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Virtual Races: What they are and how they could help your training

In the midst of the Corona Virus Pandemic, runners from all over the globe have been sidelined from racing in the foreseeable future. All runners, ranging from the recreational runner, all the way to the professional athletes are unable to participate in conventional racing due to the need for social distancing. For right now, it is not certain when racing as we know it will return to normal or if conventional racing will ever be the same again. I’m happy to say that there is more good news for runners than bad news however. There is an amazing alternative to conventional racing that can allow you to experience most, if not all of the joys of conventional racing. This alternative is something known as “Virtual Racing.” For those who don’t know what virtual races are but who are curious and want to know a little bit more then please read on.

Virtual Races are just as they sound, races that are run without physically being present. Simply put, runners run a particular race (or series of races) within a specified date and time that is set by the race director. Specific rules for virtual races vary from race to race but the general format remains the same. The race director will set a time period in which the races need to be run by (From “X Date and X Time” when you start to “Y Date and Y Time” when you finish) This could vary anywhere from being the same day, to spanning the length of a month or a series of months. It all depends on the race and what the race director wants to do for that given race. The race director will then specify what type of activity he wants the athletes to do. Again, the sky is the limit with this because these races can be done anywhere and the time to complete these races are flexible and can vary depending on the race director. Sometimes, only one race will need to be run, or maybe runners will need to run a specific number of races that vary in distance. Certain virtual races may have you run a particular distance everyday, or have you continue running a set distance for an indefinite period of time until one runner remains, or no runners are able to continue.

Once these race distances are completed, the runners will then need to verify that they completed the race distance. This could be done in many different ways and it all depends on how you would like to participate in these challenges. If for example, you want to run your race outside, then running the race, and taking a picture of your GPS watch “post-run” would be a perfectly valid way of proving to the race director that you’ve completed the distance. You could also use apps like “Strava” or “MapMyRun” to track your run, and then send that data to the race director. If you are on a treadmill then you could take a picture of the treadmills screen which will display the completed distance and time that it took you to complete it. The way each participant may choose to do it can vary and that’s just another way to mix it up and keep things fun and engaging for everyone. Now when it comes to recording results, race directors will usually input records of runners times that are sent to them daily by the participating runners. When its a multi-day racing event, updating the race results can serve to encourage runners to try to beat each others times and only adds to the fun. In this way, participants are able to virtually push one another to new personal record performances and milestones that they couldn’t achieve alone. At the end of the event runners could then have awards and race accessories shipped to them through the mail. Generally, virtual races will also include donations to charities, So if you don’t necessarily love running then rest assured that your choosing to go out there and run can still make a difference (wherever you are in the world.) Sometimes, virtual races can have the added benefit of being associated with particular Facebook Groups and large social media participation which only adds to the fun and builds a greater sense of community than what would’ve been possible with an “In-Person” race

Virtual races today have helped to fill the gap that has been left in the wake of so many canceled races and events. There are many things to love about virtual races but one of the most important is that it gives runners the luxury of being able to run the same race with runners from all over the world without being physically together. Furthermore, any given runner has the choice of running these races outdoors, indoors, around your house, on a treadmill, in your backyard, etc. The possibilities are endless and the fun is limitless.

Now I’ve shared many benefits to running a virtual race so I’d just like to summarize these benefits below:

– You can easily plan your training around your virtual races

– Can be run on any surface

– Can be run at any time in the day

– You are able to compete with other people you wouldn’t have been able to normally due to distance or due to current social distancing guidelines

– Great sense of community both locally and globally

In summary, Virtual Races are a fantastic way to help continue your training, test out all your hard earned fitness while also allowing one to stay connected with fellow runners in a fun event that can also benefit charity. As you all know, I am also a Virtual Running Coach for IFA Virtual Racing and as you may have guessed we are a Virtual Organization devoted to Health, Wellness, Training and much more. We also organize several Virtual Events such as:

  1. IFA 30 Day Get Awesome Challenge
  2. Center for Growing Talent: Virtual Wellness Walk/Run Challenge
  3. Do The Delaware 96 with Michael Wardian
  4. Inspired Hearts and Hands
  5. Center For Growing Talent: Virtual Wellness Walk/Run Challenge
  6. Bobbie The Wonder Dog Challenge

If any of these events sound like something you might be interested in then please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at imfreakinawesome.com to find out what our latest virtual events are for now and in the future.

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