Running Is Not Cancelled (3): Spartan SGX Coach @rshimonski
  • Running Is Not Cancelled (1) : Virtual Spartan Races X @Barhuma_Kool
  • Running Is Not Cancelled (2) : Virtual Ragnar X   @stretchruncoaching

Running Is Not Cancelled (3) :
Spartan SGX Coach @rshimonski

Virtual racing.
What a GREAT idea.


The world we live in today is quite different from what it was around the same time last year. With the COVID-19 pandemic affecting every aspect of life, sports events are not an exception. A great deal of events with mass participation, including marathons and races, have been canceled.

Events are canceled,
but running is not.
 

In today's #RunningIsNotCanceled, we have reached out to @rshimonskia Spartan SGX Coach, and chatted about all the virtual races he had participated in and what kept him going in the past 5 months. 


Virtual racing.
What a GREAT idea.


The world we live in today is quite different from what it was around the same time last year. With the COVID-19 pandemic affecting every aspect of life, sports events are not an exception. A great deal of events with mass participation, including marathons and races, have been canceled.

Events are canceled,
but running is not.
 

In today's #RunningIsNotCanceled, we have reached out to @rshimonskia Spartan SGX Coach, and chatted about all the virtual races he had participated in and what kept him going in the past 5 months. 

Spartan SGX Coach @rshimonski

Currently a certified fitness trainer and a SGX Level 2 coach for Spartan,  Rob focuses on getting new racers ready for their first Spartan challenge.

How many virtual races have you taken part in so far? 

Spartan SGX Coach @rshimonski

Thank you for taking the time to interview me on this topic. As a racer who for years has worked hard to grow in the sport of obstacle course racing (OCR) and other types of competitive racing, entering into the world of virtual racing was a challenge at first.



On March 15th I had already started running my first virtual race. From there I started to see the benefits of racing virtually on a consistent basis. I was able to stay in shape, continue to challenge myself and ultimately, be ready for when the permits were allowed again and races could be safely deployed.



Now it is July of 2020 and many if not all races have been denied thus creating a storm of virtual racing options to hit the market all at once. Because I was signed up for many of these races ahead of time, signed up for a few more along the way and continued to train, I have successfully completed a combination of over 100 virtual races, challenges and collaboration training efforts in the past 5 months.



While this number sounds large, it really isn’t if you are consistently training on a daily basis because now your training has become an actual event. All of my active recovery days were tied to virtual events as well. For example, while I may have pushed on a 5K sprint for time, the active recovery day on the following day would be a biking event not worrying about my time to complete it.



What made it difficult is the suddenness of it all, where most if not all live races had moved to the virtual platform almost overnight.



Having done virtual races before, I had focused more on the live race aspect because of the ability to compete, however since the pandemic and the mass-canceling of races, virtual racing became the only game in town in many aspects.


Thank you for taking the time to interview me on this topic. As a racer who for years has worked hard to grow in the sport of obstacle course racing (OCR) and other types of competitive racing, entering into the world of virtual racing was a challenge at first.

On March 15th I had already started running my first virtual race. From there I started to see the benefits of racing virtually on a consistent basis. I was able to stay in shape, continue to challenge myself and ultimately, be ready for when the permits were allowed again and races could be safely deployed.

Now it is July of 2020 and many if not all races have been denied thus creating a storm of virtual racing options to hit the market all at once. Because I was signed up for many of these races ahead of time, signed up for a few more along the way and continued to train, I have successfully completed a combination of over 100 virtual races, challenges and collaboration training efforts in the past 5 months.

Spartan SGX Coach @rshimonski

While this number sounds large, it really isn’t if you are consistently training on a daily basis because now your training has become an actual event. All of my active recovery days were tied to virtual events as well. For example, while I may have pushed on a 5K sprint for time, the active recovery day on the following day would be a biking event not worrying about my time to complete it.

What made it difficult is the suddenness of it all, where most if not all live races had moved to the virtual platform almost overnight.

