that you love or a podcast that you’ve been meaning to check out? You’ll be amazed at how quickly time passes when you’re doing something fun. Your virtual race can be customized however you see fit. The only thing we advise is that you do it when it is light out and that you remain aware of your surroundings throughout the duration of the race. We want you to put your personal safety first.

A virtual race provides you with the opportunity to discover new strengths about yourself. It allows you to complete a 5K or 10K race at your own pace and on your own schedule. Virtually racing builds strength in your body and character while providing you the opportunity to support charities and causes that matter to you.

Virtual races are always an enjoyable experience. You get the chance to set goals for yourself and accomplish those goals. You also have the ability to complete your race at your own pace and wherever you feel most comfortable. However, there are some things that you can do to make your virtual race an unforgettable experience that you will always treasure. Here are some creative things that you can do to make your virtual race a blast!

1. Invite Friends to Join You or Cheer You On

Races always seem to be better when you do them with friends, because they are there to encourage you throughout training and during the race. It’s great when you are doing them with someone who has the same passion for racing as you do. If your friends do not seem to want to join into the race, they may be happy to cheer you on from the sidelines.  This way, they can still have fun contributing to your success.

2. Dress Up in a Fun Athletic Outfit

For some of the fun virtual races that you can do, it may make your race a little more enjoyable to dress up according to the theme of the race! You get the chance to wear a crazy outfit and let people know that you are actually on a race and not just exercising. Choose a virtual race where you would be comfortable creating an outfit with that theme and find an outfit that is fun, but you are still comfortable in while you are racing.

3. Make Sure that You Celebrate After Your Race

While reaching your goals and achieving victory can be exciting enough, you can still find some simple ways to celebrate what you accomplished. If you did do the race with friends, maybe you can all go out to dinner afterwards or do another activity that you all enjoy together. This way, you can keep the party going and celebrate what you all accomplished together.

4. Do a Photo Shoot When You Receive Your Medal

Since you receive your medal in the mail after you have completed your race, you may want to take some time to celebrate again when you receive it! Take some pictures of yourself wearing the medal and share it on your Facebook or Instagram so that your friends can celebrate with you and congratulate you for completing your race.

Having a Great Time Doing a Virtual Race

Everything from your training to your virtual race is all about helping you reach the fitness goals that you have for yourself and having a great time doing it. If you haven’t tried doing a virtual race, we have some fantastic options to choose from. Virtual Pace Series can help you find a race that works with your personality and your training schedule. Our virtual races are all about helping you find races that you will enjoy doing and you will be proud when you have completed it!

Races are always a fun way of staying physically fit. It gives you the chance to work on your personal best and earn a beautiful medal when you are done with the race. You also have the confidence to know that you reached your goals and finished your race. One of the joys of virtual races is that it has all of the positive aspects of a race without any of the drawbacks. These are some of the best benefits of doing a virtual race.

1. You Are Only Competing With Yourself or Friends

The point of most races is to improve yourself and to have fun, but sometimes too much competition can spoil the fun. When people start passing you during a race, you can feel self-conscious and upset, which can prevent you from joining in the fun on other races When you are running your virtual race, you get the chance to run at your own pace.  You can still compete in the race with your friends and have a great time together at a pace that suits you all.

2. You Can Race Wherever You Want

Sometimes you need to travel a distance in order to get to a race, which can be so inconvenient. You have to travel to wherever you need to go the day before to pick up your bib and then you need to be sure that you arrive at the race location early so that you are with your pace group. The best thing about virtual races is that you can race wherever you want! If you have a favorite running spot that gives you the energy to do your best, you can race there! You can even race on a treadmill if that is where you run the best. You have the freedom to run where you are most comfortable.

3. You Still Get Some Fun Medals

When you complete a race, it feels so rewarding to get that medal to show off what you earned. There are so many colorful and creative medals that make the entire experience more fun. Many people choose to compete in a race simply because they like the look of the medal that they would win by competing in the race. When you receive that medal in your mailbox, you will still feel that pride from knowing that you were able to complete the race that you participated in.