We definitely live in an “on line” type world where many spend the vast majority of their day interacting with their keyboard instead of real people. It should be no surprise that we are doing everything “virtually”. For some, this provides an excuse to hide behind a computer and develop a fantasy life that they are too afraid to actually live. For others, this has bolstered their confidence, allowed them to make new friends, and ultimately given them the courage to step outside their box and DO THINGS that they never thought possible. Think for a minute how the internet has affected your life over the last 5 to 10 years?
The world is literally at our fingertips. A few keystrokes and we can find out about anything we want to know. We can find people who share our interests. We can find people who have done what we have only dreamt of doing ….. until now. Seeing their adventures and knowing it can be done has given many the courage to TRY. To get up off the couch, get out of the house and to DO SOMETHING new.
For many, the idea of going to the gym, hitting a local group run or interacting with other people in a fitness type atmosphere is super intimidating. They stress over not being fit enough. Not being fast enough. Not being healthy enough. Not being worthy of interacting with other fit people. They want to be “better” and “more fit” before they start running with the group. They want to be faster before they sign up for that local 5K. Everyone fears being left behind. Being last.
These fears have bolstered our online community. They have helped birth virtual races and challenges. A virtual race or challenge can be completed anywhere, anytime and by anyone willing to give it a try. It allows a person to anonymously join a community of people all doing the same thing. It allows them to take part in something they may not have had the courage to try if the event where happening “in real life”.
These virtual challenges are everywhere. Some cost $$ to join. Many are free. Some have online pages, or forums, for daily group support. Many just require you to cover the distance or activity and record the results. Some are as simple as doing 50 pushups every day for a month. Others require one to cover a certain “race” distance. Some are for charity. Others offer cash and prizes just for participating. There is a virtual race or challenge for all levels of fitness and ability. Run one. Walk one. Join one. In fact, join two!
I’m currently participating in two virtual challenges. Not because I wouldn’t be moving or doing something anyhow but because I like trying new things, being focused and meeting other fit people with whom I may not normally interact. The Spring Bootie Buster Challenge by Amanda at Run To the Finish, forces me to drink my water, eat my fruits & veggies, and workout daily. It offers an online community where I can talk with other members, be accountable and be encouraged by the progress of others. I paid to get into the challenge. I am eligible for weekly prizes NOT for being the best in my category but for recording my points each week. It’s a 7 week challenge. It’s about accountability.
The other virtual challenge in which I am currently participating is the Jelly Bean by Run with Jess. I like this one because it’s free, it offers multiple events and there are a lot of great prizes available just for participating. Each year the Jelly Bean Virtual Race becomes my Jelly Bean “Challenge”. I personally take the challenge to do all the events within the 11 day window. If all of the events are not for you, that’s okay too, pick one or two that best suits your current fitness level. The idea is to just move it, at any distance or speed in which you are able. A virtual race is rarely a “race”, it’s just a way to challenge yourself to complete a certain task. My Jelly Bean “race results” & a few event photos are below.
5K – 25:05
10K – 56:03
Half Marathon – 2:09:19
21K Bike – 44:01
So if your nervous about getting out “in real life” and joining the fit community, take it slow and get comfortable at home by joining a virtual race or challenge. Get to know us online so that you realize that we aren’t just crazy health nuts but instead, normal people, just like you. These challenges are created because we understand, we’ve been there, we know how hard it is to get moving and stay moving. We know that the process is intimidating. Join us virtually and then when you’re ready, hit the road with us at any pace you are able. It’s about the journey, not the pace at which you cover the distance. Get started today!
** Move It, Virtual or Otherwise ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **