In this time of the pandemic there has been so much change, so many new things to get used to. The changes to our home lives, our work lives and our family and social lives have left us in what seems to be a limbo. For some of us this Limbo has left us hanging, wondering where you stand and what to do next, for others it has been an easier transition, either way the challenges have been extraordinary.
In my life, my running and training has been the one thing I can stay in control of despite the rest of my daily challenges but also it has presented its own set of obstacles.
Let’s highlight some of these.
For me, this is the absence of short road races, 10s and 21s and the absence of track athletic and cross-country races. For you is may be the absence of marathons and ultras such as Two Oceans and Comrades. So the question I asked myself at the beginning was, should I put the brakes on the training and sit back and wait for the racing season to come back? Or should I carry on training as if nothing has changed? The answer for me was clear because I am a running coach so I could approach it from a more objective direction. My choice? Keep training, but why? What’s the point if there is nothing to train for? The short answer is that there is always something to train for. The longer one; the fact that there are no races is not a permanent one, that is my hope anyways, races are going to come back and then what, if you are not trained then it doesn’t matter, you won’t be fit for them. So, keep training because when racing returns then you want to have some fitness to get into them again. This brings me to the next obstacle.
What this means for me is the following. I train for a specific season of events and my training is designed around when those take place so that I peak at the right time and I am ready for my main competition. For you this may be training for a specific, 10km, marathon or comrades. Your training is always designed around getting you to your big day in the best possible shape. Now you are wondering, what is the point of not having a target to aim for, am I not just blowing like a flag in a typhoon, haplessly blowing around with no direction. Once again, been a coach gives me some insight, experience, and knowledge on how to handle this. First, your training is the wind, and it is always controlled and always has a specific direction, just because your event is missing it doesn’t mean you stop training for it, but it all depends on what you are training for. If you are training for a 10km road race then carry-on training as if nothing has changed, there is always opportunity to do a 10km Time Trial. Let’s talk about the Comrades Marathon, the probability of that race taking place in 2021 are….. well, it’s unlikely, at least in the traditional sense. Just because Comrades is not taking place it does not mean you should stop training, in fact there are numerous ways you can change to make your training count and be in the best shape ever for the next edition of the Big C. Anyhow, it is a great time to focus on Form and Efficiency. Now as much as it is possible to keep your training on track and you will it will get hard, which brings me to my next obstacle.
Staying motivated for me can be challenging at times but I look at two points when getting out of bed to go and training is the obstacle. No. 1 Running for me is the one thing that barring the restrictions doesn’t really need to change, I have the ability to get out and run, to attend training. With everything else changing so quickly, I would like to keep that one thing the same. No.2 The pandemic has really not affected your ability to run, so get out and run except of course if you contract COVID-19, but is you are in good health, get out and keep training, it may be the one thing that will keep you sane which brings me to a list of positives, starting with motivation.
Motivation begets motivation, what I mean is that getting out for a run is the first step to staying motivated. Don’t think about how lazy and anxious you feel to get out, rather remember how you feel when you get back, you may be tired and buggered but you can feel accomplished when it’s done. Stay joined to your club, running as much as it is for your induvial improvements is really a social sport, so join your clubs Time Trial of weekend club runs or their weekly quality sessions, they are well controlled and socially distanced, and the best possible steps are taken to always keep you safe. If your club has a weekly quality session, then the coach will be there to help. All the runners in the RacePace team know that can chat to me anytime and the quality sessions are the best place to catch and stay connected. Of the above obstacles, staying motivated is the most difficult. If you are finding it difficult to stay motivated, then Whatsapp me on 0824482879 and we can chat and lets see how I can help you.
The scariest part for me is not when will racing start or how should I train or how do I stay motivated, the scariest thought for me is contracting COVID-19 because I have seen what the effects of this virus and the damage it has done. I have a few athletes that have recovered from it and even though their symptoms as explained by them were like a bad flu, the aftermath is a hard pill to swallow. If you think the most patience you need to have is to wait for racing season, imagine getting back too running after having recovered and feeling as if you have never run before and are starting from scratch. I have formulated a back to running plan for anyone that has recovered and the biggest asset you will need beside the motivation to get back is your patience. The good news, full recovery is possible.
Lets talk about your training now.
The positives here are that there are incredible ways to help you improve during the pandemic so the challenges are not what you can do, but when and how you should apply training principles. It’s not as easy as it sounds so educate yourself, but if need be get yourself a coach to help you get on back on track. The first step; select a goal because even though there are no races, you still need a target to aim for and those are a dime a dozen. Your fastest 1km or mile, our fastest 10km, your longest run before you hit threshold and there are 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 not unprepared for what could be a memorable day for you.
Everything above is within your control and doesn’t need to change (save for getting COVID). With all the change that is going on around you, running is the one thing that can stay the same, or mostly anyways, 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, even better get yourself a running coach to guide you through these uncertain times with great coaching advice and an excellent and appropriate training plan.
Contact me and let me guide you through this time and help you get back on or stay on track.
Whatsapp me on 0824482879 or complete the contact form at the following link https://forms.gle/1oApXAboUpseawBa7