Having done virtual races before, I had focused more on the live race aspect because of the ability to compete, however since the pandemic and the mass-canceling of races, virtual racing became the only game in town in many aspects.

Spartan SGX Coach @rshimonski Spartan SGX Coach @rshimonski Spartan SGX Coach @rshimonski

 Which one of them was the hardest? 

In all seriousness, they are all hard. If you take them seriously and do your best to push yourself, each one of them becomes just as hard as the training you put in normally.

What I have found to be the ones that are harder are the lengthier ones, more physically challenging ones or the ones that push you way out of your comfort zone such as distances you have never tried before. For example, if you have never run an ultra-distance before but were preparing to do so, running your first ultra “virtually” can be very challenging. 

Spartan SGX Coach @rshimonski
Spartan SGX Coach @rshimonski

To date, the hardest race I have taken part of is called the Death Race by Battle Miles which is an ultra-distance event with body weight exercises. I cannot go into the details of the race because it’s kept a secret until you receive the race packet with instructions on what you need to do. It was the most challenging so far.

Others that deserve an honorable mention was the Spartan Lockdown Virtual Ultra Race, which was very intense, the Yeti Ultra 24 hour Challenge, which asked you to run a specific amount of miles every few hours for 24 hours and the Marine Corps Marathon Tri-Challenge, which is about 8 miles of rucking, a virtual duathlon which covered over 20 miles of running and biking and a DIY obstacle course covering another 4 miles.

All of these events were standout events that were mixed in with many others to include 2 milers, 5Ks, half marathons and other rucking, biking and even climbing events. 

To date, the hardest race I have taken part of is called the Death Race by Battle Miles which is an ultra-distance event with body weight exercises. I cannot go into the details of the race because it’s kept a secret until you receive the race packet with instructions on what you need to do. It was the most challenging so far.

Spartan SGX Coach @rshimonski

Others that deserve an honorable mention was the Spartan Lockdown Virtual Ultra Race, which was very intense, the Yeti Ultra 24 hour Challenge, which asked you to run a specific amount of miles every few hours for 24 hours and the Marine Corps Marathon Tri-Challenge, which is about 8 miles of rucking, a virtual duathlon which covered over 20 miles of running and biking and a DIY obstacle course covering another 4 miles.

Spartan SGX Coach @rshimonski

All of these events were standout events that were mixed in with many others to include 2 milers, 5Ks, half marathons and other rucking, biking and even climbing events. 

From your IG feed, we learned that you tried to make races as real as possible by adding in elevation, such as outdoor obstacles.

Do you think it is important for virtual races? 

Spartan SGX Coach @rshimonski

Yes and I appreciate you noticing that.

Running on the pavement every day can get boring and tedious. Why not jazz it up with some real world scenarios?

Of course I have taken all safety precautions in ensuring that I remain socially distance or protected, covered when needed and safe at all times but I do try to incorporate real world examples into my training. Whether it’s picking up a log and carrying it through the forest trails, finding a massive amount of vertical gain through the use of hill repeats or finding terrible terrain to keep my ankles tough…. any example of real world is going to keep you ready for whenever live racing comes back.

Spartan SGX Coach @rshimonski

"That’s what we do at a live race so don’t just go through the motions, make it tougher.

Make the virtual event a real (or live) event. It’s only a matter of perception and a mindset you put yourself into and having one that makes the event real in your mind only makes you stronger. It also makes it more interesting of course! "

As a Spartan SGX Coach, what advice would you offer to all the virtual racers out there? 

Stay involved and as I have said before, train your mind and your body.

As an SGX coach, I have the ability to work with other coaches, Spartan leadership and SGX leaders who are all very motivated and inspiring. We have a forum where we share ideas and work out training programs, share opinions and have ‘real talk’. Through all of this, unanimously it can be said that having a strong mindset will help you prevail in most of the challenges that come your way because everything in life that is a challenge can be perceived as an ‘obstacle’.

Spartan SGX Coach @rshimonski

The pandemic is an obstacle.

The inability to have gatherings of large size to conduct racing is an obstacle.

Staying fit if you have not done so is an obstacle.

