Setting an objective can make a big difference when you’re trying to get started with any type of diet or exercise program. I find that virtual racing is a fun way to make me accountable to my exercise routine. If you’ve never heard of these types of events, they give you a goal to work for and pride in your accomplishment (not to mention cool finisher’s medals!) without a lot of the hassles that go with other types of running races.
The great thing about this type of racing is that there is totally no judgement involved – you don’t have to worry about having the fastest time, about how you look in your race duds, or about whether or not you can go the distance. You decide when to complete your race (so sleep in if you want to!) and you decide the course you’ll use.
With a virtual race, you complete your distance any way you want to:
- If you need to walk some or all of it, there’s no time limit.
- If you have put off entering a traditional race because you feel that you aren’t going to be able to “keep up with the pack”, completing a virtual race will let you finish your race any way you’d like. For example: a 5K is 3.1 miles – if you sign up for a virtual 5K, you can walk, run, swim, treadmill, hike, or combine any or all of these to meet your 3.1 miles (even walking your dog counts!).
- If you need to spread the distance over days, you can do it with virtual races: you could do a mile a day on three separate days or do one mile a week for 3 weeks until you hit your goal distance.
- If you work on the weekend when most traditional races are held, virtual racing is a great way to compete. Do your race when everyone else is at work – no parking hassles, no super early start times, and no rearranging your work schedule to fit in a race.
- Like the feeling that comes with supporting a cause? Virtual races often are great ways to give a donation to a worthy charity in conjunction with your registration. At Triumph Virtual Racing, we donate a portion of the proceeds from each month’s race to the charity we are supporting in that month. For example, October 2015’s race will benefit breast cancer research (www.triumphvirtualracing.com/races/).
- If you are a visual person, virtual races often provide cool finisher’s medals as part of the race experience. So, you not only get the pride of accomplishing a goal, you also get some bling to show off! Additionally, our virtual running races give you personalized race bibs so you can get the full race experience.
- Triumph Virtual Racing (www.triumphvirtualracing.com/) also has a fun race “twist” called The Extra Mile, that you can choose to participate in with every race. As an example, if you complete our October race while wearing pink to support breast cancer research and you submit a photo of your gorgeous pinkness to our Facebook page, we’ll enter you into a drawing that takes place at the end of the race period (in this case, October 31, 2015). One race participant will win a prize and it makes the race a little more special.
The best thing about a virtual race is that it can motivate you to try for a goal that you might think is out of reach. When I started running 18 months ago, it was tough for me to get up the hill by my house without being winded. But, having a goal made me push myself and it was thrilling to see the results from each tiny step I took toward being healthier.
Robin Schiltz took up running in 2014 in order to complete a half marathon with her daughter. She discovered virtual racing while looking for nearby events to help push her toward her goal and is now a co-owner of Triumph Virtual Racing. For more information about virtual races or to register for an event, visit http://www.triumphvirtualracing.com/ or check out their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/Triumphvirtualracing.