We are just about four weeks into our Safer at Home orders here in Florida. To be honest, it feels like an eternity, but we are keeping positive and looking for the end in sight. I’m grateful that we can still get outside for exercise, and it was only this week that I saw two women wearing masks while out on their daily constitutional.
And while our races are postponed, canceled or otherwise in limbo, virtual racing is, decidedly, NOT canceled.
Virtual races have not always been my thing. In the past, I registered for a few, simply because I couldn’t turn down the cause or the bling (y’all, I’m a sucker for bling). I was going to complete the miles anyway, so why not support a great movement?
Case in point.
Sadly, the Virtual Pug Runs no longer exist, but there are plenty of virtual races open to runners looking for ways to crush their goals. Even better, so many of them are free! You may not get any swag, but you can join communities of other runners, all in the same boat, and push yourself to continue training for the future.
Team Sparkle Virtual Run Series
My current favorite is the Team Sparkle Virtual Run Series. This is a completely free series of runs. Sparkle Athletic provides a weekly theme, and runners come with the distance and a healthy dose of Sparkle Spirit.
Post your Team Sparkle photo on Instagram and Facebook with the tag #teamsparklevirtualrun and join in a community of awesome athletes, running and walking with style!
You won’t get a real medal, but they will hook you up with a medal image that you can photoshop yourself. Super fun.
The Un-Canceled Project
Run The Edge offers another completely free virtual race series called The Un-Canceled Project. This is a six week series, with each week reflecting a different theme: Gratitude, Hope, Humor, Inspiration, Courage, and Compassion. Each week, registrants can run one of each distance (5K, 10K, Half Marathon, Marathon, 8K, 15K, and/or Ultra) in order to load up their virtual trophy case. I am sticking to the 5Ks right now, for obvious reasons.
There are no virtual medals for these events, but there is a Facebook community where runners can share their accomplishments and support each other through running and fitness. It’s a nice group, full of really incredibly and inspiring people.
How do I benefit from virtual racing in these times?
Personally, I need all the help I can get with keeping my motivation up. While it’s incredibly ironic that I’m not missing too many events during my recovery, it would be a waste not to take advantage of what IS available. Joining these virtual racing challenges boosts my morale and makes me want to dig deep for improvement. Hitting a new pace or distance makes me want to lace up and get out there, and it’s a reminder not to skimp on my exercises or neglect my cross training.
As things continue, I plan to register for a few paid virtual races as well, to help support the race companies and causes in need of bracing in these uncertain times.
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Are you embracing the virtual racing life?