What is a virtual run?

There are a lot of things that can stop you from running a race; a last-minute injury, extreme weather, a family emergency. It’s frustrating to put aside months of training but you can usually channel your hard work into another event that’s just around the corner.

2020 brought something nobody expected; a global pandemic. Races, along with pretty much everything else, are cancelled for the foreseeable future and runners all over the world have nothing to show for all the effort they’ve put into getting race ready. 

At least, on the face of it, that’s how it seems, but racers all over the world should take comfort in the fact that there is a light at the end of the tunnel – virtual races. These are physical running events that are tracked and managed digitally so can be entered by anyone, anywhere. Sign up to a virtual run and you’ll be told the date, time and distance of the event. Track the run with your phone and choose whichever route you like; what matters is the distance. Virtual runs of all distances are now common, so no matter whether you’ve only started running recently or are a seasoned marathoner, there’ll be a race for your skill level.The adidas Running app is a great place to find one. Not only will you be able to sign up for events organized by adidas, but you’ll also have access to training plans and running advice.


Get the most out of a virtual race

Before we cover off how to get the most out of each of the most popular virtual race distances, here are some general tips applicable to all of them:

  1. Charge your phone - you won’t be able to record your results if your phone conks out mid-race.

  2. Plan your route - there’s no marked-out route for these events, and so you’ll want to avoid anything that could slow you down. Watch out for road works, busy pedestrian crossings and routes that are closed at certain times – that shortcut might turn into a long setback.

  3. Manage your food and water – plan what you’ll eat before, during and after the race. Different distances need different approaches. There won’t be any volunteers handing out water so, especially during longer races, carrying enough is crucial.

  4. Wear the right shoes – Don’t use a new pair for the first time on race day or you risk discomfort and injury, instead use a pair you have been successfully training in for the last few weeks.

  5. Visualization – running on your own can be tough without crowds of people cheering you on, especially if you’re tackling long distances like a marathon. If you’re motivation is running low, try visualization: imagine yourself running along a busy route, seeing familiar faces in the crowd and crossing the finish line with a big smile on your face.


Virtual 5k Races

Five kilometers is often the entry level distance for anyone looking to start racing. It’s a distance that’s easily achievable with the right training program while still providing a challenge – but that doesn’t mean it’s just for beginners. The world record is a blistering 13 minutes, but a decent amateur time is sub 25 minutes so set your targets according to your experience and ability. For those new to racing or runners looking for enjoyment over speed, our Supernova shoe, with its optimal mix of Boost and Bounce, will help you run confidently and comfortably over the distance.

Virtual 10k Races

Comfortably tackling 5ks? Maybe it’s time to up your game and start training for a 10k. It’s still a very manageable distance for someone relatively new to running, especially if you’ve already got a solid 5k training plan in place. Allow for 8-10 weeks training before the event, running three or four times a week as well as incorporating workouts to improve overall strength. A good amateur finishing time is 45 minutes, though with an extra training push you may be able to get under the 40 minute mark. Feel like chasing the world record? 26.44 minutes is the time to beat! As with any run, the right pair of shoes is crucial to ensure a comfortable race and solid finishing time. The full-length Boost midsole and tailored fiber placement found in our Solarboost and Solarglide range will keep your feet feeling  secure over any longer distances.


Virtual half-marathons

The marathon might be the most well-known and challenging race distance, but a half-marathon is still a major test of your running ability. At 21.09km, the average runner can expect to finish with a time of around 2 hours. Anything under 1 hour 40 mins is a big achievement for an amateur runner and, if you’re elite level, you’ve got the world record time of 58.23 to aim for – good luck! If you’re planning on entering a half-marathon, you’ll want to start training at least 12 weeks before the event, making use of a half-marathon specific plan. But getting into the right physical shape is just part of the journey – you need to choose shoes that will work over long distances. Our Solarboost and Solarglide shoes are built for comfort over distance, and the adizero range is all about nailing PBs. Pick your poison according to your objective – to finish, or to finish fast.


Virtual Marathons

For many runners, a marathon is the high point of their racing calendar. The total distance is just over 42 kms; most people run it in 4-5 hours but a sub-4 hour finish is a great time to aim for. To do that, you’ll need a comprehensive training plan as well as an appropriate diet to stick to. Train for 12-14 weeks before the event, gradually increasing your training runs without overdoing it – an injury late in your training could put an end to your marathon dreams.  Running a virtual marathon means you won’t have crowds of thousands to cheer you on but not set up a schedule for people to call you as you’re running, or run past your friend’s houses and have them stand outside, taking ‘race’ photos for you to post later. When it comes to what’s on your feet, you need something that will go the distance.

The adizero range is lightweight, breathable running shoes that ensure you get the most out of every foot-strike.  Combined with a carbon fibre and nylon plate situated under the heel of the wearer , the ADIZERO ADIOS PRO gives you the competitive edge that makes all the difference. The ADIZERO ADIOS PRO represents the pinnacle of adidas’ lengthy research and development. The soles contain contain EnergyRods: five carbon-infused rods that mimic the metatarsal bones of the foot.  The layers of LightstrikePRO found in the midsole provide top levels of cushioning and energy return no matter how far you’re going. The current world record for a marathon is 2 hours, 1 minute and 39 seconds – don’t be surprised to see the ADIZERO ADIOS PRO on the feet of whoever manages to break that record.