Running Is Not Canceled
Here we are, 9-ish weeks into the COVID-19 quarantine/stay-at-home situation. In some ways, it’s passed by in the blink of an eye, but in other ways, it has seemed like an absolute eternity. The changes have infiltrated every aspect of our lives, from how our children are educated to how we are able to do our job to our ability to find both staples and luxuries at any and all stores. We can't get haircuts, we can't browse the racks at Goodwill, we can't hug or shake hands :( And...races are canceled. Speaking of races...
It has become quite clear that it may be some time before we race again. Even as cities, towns, and states "reopen,' social distancing is still a thing, and that makes it all but impossible at even the smallest hometown races. I know race directors are doing their best to plan, reschedule, etc., but for now, there are no races. I know here in Maine, races are canceled at least through the end of August, taking out all of my spring and summer races on my schedule.
My emotional heart and my logical mind are often in battle. As I think about racing, that battle is raging. My heart is hopeful that races will start back up in September (Boston is scheduled for Sept. 14!!), but my mind is doubtful. While I think hope is always important, in situations like this, it’s also important to be realistic (not pessimistic, that’s different!) to temper any disappointment that may creep up.
As race upon race has been canceled, it may be harder to stay motivated to run. Runners thrive on the routine of a training schedule, whether it’s one they’ve found online or one that they have created themselves. But a training plan typically has a goal race, starred on the calendar! So how do you stay motivated when there’s no goal race on your calendar? Here are some ideas, from my runner’s heart to yours!
1. Sign up for a virtual race! While there have always been organizations that put on only virtual runs, many local runs (from 5Ks to marathons!). There are virtual Ironman triathlons, and even the famous Hot Chocolate run and Rock ‘n Roll marathon/half-marathon series have gone virtual! Some of these races have some sort of validation required (like submitting data from Strava or Garmin…) while others take your word for it! Most virtual races offer swag, from t-shirts to medals to custom bibs! This is a great way to plug in a “race” on your calendar, giving you something to train for! I was about 3/4 the way through Boston Marathon training when it was postponed until September, but I still ran my own "backyard Boston" through my town on that day!
2. Try new things! If you aren’t feeling the running thing, and you’d rather wait for in-person races to continue, this is a great time to try new things! Strength training, HIIT workouts, Zumba, yoga, cycling, walking…the possibilities are endless! All of these activities may give your mind and body a break from the demands of running, and will also benefit your running! There are many online/virtual classes available (Beachbody on Demand, Instagram workouts, Yoga by Adrienne, etc) or you can create your own! This may be just the perfect time to find more fun ways to move and stay active! I have been scouring Instagram for at-home workouts and have been doing my own core workouts out on my back deck (usually with the company of my dog and cats!), and I've had such a fun time with it!
3. Read, learn, discover! Maybe you want to read a few running books (I’m happy to make recommendations!) or even take classes to become a running coach! Most of these programs were online to begin with and can be completed on your own time with generous time limits.
4. Remember your why. For me, races have never been all that important to me. Sure they are fun, exciting, thrilling! Yet, I only do a handful each year. Races can be expensive, and they make me very anxious…so I don’t do many! But the training? Oh, I love the training! That’s where the magic is for me. The good and bad, the hot and cold, the snowy and the steamy, the sunrises and sunsets. It all comes together to make me stronger, wiser, more resilient. Years ago, I made a promise to myself, to do all I can to take care of my mind, my body, and my heart. So each run is a promise to myself! Training for a race makes it easier to stick to a schedule, but truth be told, I just LOVE to run. The sights, sounds, smells…all the feels! It gives me the time and space to weed through my emotions and thoughts and feelings, untangling it all and making sense of the mess.
If you’d like to chat about how to stay motivated during this time, please reach out! I don’t have all the answers, but I’m a great listener and would love to hear from you!