Virtual Races have proliferated as an alternative to the impossibility of being able to compete physically under the circumstances.
Virtual Races have proliferated as an alternative to the impossibility of being able to compete physically under the circumstances. Our planned competitions have been canceled due to the situation we are living in right now, in the last few months of the year.
However, some specific events are taking place, such as in the case of endurance sports: athletics and triathlon.
However, since the beginning of the Pandemic, many of us had already predicted that there would be few competitions in 2020 and that, in this situation, the best thing to do was to focus on improving as sportsmen and women.
In the months of the quarantine, we witnessed a more than exponential increase (almost 400%) in sales of home training equipment; the sale of treadmills, rollers and exercise bikes has left warehouses, even today, empty.
We had the desire and the illusion that these competitions would be held in one way or another.
What are virtual races?
Virtual races are the alternative to races and/or trials that were held in a certain location, on a certain date.
It is a way of maintaining motivation for athletes and amateurs who are participating in these races, in which one of the main characteristics is that you can do it within a certain period, in the place where you are, ultimately registering your time data as distance covered.
Although in the world of cycling and triathlon, through different training platforms and simulators, this was a practice that had been going on, nowadays the number of challenges through these virtual platforms has increased.
There are different modes and options, which makes it a very versatile alternative.
How did they start?
If before quarantine, virtual competitions and training with other athletes on the other side of the world were already being done… now, it is one of the most widespread alternatives.
Not only among athletes, but also among sports event organisers who have switched to a virtual format, in order to be able to maintain, even if in a different way, sports events.
And this is not for nothing if we take into account the amount of money that sports events generate.
Why are they so successful?
Without a doubt, being able to do and participate in a race, or stage of the Tour, or a training session with your club mates, for example, each from home, is an option to maintain motivation and not to train alone.
In other words, it maintains motivation and interaction with other participants, which is already a challenge.
How do I participate?
Participating in this type of virtual event is very simple.
You register on the platform of the event in which you want to participate. Usually you have time to be able to do that race.
Once you have completed your virtual race, you can download your watch and pulse meter data (Garmin, Suunto, Polar and other devices) and link them to the profile created during the race, and that´s it.
Apps for Virtual Races
Apps widely used by popular and professional sportsmen and women such as Zwift (for both cycling and athletics); in which you can train a stage of the Tour de France with many other sportsmen and women, do a virtual race with other sportsmen and women or simply meet up with your friends on a rainy day to train together virtually.
Also, platforms like Bkool, in this case specialised in cycling (simulator), were holding virtual sessions, which in essence is the same idea.
During the months of confinement, for example, the Spanish Duathlon Championship was held through the Zwift platform on April 5th. The date on which the event was scheduled to take place.
Challenges and Virtual Trophies
Training apps have changed the way many endurance sports fans train.
The words KOM, PRs or segments are more than common and usual in any cycling route (road or mountain), as well as among athletes running on asphalt or trail.
These applications have created the possibility of creating leagues or competitions (which can be open or closed) in which you can measure yourself against friends or amateurs like you, turning them into rivals for a specific period of time.
Follow your GPS map to complete the challenges set by the training apps.
What types of virtual races exist?
At the moment, the options for participating in a virtual race are practically infinite.
In addition, there are a large number of them that have a solidarity and/or charitable purpose, which makes it much more appealing.
Those virtual tests in which a certain distance has to be covered in the best possible time.
The records of your race will be uploaded to the event’s platform, either directly with the data from your watch, or it can be done manually.
Another option on the part of the organisers has been to organise several races as part of a kind of league, in which the best results would be added, completing the different races or trials.
Virtual Race Schedule
Among one of the most popular races in the national panorama that, happens to be run in a virtual way is the SAN SEBASTIAN BEHOBIA.
In the 10 km long popular races, in Madrid for example, you can also register to participate virtually.
IRONMAN BRAND: Virtual races and virtual triathlon, with the option of prizes and slots for the world championships in 2021.
This year, the Ironman World Championship will have virtual challenges and races.
VIRTUAL WOMEN’S RACE: one of the best-known races in Spain , which is held in 7 different cities, is now in virtual format, starting with the one in Valencia this weekend.
MAPOMA CIRCUIT: The popular races in Madrid organised by this association will go into virtual format in the coming months.
ZWIFT RACES: This platform carries out challenges and races practically every day.
Who doesn’t like virtual races?
And there are still people who do not want to participate in this type of event?
Although it is true that this new modality allows many athletes to be motivated by a goal, or to participate as a test to see their level and state of form, there are still many of us who resist it.
However, I do find this type of virtual meeting very interesting, to train with friends or teammates. We will see how this whole situation evolves in the coming months and whether these virtual races have come to stay.
In the meantime, let’s continue to train, keep motivated and hopefully return to our competitions soon.
- We tell you the possible causes of injuries after confinement. Visit this link.
- Don’t make these mistakes if you train at home.