The Childhood Cancer Blog

How to Run a Virtual 5K Race

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By: Caroline Moyer and Rob Schuster 

With every in-person race cancelled, virtual races are quickly becoming the new normal. At Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF), we love creating amazing experiences for our supporters. That’s why we are hosting our first-ever Virtual End Childhood Cancer Walk/Run. This 5K race can happen anywhere and at any time on May 23. 

Even though it is virtual, you still have to go the distance! Rob and I are both avid runners. Together, we’ve compiled a few tips to help you get ready for any virtual race:

1.    If your schedule allows, find some time to walk or run throughout the week.
Just getting out and moving will help make race day more enjoyable. Try to run or walk at least two to three times each week.

2.    Measure out your course ahead of time so that you know what to expect for your run/walk. 
There are many locations you can choose for your 5K (outdoors, treadmill, track, etc.). You can use a fitness app (Strava, MapMyFitness, Garmin, Fitbit, etc.) or your own car to map out your 5K route.

3.    Make sure to stay hydrated on race day. 
If you are able, try to drink 8-16 oz. of water 30 minutes before the race. You can also try eating a light meal one to two hours before the race. A banana, dried fruits, or a bagel with peanut butter are a few good pre-race meal choices.

4.    Dress for race day weather and plan accordingly whether you will be walking or running. Also make sure you wear proper footwear to prevent post-race aches and pain.
When you’re running, the temperature will usually feel 20 degrees warmer. For example, if it’s 50 degrees out, it will feel like 70 while you’re running. Wearing running shoes or any supportive shoes will help ensure you’re ready to go on race day!

5.    Warm up before you run or walk.
Dynamic stretching is a great way to warm up before a 5K. A few stretches you could do are hip swings, ankle rotations, lunges, high knees, butt kicks, or arm swings. You can also do race pace pick-ups to warm up before a 5K. This involves running roughly 20 yards at your race pace, resting for 15 seconds, then repeating three more times.

6.    Make sure to pace yourself, don’t go too fast at the start.
When running or walking a considerable distance it is essential to pace yourself. Try to settle into a steady breathing pattern early in your race and try to maintain that throughout your 5K. This will help ensure you have more energy left at the end to finish strong!

7.    Have fun, smile and don’t forget to sign up for the Virtual End Childhood Cancer Run/Walk on May 23
Signing up is easy (and the event is free!). Just head over to the registration page and sign up yourself and your whole family. Don’t forget to pre-purchase a special edition t-shirt and to ask friends and family to join you (virtually, of course).

Register for the run


Caroline Moyer is a Community Engagement Specialist for ALSF. She’s been an avid runner for 11 years, running distances from 400 meter dash to the half marathon. She is also a NASM certified personal trainer and a swim coach at the collegiate, high school and club level.  

Rob Schuster is a Revenue Accountant at ALSF. He enjoyed running as a pastime for six years and has participated in several 5K and obstacle races.