Almost all runners have been effected by race cancellations in recent days. Unless you’re one of those runners that just likes to run (there are many!), you’re left wondering: I’m all trained up, now what? Or should I keep training for a race that’s coming up in a few months?
I know that’s what some of my friends have done. A lot of my friends, actually. If it helps you calm down and feel better, go for it.
I’m not sure I would do that, and here’s why: running is hard on the body. Even if it makes you feel better, your immune system is probably taking a hit — and is that what you really want to be doing right now?
Keep in mind I wasn’t really training, only sort of, maybe training. I was getting excited about going to DE, but I’m a firm believer that things have a way of turning out for the best, and that maybe there’s something better out there for me.
I am not a virtual race kinda gal. I enjoy the atmosphere of a race, conquering new territory. But I don’t what I would have done if I’d put in a lot of hard training.
Keep on training
My “goal” race isn’t until June. Hopefully with the warmer weather by that point the virus will have died down, although no one really knows. Since it’s still a few months out, though, I’m going to train as if I’m going to be racing it.
If your race is closer, it’s a toss up whether or not you should keep training (again, because while running can boost your immune system, hard training — or every just long distance running — can also give your immune system a challenge). We’re challenged enough right now.
So a race 1 month away: I’d maintain my base and do speed work once a week.
A race a few months out: I’d train normally.
Keep on running
Even if you live to race and you can’t, you don’t want to let your base go. We will be racing again some day. No need to start over from scratch. Running will help you stay calmer, too. It will get you outdoors, which will help you feel better, especially now as the weather begins to get nicer.
Are you always saying you want to get strong but you’re always training for a race? Now is your opportunity! It’s a crap shoot on whether or not gyms are going to stay open, but there are so many wonderful ways to strength train online. For free!
Becoming a stronger person will make you a stronger runner.
Keep an eye on the eating and drinking
It’s so easy to turn to food and alcohol after a stressful day. There’s nothing wrong with that — in moderation. It’s also very easy to overdo either — or both! — when times are stressful.
Both eating comfort food and drinking feel really good in the moment. They don’t make us feel good in the long run. They can pack on the pounds if we overindulge too much, which becomes a vicious cycle: you’re heavier, it’s harder to move, you continue to eat crap and get heavier, you don’t want to move, and so on and so forth.
Comfort food tends to be the opposite of healthy food, and when we’re going through a stressful time, eating healthy can actually help us stay well (or lessen an illness if we do get one) — and can help you feel better physically (maybe even mentally).
Last but definitely not least . . .
Now is the time to do the things you normally don’t do because you don’t have time. Maybe you’re working from home. Maybe the kids and/your husband are home and they’re driving you nuts.
It’s the perfect time to try out that Yoga you know you should do, or begin to meditate, or foam roll more often. Of course you knew I’d go there, but so many teachers are offering incredible deals — or free workouts! — right now. Take advantage of it (and check out my YouTube channel here, of course — I’ll be adding a meditation to help you reduce anxiety this week!).
As crazy as life might seem right now, maybe there’s a golden opportunity for us all. Haven’t we all said that we just don’t have the time for certain things — things that we know will actually make us better runners and better people?
You can complain about what you can’t do or you can try something new. The choice is up to you.
Will you run your race virtually if it’s cancelled?
Are the kids home and/or are you working from home?
Do you have another suggestion?
This week I am also joining up with the new Runners’ Roundup linkup.