5 Reasons Why Virtual Races Are Perfect for New Runners (and no, it’s not cheating!)


1. You can walk, run or WOG at your own pace. 

We have all been there. How many times have you said “I will do that when I lose weight” or “I will start walking when I have more time”? News flash. The perfect time will never magically appear. Just get over those fears and find a small window of time that you can dedicate to yourself and your fitness goals. You certainly don’t need me to tell you why this is so important!
The key is finding activities that inspire you. There is no reason why you have to conform to today’s fitness trends. Don’t like walking outdoors in the cold? Running endless miles on a treadmill doesn’t make your heart go pitter-pat? It’s ok. Mix it up and do what works for you! Walking with friends and family is a lot of fun and can help with motivation. Dusting off your bike or finding a bargain treadmill on the local exchange can motivate you to put in some miles before work! Swimming a few laps with your kids on the weekend will get you there. The more you enjoy your workout, the greater the chance that you will keep it up.
What’s this about cycling and swimming you say? It’s not just about running folks! What makes virtual races so appealing is that you can not only run, walk or WOG (my personal hybrid of walking and jogging!) but you can also swim or cycle. Any way you move counts towards a Dazzle.Fit race. And isn’t that true about life? Sometimes all we need to do is focus on moving FORWARD!

2. You are not in competition with anyone but yourself.

Live races are pretty amazing events. The buzz of the crowd certainly helps to motivate runners and walkers of all levels. But sometimes your own insecurities can get the best of you.
My first 5k I ran, was not so great. The course had hills (even though they said it was flat), it was the hottest weekend of the year, and I just barely finished before the 5-year-old behind me. Let me just say she did NOT slow me down. At the end, I was sweating like a farm animal and having anxiety that I had been beaten by pretty much everyone. It kind of ruined my ‘buzz’. Of course, all of this was 100% in my own head. I had many people smile and congratulate me on my accomplishments with genuine sincerity. Despite this, I couldn’t help but feel like I was a race impostor because I just couldn’t keep up.
Finding virtual races has REALLY helped with my self-confidence. I am still a really slow jogger. Let’s be honest, I am more of a fast walker! But I know that I can do my 26 miles MY way. No pressure. No self-confidence issues. No time limits. Just pounding that pavement. Or in my case…overworking my poor treadmill.

3. You are putting in some serious miles!

Virtual races usually have a set number of miles anywhere from 1- 50+. There are so many amazing options for racers at any fitness level. I started out with a 26-mile race because I wanted something I could do over time. The 5k seemed too short and the 46 miles seemed totally insane.
I started my tracking and I was actually shocked at how quickly I finished these miles. I started to look forward to the workouts. I did 1-mile increments on my treadmill whenever I found the time. The shiny medal waiting for me at the end was a great motivator. There is no denying that once you get hooked you will be logging some serious miles!

4. Get the kids involved! No running experience required.

You would be surprised how receptive kids can be to virtual racing. Maybe it’s the quiet time spent with adults, the fresh air, or maybe it’s just the shiny medal at the end that they can show off. No matter the motivation, this is something positive that gets everyone in the family moving!
Virtual racing is done on your own terms. No experience or fitness levels required. Just listen to your doctor and your body and go at your own pace. One foot in front of the other and you WILL finish.
Need that extra motivation? Dazzle.Fit has a blossoming online community. You can display medal photos and running tips. Admin will post quick fitness tips and even healthy recipes. Want to share your daily struggle? Our members and admin will lift you up with positive comments. No negativity in any form is tolerated (isn’t there enough of that in the world)!

5. You get the bling to prove it (and no virtual races is not cheating!).

I know when I first started virtual racing it opened up a whole new world for me. I never thought I could be a racer, or even (gasp) ENJOY it. After logging all of my miles I would wait patiently for the mailman to bring my shiny new medal! My daughter and I have created a medal hanger and she delights in telling anyone who comes into the house what we do.
Telling friends and family about what you do in your spare time is just natural. It didn’t take long to get to the running friend who instantly shot down virtual races. It was a bit of a shock and something I didn’t expect. I was told that this was ‘cheating’ and what keeps me, or anyone else from lying and getting a medal when they don’t deserve it? I had to pause and give this some thought. Sadly, I didn’t have some witty retort up my sleeve at the time!
Bottom line, I am not the virtual race police. There are people out there who do things for reasons only they know. It is not my place to comment or even THINK about what other people do. I challenge myself every day to finish these miles. I sweat, I hurt, I whine and I power on. The medal at the end is my badge that I ALONE have earned. To even suggest that cheating is possible puts my miles in doubt. Frankly, that ticked me off. But such is life. There will always be that ONE naysayer who loves to find fault. It’s ok. WOG it off! Put in the miles. Display those medals in the middle of your living room with pride! Most importantly, don’t let ANYONE dull your dazzle!


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