The Boston Marathon is rescheduled because of Coronavirus. I wrote about the uncertainty last week (you can read that post here). This week, the only certain thing is that far fewer of us will be racing anytime soon. We have seen an unprecedented amount of races cancelled and postponed. You might agree with the steps taken. You might think people are overreacting. I have come to the conclusion – it does not matter what we think. I’m not trying to be rude, but we have no say in whether a race is cancelled. What we can control? Our reaction.
Is your race cancelled?
- Don’t be mad at the race director. Often they are not the decision-makers.
- Don’t isolate yourself. You might be wary of meeting friends for a run for fear of being sick. Be smart, but don’t cut off all your ties.
- Don’t stop running. It might be tempting to have a defeatist attitude or you might lose motivation without having a goal. It’s important to keep training, not only to maintain fitness but also for your own mental health and routine.
- Are you in PR shape? Take advantage of your fitness. Try to find a “Plan B” marathon close to 4/20. I suggest looking for smaller races as they are less likely to be cancelled. It is up to you on when you register. If you register immediately, you risk losing your registration fees if that race is cancelled. If you wait until the day of, you risk it being full. Check out Marathons in the RUN717 Area for options.
- Are you fit, but not planning on a PR? Maybe you can find a local 10 mile or half marathon to race.
- Another option would be to gather your friends and run the distance on your own.
- Retire from running and take up competitive eating. No, just kidding – don’t do that!
Is your race in late spring or early summer?
- If your race isn’t cancelled yet, continue training like your event is going to happen. I would guess that most races will be cancelled or postponed, but smaller local events may go on. As of this post, the Chambersburg Half Marathon is still on.
- If you hear a rumor about an event, find the source and verify before posting info on social media. (This should be true of posting anything on social media!)
- Don’t waste energy trying to predict whether your race will happen, especially if it’s months away. Focus your energy on training.
Many of you who were training for spring marathons are in great shape. Your long runs had been building and your weekly mileage had been increasing. Now what? With no marathon on the calendar, how can we maintain fitness without burning out? We certainly can’t continue running 20 mile long runs from now until September. Here are some general guidelines:
- Maintain your weekly base mileage, or slightly decrease it. There is no reason to increase it at this point, but by maintaining your weekly mileage you’ll be ready to restart a formal plan mid-June.
- Continue your weekly long run, but it doesn’t need to be 18-22 miles every week. I suggest alternating between a long run of 16-20 miles with a “shorter” long run of 10-15 miles.
- The amount of speedwork you are doing should also decrease. Most runners preparing for marathons run 5-10 miles of speed each week. This is tough on the body and we can’t do this over a long period. To avoid injury it is safer to decrease this to 3-5 miles per week.
- Do you have a “niggle”? A niggle is not a full-blown injury. It’s something that doesn’t stop you from running, but you might notice it before are warmed up, or it might be sore after a harder workout. Take the time NOW to address that.
Know that even though we aren’t racing on 4/20, our training is NOT wasted. When we work hard for months and make fitness gains, they don’t disappear. The miles we did last year, will help us this year. The miles we did this winter and early spring will help us in the fall.
Remember why you run and focus on the journey, not the destination. Yes, it is SUPER fun to get a PR, but for most of you, I think you run to feel good about yourself and see what your body can do. Don’t let the uncertainty get to you. Running is still important.