In the grand scheme of things, we can all agree that races being cancelled probably isn't the worst thing to happen in 2020. With that out of the way, we can all also agree that it doesn't make it any less miserable when you find yourself stuck at home, when you should be bombing down the side of a hill with a number on your chest.
Fortunately where there is a will there is a way and race directors and individuals alike have turned 2020 from the year of cancelled races to the year of the virtual race.
Simply put a Virtual Race, is a race that you can run anywhere (indoors or out) at your own pace and often at any time within a set period. While these races aren't as easy to declare a fair winner on, they are incredibly fun and a great way to get your racing fix.
First thing's first - check the online rules and then check them again. Do you have to stick to a shorter loop or can you go further afield. Do you have to climb a certain amount or can it be done on the flat? Does it have to be done in one go or can you break it up?
Next think about logistics, if you have to do it all in one go then it makes much more sense to run shortish loops near your home, so that you can refuel and go to the toilet as needed (lots of public toilets are still closed). If you live in a town or city try to avoid areas with lots of crossings, narrow steps or too many people. Believe me, waiting at that slow set of lights for the green man will drive you mad on your 15th loop.
If you can break up your virtual race it up over a few days or more, then you have a lot more freedom to pick more interesting and varied routes, though I still recommend avoiding congested narrow streets or super technical trails.
There might still be some competitive element to virtual races, but with so many variables, mostly it's about taking part and finishing in one piece. So RUN YOUR OWN RACE!Just like any other race, go easy on those first few miles or loops and get a feel for how your feeling and adjust your pace accordingly. Don't whatever you do spend the entire run, looking at the Facebook group for live updates or checking strava to see how everyone else is doing. Again RUN YOUR OWN RACEwhile your running and update the other runners when you get back.
If you're doing a week long race (or longer), be smart and spread your miles out over the duration, especially if it's a really long one. I know it can be tempting to throw all caution to the wind and try and run it all in two days, which is fine for the shorter races but an absolute no go when that mileage starts getting a couple of zeros on the end.
The last point to remember is that 99% of these virtual races work off your strava (or similar) data, so remember keep those watches charged before hand and of course have fun!