Do you have a lot of no shows on race day? Or are you seeing a lot of gasping breaths at the finish line? Use these four tips to help your participants get ready for the start line and keep them engaged along the way:
1. Post videos on your website
In the age of YouTube, many people would rather watch a video on how to do something than read about it. This is an easy way to add some variety to your website and connect with participants. You can post videos about how to train, what to expect on race day, how to recover, take a drive through of the course, etc. If you don’t have a big budget, don’t worry. Get your digital camera or iPad out and simply talk into it. Your participants will appreciate having a real person talk to them about the event.
Escape From Alcatraz™ Triathlon, a grueling event that requires lots of prep, does an excellent job with their Race Tips videos.
2. Offer training plans
Whether you organize a 5K or an Ironman, you’re going to get participants from all walks of life. You can engage them with your event and get them excited about it, while simultaneously making sure they’re ready on race day, with training plans. If you’re not sure where to get them, just Google it. There are plenty of industry experts who offer various plans (often for free), there are online programs like ActiveTrainer, and there are even mobile apps like Couch-to-5K. It will be easy to give your participants training options.
For example, Rapid Running features “Training” in the main navigation of its site and offers participants a variety of options to choose from:
3. Create course maps and info, mile by mile
People like to know where they’re going. And they also like to know how challenging something will be. Create some detailed course maps so your participants can see every twist and turn, every road and elevation change. Make a visual map they can print out and write a course description of every mile as well. This goes a long way to prepare your participants, as well as relieve any anxiety they may have on race day.
Pacific Sports LLC, an experienced event management company, does a great job with their course maps and descriptions. Here is a look at the information they provide for their Cleveland Triathlon event:
4. Host training sessions
Similar to providing training plans, these training sessions will get participants engaged and looking forward to your event, while also preparing them for race day. The difference is that training sessions are face-to-face, social, and group oriented. You can partner with a local athletic store, or running or tri club, for help if you aren’t able to organize them yourself. Invite all registered participants and encourage them to bring their friends. And get creative! Come up with themes for each training session, give attendees a free beer at the end, or offer a discount on registration if they get a friend to register for your event. Think about ways to attract participants to these training sessions so they can get prepped and excited about your event.
The Austin Marathon, a very “green” event, organizes four “Trash Runs” that lead up to the event. Runners can train, get to know each other, and help keep their city beautiful.
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