In this time of the pandemic there has been so much change which has left us in what seems to be a limbo. In my life, and possibly in yours too, running and training has been the one thing I can stay in control of but it also has presented its own set of obstacles.
Let’s highlight some of these.
So the question is, should we put the brakes on the training and wait for the racing season to come back? Or should we carry on training as if nothing has changed?
My choice? Keep training. Races are going to come back at some point and when racing returns, you want to have some fitness to enjoy them. This brings me to the next obstacle.
When you follow a training plan, your training is designed around when a specific race will take place so you peak at the right time and get to your big day in the best possible shape. So what is the point of training with no target to aim for? Well it all depends on what you are training for. If your goal race has been cancelled, or is likely to be cancelled, then adjust your goal and focus your training towards that. There is always an opportunity to do a 10km Time Trial for example, so why not aim for a new 5km or 10km PB.
Staying motivated can be challenging with all the current restrictions. We may not have races to attend but we still have the ability to get out and run. With everything else changing so quickly, our training is the one thing that we can still keep under our own control.
If you’re struggling to get yourself out the door, focus on how you will feel when you get back. Nothing beats the sense of accomplishment and satisfaction of a good run. As far as possible, try to stay connected to your club and running friends. You are able to connect with fellow runners on the road while still maintaining a safe social distance. Just remember to follow the rules and keep your groups small.
Let’s talk about your training now
There are incredible ways that you can improve your running during the pandemic if you apply the correct training principles.
The first step is to select a goal because even though there are no races, you still need a target to aim for. It could be your fastest 1km or mile, your fastest 10km, your longest run before you hit threshold and many more. Next, select an appropriate time frame and set a date. Train as if you were training for a race, with the appropriate taper and prep. Maintain your fitness so that when racing starts up, you are ready and raring to go.
With all the uncertainty in so many areas of life at the moment, your running is the one thing that can stay in your control. And besides, isn’t running supposed to be your happy place and your great de-stressor? Let’s get back to that.
To help you stay motivated find yourself a running buddy, so that you have someone to train with and be accountable to. If you can, get yourself a running coach to guide you through these uncertain times with great coaching advice and an appropriate training plan.
Coach Clint is a qualified running coach based in Johannesburg. He trains athletes of all levels from complete beginners to top athletes in disciplines from track athletics to ultra running on road and trail. He is also passionate about Running form & Posture, training the mind, functional and sport conditioning and fitness training. Read more about Coach Clint here