Last weekend I decided to drink the Kool-Aid and participate in my first Ironman Virtual Race. I was holding off because I figured it was just another way for Ironman to gain a profit, BUT the races are FREE! They definitely look different than racing in real life. Here are some of the differences:
- When you think of Ironman, you typically think swim/bike/run, but these races are duathlons instead of triathlons. That means NO SWIM! For those of you that don’t know how to swim or the swim scares you, these virtual races (VR) are for you! They follow a run/bike/run format.
- You create your own routes. You can do the entire race indoors on the treadmill and trainer. You can do the entire race outdoors running and biking on the trails/streets around you. You can do the entire race by combining indoor and outdoor experiences like I did.
- There are no competitors around you. You can’t rely on other athletes to push you. You have to push yourself.
- There are no spectators and fans cheering for you. I highly recommend telling your neighbors that you are racing. Maybe they will go outside and cheer you on from a safe distance. If they have kids, they can make signs, which gives them something to do at home.
- Your transition times are not added to your overall finish time. Only the times for each discipline of the race are added to your overall time for the race. In real life races, any time you spend changing, fueling, etc. between disciplines is added to your overall finish time.
- You have 2.5 days to complete all three disciplines, so they don’t have to be done back to back. If you are unsure about how your body will hold up to complete each discipline one right after the other, you can spread them out. Each discipline of the race must be completed between 6 pm GMT on Friday and 11:59 pm GMT on Sunday. If you want to do one discipline on Friday, one on Saturday, and one on Sunday, you can. If you want to do them all back to back like a race in real life, YOU CAN!
- You can do the disciplines in whatever order you prefer. In a real race, you have to do the disciplines in a specific order. With the VR, you can do them as it works for you. If you want to do all of the running disciplines first and then bike, you can. If you want to bike first and then run, you can. If you want to do it like a real life race (run/bike/run), YOU CAN! It is completely up to you!
I treated this as a real life race doing each discipline back to back in the run/bike/run format with as little transition time as possible. I did both of my runs outside and rode on the trainer indoors. I wanted to really push myself with this race and see where my fitness is.
1.5 K run – 7:05 (7:30/mile average pace)
20 K bike – 35:47 (21.0 mph average speed)
5K run – 24:47 (7:58/mile average pace)
Total 1:07:39 (Women 658/6245…top 10.5%; F40-44 127/1326…top 9.6%)
I’m grateful for the Ironman VR3 to push myself and wear my Coeur Sports race kit! I kept reminding myself to push hard, dig deep, be grateful that I GET to do this, and know that I’ll get to cross a real finish line again one day…even if it doesn’t look promising in 2020. Racing doesn’t define me, but it sure is FUN! 💛💙🤍
Who’s joining me for this weekend’s “Olympic distance” IMVR race?