As lives get busier and technology advances, virtual races and challenges have become the norm for many looking to get more active. Where before a race may have been a logistical challenge or daily exercise hard to track, in the modern day these issues are gone.

But what exactly is a virtual running race? And how does it differ to a virtual challenge?

At Race At Your Pace we specialise in delivering fun virtual challenges across a variety of sporty disciplines, from running and walking to cycling and swimming. We’ve put together this helpful guide to virtual running races and virtual challenges, so not only will you know the difference, you may even be inspired to take part in one yourself.

What is a Virtual Running Race?

Much like a real-life race, a virtual running race involves participants racing against the clock and against other people. The virtual aspect is that you can do the race wherever, and simply upload your time to compare with others; you don’t see your competition in person, just their time on screen.

As a virtual running race is a single event, the races typically take only a few hours and can be over distances of 5km to 10km, for example. Based on competing and beating top times, virtual running races are good for those who like competition or are training for a real-life race or marathon.

What is a Virtual Challenge?

Sustained over a longer duration, a virtual challenge is when a participant signs up to complete a certain distance goal via a certain exercise method over a certain period. At Race At Your Pace we offer a variety of distance goals across running, walking, cycling, steps and swimming, to complete within one month. Once you complete your goal and send off evidence, you receive a shiny medal!

As virtual challenge participants have a longer time frame in which to reach their goal, the distances are often a lot longer. But unlike a virtual running race, a virtual challenge can be completed whenever and wherever. Participants may complete 5km one day and 0.5km the next, exercising at a pace that suits them to reach their goal. Find out how virtual challenges work.

Created for those who want to encourage sustained exercise and reach goals, in fitness and mentally, virtual challenges are great for those seeking motivation or wanting to reach big distance goals.

See more: What is a Virtual Challenge?

Virtual Running Races vs Virtual Challenges

Time limit

Virtual running races are usually complete within a few hours, depending on the distance. As scores are recorded and compared with others, virtual running races are finished as quickly as possible.

Virtual challenges, on the other hand, usually take place over a sustained period of time such as a calendar month or 30 days. This means participants can take their time in completing the challenge, taking it at a pace suitable to them and their fitness level.

Competition

Virtual running races are highly competitive in nature and designed to encourage speed. Therefore, participants are likely to enjoy competition and thrive off having competitors.

Virtual challenges are more goal oriented, allowing lots of time to give participants the freedom to exercise as and when they wish. Those who aren’t very competitive can choose achievable distances and leisurely reach their goal, whereas those who like competition may choose more challenging distances. Similarly, one can up the competitive aspect by setting smaller, weekly goals as part of their month, or get a friend involved and perform mini races to see who reaches their target first.

Distances

Due to the fact they are singular events, virtual running races are limited in their distances, usually 5 to 10km. Virtual challenges afford far bigger distances due to the longer completion time, however there are many goals to choose from so as to suit all levels of ability.

Race At Your Pace offer a variety of monthly running challenges, from 5 miles up to 200 miles! Check out all of our virtual running challenges.

Long term benefits

Virtual running races can be very effective when used as part of race or marathon training, to get a good idea of times and potential competition. Also, participants could undertake multiple virtual running races, and complete a couple throughout the week.

Virtual challenges are longer, and therefore tend to encourage exercise for longer, instead of a one-time event.

There are many benefits to virtual challenges, including effect on mental health.

Flexibility

Both virtual running races and virtual challenges can be completed whenever suits the participant, just choose a race that fits your day, or exercise when you can to complete your challenge.

However, virtual running races may be limiting in the day or time the participant must begin, whereas virtual challenges are great for everyone as they fit around any schedule or lifestyle.

Involving others

Virtual running races and virtual challenges work well with others. Participants could challenge a friends’ race time or could compete to reach their target distance fastest. Involving other in exercise can be a great way to make it enjoyable or to increase the competition.

Find out more about the benefits of exercising with a friend.

Ability

Although anyone of any ability can sign up to virtual challenges or races, beginners may be better suited to virtual challenges, as there are a range of distance options and they allow for participants to go at their own pace. Because of the flexibility and distance range, all abilities are suited to virtual challenges, as participants can choose their goal and even change it if they feel it is too hard or easy.

Virtual running races are more suited to those with a relatively high level of fitness and ability to run distances at a competitive speed.

Virtual Challenges with Race At Your Pace

Get started with a Race At Your Pace virtual challenge. From walking to running, cycling to swimming, we have a variety of challenges and distance goals to suit everyone of all abilities. Take a look at our many running challenges or read our success stories to get inspired.

Start your virtual challenge with Race At Your Pace. Sign up now.