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How to prepare for a virtual running challenge

Hawaiian Airlines’ Vice President of Marketing & E-Commerce, Rob Sorensen, shares a few tips on how you can prepare for our upcoming Holoholo Challenge.

So you signed up for the Holoholo Challenge. Now what? To help you prepare for the challenging month ahead (pun intended!), our Vice President of Marketing & E-Commerce, Rob Sorensen, shares a few tips he’s picked up over the past 10 years that he’s been competitively running.

Preparing for a longer virtual running challenge

Virtual challenges are a great way to motivate you to restart, maintain or increase your fitness level. Having recently completed a few, here are some things I learned from my experience.

  • Plan out your calendar. Divide the total miles of the challenge by the allowed number of weeks to better understand what is required. To complete the 50-mile course, you’ll need to log 12.5 miles per week, and 30 miles per week for the 130-mile course. I also recommend planning out your week with a variety of run lengths each day, as your body needs time to recover from long or intense runs.
  • Consider adding walks. Always a good idea for recovery, evening walks can also help you accumulate the miles needed for a longer challenge. While the mileage per walk is low, they add up over time and help cover for lower-mileage recovery weeks or days you can’t get your regular run in.

The right gear goes a long way

Having put in a fair number of running miles, I will admit that I am a bit finicky on my gear. Running is hard, and if there are things I can do to make it easier on my body or spirit, I will seek these out. The following are some gear suggestions that have worked well for me.

  • It starts with the shoes. Shoes can make all the difference in avoiding injuries, from blisters to broader impact-related maladies. A good running store and some trial and error will help you achieve a proper fit. I also change shoes based upon my run. For longer runs I like the cushion and support of the Hoka Hoka One Hupana Flow. For tempo or sprint runs I favor the added responsiveness of Nike Air Zoom Pegasus. For race days, I will slip on Nike Vaporfly 4% Flyknit for super lightweight, breathability and speed.
  • Good shorts are worth the investment. After years of running in heavy nylon basketball shorts, I have discovered how much a nice lightweight, breathable short can make running more enjoyable—especially with Hawaii’s humidity. My favorite in this regard is the Tracksmith Session Short. For runs where I may want to take my phone, I find the Lululemon Surge Short handy with a pocket on the liner that holds the phone tight to your leg.
  • Don’t get rubbed the wrong way. In running, friction is not your friend. If you have spots on your body that chafe, don’t just accept it, fix it. I find a little Aquaphor helps, even when you sweat. I put a little where my shorts might rub on my lower back, and also where my Garmin strap rubs under my wrist.
  • Stay safe out there. Minimize your risks of running outside by knowing your environment and always tell someone where you are running and when you expect to return. With the Hawaiʻi heat, I run early in the mornings when it’s dark, so I attach a light to my shorts. My go-to light is the Apace Vision Clip On in blue. Hawaiʻi locals might appreciate that the blue color closely matches what is used by the local police which has the added benefit of them slowing approaching cars down a bit.
  • Watch your hydration. On your longer runs you will want to plan for how to stay hydrated. Most of the time I run a 2-mile loop where I can stash a water bottle on my driveway. If it is really hot, I will add Skratch Labs Sport Mix with my water. If running outside of my loop, I often utilize my Fitly Hydro Running Pack to carry water along with my phone and some nutrition.

Staying motivated throughout the challenge

Signing up for a challenge is exciting and let’s be honest, the t-shirt and medal are compelling. However, now you have to put in the effort and staying motivated is key. Here are some suggestions to keep you going strong.

  • Update your mileage frequently. Keep motivated by entering your mileage into the online platform after every run. It is exciting to see the mileage adding up and if the challenge is virtually taking place somewhere (as the Holoholo Challenge is in in Hawaiʻi), you can track where you are along the course and check out what you might be seeing in real life if you were actually running the course.
  • Include friends. All challenges are more exciting if doing them with others (even if you are doing so remotely). Virtual challenges are custom built for this. Referring the challenge to others can also be rewarding. With the Holoholo Challenge, you receive HawaiianMiles when three or more sign up based off your referral. Registration ends Sept. 30 - click here to learn more about the referral program.
  • Join a team. Create or join a team with friends or co-workers and then track not only your own progress, but that of your team. Make sure to give them a shout out or extra encouragement from time to time! Visit our FAQ page for details on how to join or create a team.
  • Post about your progress. On both your own social media and within the race platform, share when you hit a key milestone, share where you are actually running, share your beautiful smile, share what moves and motivates you, but share! Use #HoloholoChallenge on Instagram or join our Facebook Group.

With these tips in mind, Holoholo Challenge should be a breeze! Good luck and we’ll see you at the [virtual] finish line.

About Rob Sorensen. Rob likes to cycle and only started running 10 years ago when his brother-in-law challenged him to complete a full-distance Ironman. Since then, he’s completed numerous full and half Ironman races, as well as full and half marathons. He is thrilled that his college-aged children are also triathletes, with his daughter completing the New Zealand half Ironman with him this past March. (Rob beat his brother-in-law, but not his daughter!)

Story By Rob Sorensen, Hawaiian Airlines Vice President of Marketing & E-Commerce

September 18, 2020

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