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Challenge yourself to stay active this lockdown 2.0

By Helen Bowman

This week we’re looking at the virtual challenges available to keep you motivated, focused and enthusiastic about stretching the legs, dusting off the cycling equipment or simply enjoying the great outdoors our region has to offer.

Since the arrival of the global pandemic, so many of our favourite and iconic sporting events have been cancelled, leaving so many runners, walkers and exercise fans without a focus for their training. And in their stead? Virtual challenges have become the new thing. The Great North Run and the London Marathon went virtual, inviting runners to complete their 13.1 miles or 26.2 miles on the day of the original event, but around their own neighbourhoods and in their own time.

Personally, I enjoyed the GNR Solo challenge of running 40 times in 78 days – it kept me motivated to get out and I received a lush t-shirt and medal at the end of it too. Because who doesn’t love a bit of bling to celebrate an achievement.

So, what if you’d like to join a virtual challenge and work towards an achievement in the weeks and months ahead? Especially as the dark nights and colder weather looms, a challenge is a perfect way to stay motivated – honest!

Here are a few of HLN’s favourite virtual challenges to sign up to and start collecting medals!

If running is your thing…

As actual races and runs fall victim to cancellation due to Coronavirus restrictions, there are so many ways to challenge yourself virtually to keep the momentum going with your running. 

Race at your pace has always offered virtual challenges and has become even more popular with runners throughout the pandemic. Entries are currently open for November and you can challenge yourself to run anything from 5 miles up to 200 miles during the month. You’ll receive a medal and certificate at the end (once you’ve submitted your proof from Strava or similar tracking site) to add to your trophy cabinet. This month’s medal has a stunning star-gazing theme and entries cost just £10.

Get on your bike

Pedal for a medal is a fantastic virtual challenge website that encourages cyclists to get out on their bikes, complete their miles and reward themselves with a bespoke medal. Entries cost £12 and entrants can choose to challenge themselves to cycle anything from 25-2,000 miles during November. You can cycle wherever you want, in your own time and submit your proof at the end of the month – fantastic motivation.

Put your best foot forward

If you’ve ever fancied walking the Inca Trail, striding out to the equivalent distance of the International Space Station or taking on a virtual version of the Three Peaks, Race The World has just the walking challenge for you. Visit the website, choose your challenge and register your interest. You’ll then be invited to download the Race The World app on which you can watch the miles of your challenge tick down until you reach your goal. With so many fun and varied walking challenges to get through you’ll be walking for weeks! The challenges range from £11.50 to £14.50 depending which one you choose.

Find your zen challenge

If yoga or Pilates is more your kind of exercise there are so many challenges online that could see you increase your core strength and flexibility in as little as 30 days. One of the best-known and highly recommended challenges is the 30-yoga challenge with Adrienne. She practices yoga and broadcasts her challenges to a worldwide community of over 8 million people.

Find her website here, from which you can join a 30-day challenge at any time.

Make a splash

Why not take the plunge and enter a swimming challenge during November? Swim the Distance is an online virtual swimming challenge that enables every entrant to challenge themselves to swim any distance between 1km to 250km during the month and receive a fabulous medal as a reward. Entries cost £12 per person and proof of your challenge is required before your medal is dispatched at the end of the month.

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