Cleaning eating and nutrition can be an obstacle.

These all require you to think, plan, strategize and take action.

My personal advice would be, if you have not done so, sign up for a virtual race and give it a shot.

On the Spartan website you can do it without any cost so it’s really just putting the time in and doing it. If you are actively racing virtually and having fun, put some extra challenges together to push yourself outside of your comfort zone.

Think like a real race… virtual is only a word. It doesn’t mean anything. Training is training and that’s what is important. You’re having a live event regardless of what you call it.

Spartan SGX Coach @rshimonski
Spartan SGX Coach @rshimonski Spartan SGX Coach @rshimonski

 What keeps you going? 

What keeps me going is my interest in staying healthy in body and mind.


I think we can really develop our bodies and each person has a different way of doing it, different methods, different viewpoints on nutrition and specific ways they like to train but I think the mind is clearly underrated as an important part of what keeps people going. You have to know your ‘why’ and when you do you can continue to drive yourself towards success. I want to be healthy and ready for life’s challenges.


At 47 years of age, it’s not easy to do what I do nor does it come without a lot of work, getting around injuries and having to recover. I have a young family and I need to be active, strong, fit and healthy and this type of training does that for me. I also get them involved so I am able to influence my family in a positive way and get them away from screens and devices.


I also need to do this in the middle of a pandemic while working as a healthcare worker and as an essential employee. I need to keep my mind stronger than my body and my why is my family and the teams I work with and the work I do.


I think keeping ourselves focused on challenges gives us things to strive for and when you do that you can’t ‘get lazy’. You don’t have an opportunity to quit. You mind is trained to never quit. 

@Barhuma_Kool: Spartan Virtual Race@Barhuma_Kool: Spartan Virtual Race

From your IG feed, we learned that you tried to make races as real as possible by adding in elevation, such as outdoor obstacles. Do you think it is important for virtual races? 


Yes and I appreciate you noticing that.

Running on the pavement every day can get boring and tedious. Why not jazz it up with some real world scenarios?

Of course I have taken all safety precautions in ensuring that I remain socially distance or protected, covered when needed and safe at all times but I do try to incorporate real world examples into my training. Whether it’s picking up a log and carrying it through the forest trails, finding a massive amount of vertical gain through the use of hill repeats or finding terrible terrain to keep my ankles tough…. any example of real world is going to keep you ready for whenever live racing comes back.

"That’s what we do at a live race so don’t just go through the motions, make it tougher.

Make the virtual event a real (or live) event. It’s only a matter of perception and a mindset you put yourself into and having one that makes the event real in your mind only makes you stronger. It also makes it more interesting of course! "

Spartan SGX Coach @rshimonski

▶ As a Spartan SGX Coach, what advice would you offer to all the virtual racers out there? ◀

Spartan SGX Coach @rshimonski Spartan SGX Coach @rshimonski

 As a Spartan SGX Coach, what advice would you offer to all the virtual racers out there? 

Stay involved and as I have said before, train your mind and your body.

As an SGX coach, I have the ability to work with other coaches, Spartan leadership and SGX leaders who are all very motivated and inspiring. We have a forum where we share ideas and work out training programs, share opinions and have ‘real talk’. Through all of this, unanimously it can be said that having a strong mindset will help you prevail in most of the challenges that come your way because everything in life that is a challenge can be perceived as an ‘obstacle’.

The pandemic is an obstacle.

The inability to have gatherings of large size to conduct racing is an obstacle.

Staying fit if you have not done so is an obstacle.

Cleaning eating and nutrition can be an obstacle.

These all require you to think, plan, strategize and take action.

My personal advice would be, if you have not done so, sign up for a virtual race and give it a shot.

On the Spartan website you can do it without any cost so it’s really just putting the time in and doing it. If you are actively racing virtually and having fun, put some extra challenges together to push yourself outside of your comfort zone.

Think like a real race… virtual is only a word. It doesn’t mean anything. Training is training and that’s what is important. You’re having a live event regardless of what you call it.

Spartan SGX Coach @rshimonski





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