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Virtual racing in 2020

Let’s go back to November 2019. On a cold and rainy day I’ve ended up running my first Virtual marathon. The reason for that is that NYRR offered a guaranteed entry for the 2020 New York City Marathon for everyone who ran a marathon. because there wasn’t any marathons close by I decided to do a Virtual one.

I’ve wrote more about the whole application process here : New York – Round 2?

Back then I didn’t like virtual racing. I mean they are such a hard work. You have to find your own motivation to go out and do the training for them. There is no crowd, no support and most importantly no finisher swag at the end.

Who would have thought that a few months later everything will change?

In February I’ve spent a week in Lanzarote to do a tri training camp ( more about that here ). I loved it. I remember when I got back I even told my sister if I wouldn’t need to work I’d do this all the time, and I could train all the time. Because I know I can do the training.

Who would have thought that a few weeks later everything will change?

On the 23rd of March the PM announced that England will go into a “lockdown” due to COVID-19 . To be honest it started a few weeks before that, like the schools closed down, the gyms, restaurants etc. But back then I still could go to work. But from the 24th March all my training at work got suspended. So I ended up sitting at home.

When I got back form Lanza I decided I need to buy a treadmill. Luckily it got delivered on the 25th of March, it’s a Technogym MyRun. I still think I was really lucky to get it. I’ll write a separate article about that soonish.

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I’ve planned out all my 2020 races so well and all my training was going on really well. I couldn’t be any happier.

But first they postponed the London Marathon. The date went from April to October 2020. Which I totally understand, I mean we are in a middle of a pandemic, we can’t risk a massive race.

What do I mean about Virtual 2020?

So whilst I was sitting at home with nothing to do, I’ve got an email from Ironman on the 1st of April. At first I thought it’s a joke, I mean who sends emails like this on April’s fools day? But then after looking into it, it was totally real.

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The whole registration process is really simple.

  1. Register on this site : https://www.ironmanvirtualclub.com
  2. Connect your tracker app
  3. Browse IM virtual races and challenges under ‘ Events’
  4. Click sign up to Register
  5. Review times and distance for your chosen event
  6. Begin your race, after the scheduled start time and closely match the goal distance
  7. Track your activity via your wearable device and sync with your tracker app. Your activity will appear on your dashboard
  8. Reward yourself for your achievement by redeeming your credits earned. Or you even buy finisher swag

Since this pandemic so many of my races or weekend training camps been cancelled. Few weeks ago they have announced that Bolton IM won’t happen this year, so roll on 2021. The Berlin marathon can’t take place in September either.

So I really wasn’t sure how I’ll keep my motivation up. I’m still hoping for London to happen in October and then New York in November, but I’m slowly loosing hope. But till they cancel them I’m trying to be positive.

So Ironman started this whole Virtual Racing series in a good time. Don’t get me wrong they had loads and still have a few issues with the whole system. But overall I’m happy with it. It’s totally free to register and you can do your exercise indoors or outdoors.

I’m trying not to compare my finish times with others because some people somehow manage to do 60km/h bike rides (?????), so every week I just trying to be better than I was a few weeks earlier.

Luckily Phil is pretty good with planning my training weeks, and then he let’s me race / participate in these.

This is really not how I planned my 2020 race calendar, but have to say I love Zwift cycling, and since buying the treadmill I love Zwift running too. But the only downside is that there is no crowed and cheer squad.

So far there has been 7 Ironman virtual races, with 3 different distance ( Sprint, 5150 and Half distance simulation) , and then these randomly rotate every weekend.

  • Sprint = 1.5km run + 20km ride + 5km run
  • 5150 = 3km run + 40km ride + 10km run
  • Half = 5km run + 90km ride + 21km run

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A few months ago I couldn’t imagine that I ever ride 90km indoors, or run 21km on a treadmill. When I run/ride I love looking around and enjoy the scenery , so doing all these indoors sounded like hard and boring. But thanks to Zwift I have to say I loving it. It makes this whole experience much better. I still can’t see myself cycling 100 miles on Zwift, but who knows one day I might tick of those longer route badges as well.

A few weeks ago Ironman VR started to sell finisher swags, I’d lie if I’d say I didn’t buy any. One day I’ll look back at these and remember that I trained through a pandemic and these weekend races kept me motivated.

 

As I said earlier this is not the way I planned my 2020 season, but I just need to get on with it. Luckily I’m healthy so can train and I’m back at work for a few weeks now as well. So I really can’t complain.

I think I stick with these weekend races for a while, I really don’t see any proper races to go ahead soon, so these keeping me occupied.

If anyone has any questions about these VR races please do let me know and I’ll try to answer.

Take care  and lots of love,

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