With the country, or rather the world, being in lockdown, it’s time to find new and creative ways of staying fit and fulfilling our running goals, while respecting the restrictions placed on us.
For those of us who want to stay on top of our fitness, or strive for those long-awaited goals, I’ve found 5 virtual running challenges to keep you motivated.
Just because we can only exercise outside once a day, it doesn’t mean we can’t make it count. There’s plenty of virtual running challenges you can do at home to help you fulfil your goals while social distancing, or even in the confines of your own home.
Races have been cancelled and postponed, but there are many alternatives to the big running events, like the London Marathon, including some pretty amazing virtual running events.
Climb Snowdon At Home
That’s right, you can climb a mountain in the comfort of your own home.
James Dunn (@morningcoffeerun on Instagram) recently started the virtual running challenge, Staircase Summit Run. Basically measure how many of your stairs equals a meter and times that by the height of Snowdonia, from sea level. That’s how many steps you have to climb at home to get to the top of Snowdon, and don’t forget the return journey.
The Staircase Summit Run is free and you can do it in your own time. It’s proving to be a total hit with runners, who are sharing their efforts on Instagram. Thankfully, you don’t have to complete it in one day, unless you really want to.
Virtual Racing UK offer loads of online running challenges. It’s not just limited to running challenges either. You can swim, cycle or row in any location of your choice. Challenges are completed in your own time. As long as they’re done by the specified deadline, you can say you’ve completed it and submit your data.
Virtual Racing has a hefty online community. This means that even though you complete events virtually, you’ll still be racing against others.
Virtual Racing UK offer different timescales for their challenges as well. They’ve annual or year long challenges, like run 1000 miles in 2020, or monthly virtual races, such as the April Prosecco 5K (oooh, hello), or the May Owl 10K. Ongoing challenges are available too, and these must be completed within 6 months of entering.
All races and challenges have an entry fee. In return you get some decent running bling once you’ve completed your chosen event. I’ve seen at least 3 medals I’d like to have.
If you’ve not yet listened to the Rambling Runner podcast, why not? Rambling Runner, Matt, has just started a virtual race series. He’s offering 4 distances – 5k, 10k, half and full marathon, spanning an 8 week period. The fastest 3 men and women each get a Run to Overcome Erica Sara necklace, and if you complete all 4 distances, you’ll bag a fab pair of Goodr shades.
All distances and times are logged on Strava, so you need to sign up there (it’s free), and make sure you join the Strava Rambling Runner Group. You’ll need something to record your distance too, like a GPS watch or your phone.
The dates for each distance are on the website. We’ve missed the 5km, sorry, but the 10km can be completed between 3-5 April. The other distances are scheduled for mid April and early May.
It’s worth noting that Strava doesn’t do treadmills so these distances need to happen outside.
Much like before, Virtual Runner UK allows you to complete races and virtual running challenges at home or outside. You can run or walk, wherever pace most suits you. All you have to do is sign up and provide evidence once completed.
There’s loads of events to choose from, and if you’re a Star Wars fan, you may want to look at May The Course Be With You. When you click on a race, you’ll see that a percentage of the entry fee goes towards a charity. That’s certainly worth running for. That, and some rather impressive medals.
As with the other challenges, Ministry of Medals Virtual Running gives you the option of monthly, annual or ongoing virtual running challenges. You can run a race, with a distance of your choosing, or select a distance goal for the month or year. Some virtual challenges are under £10, so can still achieve your goal while being mindful of your spending.
When you start looking, there’s quite a few virtual challenges to explore.
Have you ever completed a virtual challenge? Not everyone wants to run in crowds and it’s certainly an alternative to look into while we’re having to distance and isolate. I’m thinking about a few 5k events, it’s just a question of which ones.