One of the most fulfilling aspects of running is accomplishing your goals. After months of eating, sleeping, and training, the cancellation of your race can be devastating. This pain isn’t only felt by Olympic hopefuls trying to represent their country in the Tokyo Games, but by dedicated and casual runners alike. Was all that training for nothing? Absolutely not.
As rewarding as completing races is, we aren’t in it for the medal. Running isn’t only about being fast; besides its obvious health benefits running helps us practice goal-setting, improves our mental health, and is a stress reliever. Yes, it is a huge bummer that we can’t run our 5Ks or half marathons, especially in the case of a planned run-cation, but there are ways we can adapt to the unwelcome change brought to us by COVID-19. In fact, Joe Friel, a life-long athlete, and coach would argue, “…with no racing, is a great time to fully develop base fitness and, eventually, race better than ever.“
The best option if you still want the swag that comes with a race. There are many virtual races from which to chose- charity, theme-based (including Disney), and your typical just-for-running races. Virtual races offer the flexibility a standard race cannot. Some races allow you to race all month for accumulated mileage, provide a range of dates to complete your run or have a specific time to record your results.
Most races require the use of a running app to track your time and pace. You might need to help grandma get all set up if she is walking a 5K with you.
Running is more fun with close friends and family, but ultimately is an individual sport. We don’t need dry-wicking shirts and another medal to add to our collections. The only requirements are our shoes, some smooth pavement, or trails, and a can-do attitude. If opting to create your own race, it’s a good idea to plan ahead, so you know the route. Tell friends about your plan so they can set up contactless hydration/snack stations! There is always the good ole trusty looped run, but you may need a counting system for the longer races.
Waiting is the riskiest option, especially in cases where there won’t be a refund, but still, races are happening this year, even marathons. Waiting for a race to be cancelled might needlessly get your hopes up, but it could pay off. As of this writing, the San Francisco Marathon is scheduled for a new date on November 15, 2020, but there is still a risk of cancellation.
This pandemic has taken a lot of things from us, don’t let it take running too. COVID-19 is not an excuse to reduce the intensity of your training. Running is about self-betterment; it causes us to push ourselves both mentally and physically. Don’t let the pandemic allow you to become complacent. Keep up your training and find a way to measure your results to keep your internal drive going.