Ever seen someone running with a number bib alone?
If your answer is No…
It’s okay, most people don’t know what the heck virtual racing is.
A Virtual 5k was not what I pictured my first race of 2020 to look like, but COVID-19 sure is bringing in a lot of firsts. Even the 2020 Boston Marathon, which is the planet’s most celebrated footrace, got cancelled for the first time due to this pandemic.
So, what is Virtual Racing?
Virtual Racing is basically like running a road race with other runners, except that you get to do it on a treadmill, around your neighborhood, or wherever you choose from.
Most virtual races have a specific distance like a 5K, 10K, or Half-Marathon.
Depending on the race rules, you usually have to run your race on a specific day or specific time frame. Some even require you to upload your results, but each one will vary especially on race fees.
Although there are no crowds for this type of racing, one of the biggest perks is not having to wake up at dawn, worry about parking, having to use a porta potty, and rush to a start line.
While I enjoy the adrenaline and crowds of a road race, virtual racing has a lot of great benefits too.
Benefits of Virtual Racing
- Beginner Friendly – If you’re new to running, virtual racing is a great way to start.
- Confidence Booster – you can take your time to train, and you don’t have to worry about finishing last. Or as we runners like to call it, DNF (Did Not Finish).
- Flexible Timing – Most races have a designated time and pace time guidelines. If you do not meet the pace time, you may experience race directors friendly telling you to step out of the course. Unfortunately, roads can’t be closed for the public all day.
- Judgement Free-Zone – No need to worry about looks or how you think you look while running. Many people new to the sport may feel intimidated to start.
- Stress-Free – What if there is bad weather? Then you have the option to run on a treadmill or reschedule your “race”. There’s no added stress when you’re running alone because you don’t have to worry about the unpredictable weather or race officials closing the roads.
- Money Saver – Running is an expensive sport. Race fees are not cheap and if you’re super motivated, sometimes you travel and spend extra money on a hotel and flight. No need for that with a Virtual Race!
- Family and Dog-Friendly – You can run with your friends, family, or dog and get them to run or walk with you; without feeling intimidated.
- Virtual Support – Join an online running community, with people who live in different parts of the country. Even if you can’t run together, you can connect with other runners and support each other along the journey. This can build a lot of support, create accountability, and make it fun.
- Run for a Cause – Most virtual races have a cause, so you can support a charity both financially and by raising awareness of their work by sharing your journey on social medial or proudly taking a selfie on race day. Some races will even mail you a Medal or T-shirt afterwards.
- Busy Bee Friendly – It’s a great way for people who can’t to participate in races due to their work commitments, or who have other obligations to still be able to race.
Switching up your workout routine has a lot of great benefits, especially for your mind. Running does not vary too much in terms of the sport itself, but a change in your environment or mindset can bring in more positive energy to your runs.
Want to Give it a Try?
You can sign up for the Virtually2gether5K that I (Founder of Latinas Running) created with Curvy Runner Girl. We have incorporated running through Zoom on race day, so we can truly run virtually together.
Latinas Running and Curvy Runner Girl are great running communities to follow for support and accountability. We have also designed training plans to help you get started on your running or walking journey to get to 3.1 Miles (5K) .
There are lots of virtual races out there, but if you love medals; Disney has some of the best! They will be hosting a virtual series this summer. Register here to RunDisney