how to stay motivated if your marathon or fun run has been cancelled

how to stay motivated if your marathon or fun run has been cancelled

Has the fun run or marathon you’ve been training for been cancelled due to the coronavirus? Running enthusiast Laura Hill reminds us to look on the bright side, because there’s still plenty of reasons to hit the pavement. 

Around the world and here in Australia, runners are coming to terms with the fact that the race – or in some cases the races – they had been training so hard for have been cancelled, postponed or rescheduled to later this year because of COVID-19.

In line with public health advice, some of Australia’s most popular running events like the HBF Run for a Reason, Run for the Kids and Puffing Billy Running Festival have been cancelled, while the Sydney Morning Herald Half Marathon, Canberra Marathon, Adelaide Marathon and Great Ocean Road Running Festival have either confirmed or are working hard to secure new dates for 2020. Several major running events scheduled for a few months’ time including the Gold Coast Marathon, City2Surf and Australian Outback Marathon are carefully monitoring the evolving situation before making a decision.

It’s not just running races that have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Globally, parkrun has been cancelled until at least the end of April, and many community-based running crews such as Hunter, Sydney Harbour Runners and Brisbane Social Run Club have proactively decided to press pause on their regular meet-ups because they consider the safety of their members more important than any running streak.

I’m the first to admit that having a race cancelled isn’t fun. I was really looking forward to seeing if I could get a new PB at the Geelong Half Marathon, but now I’ll have to put that goal on ice until September.

I’m not alone in feeling frustrated and puzzled about what to do next. Right now, my Instagram feed is full of posts about runners struggling to find motivation to keep training now that their upcoming race has been mothballed.

Others are learning to run solo, which can be a daunting prospect when they are used to running with other people. Even the world’s fastest marathoner, Eliud Kipchoge revealed he was still getting used to running alone after his training camp shut down due to the coronavirus crisis.

So, how do you psyche yourself up to run when you have nothing to train for? First things first – look on the bright side and remember that running itself isn’t cancelled. If that won’t cut it, then here are some other ideas.

Go virtual

It’s not all doom and gloom for some events and running crews. Tough times require creative solutions and it’s great to see some events and clubs offering virtual options for runners.

In Sydney, Kirribilli Runners have started a virtual run club to replace normal sessions and the Mother’s Day Classic is offering participants a virtual, interactive experience to ensure the historical event continues during these uncertain times. Participants can walk or run 4km anytime, anywhere on or before Mother’s Day 2020.

Get fit as f*ck

Don’t let all the training you have done go to waste. Right now, you’re probably the fittest you’ve been in a while and you should focus on this huge positive. Use this advantage and plan how you can maintain peak physical fitness through the autumn and winter months to smash your spring running goals.

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Get a coach

If you’re struggling to ‘show up’ for your runs, then I can highly recommend a (virtual) running coach. Each runner gets something different from their coach, but the main ways coaches help runners to achieve their goals is through more accountability; providing better planning and structure to workouts; sharing the burden and stress of training; providing constant monitoring and feedback; giving advice on how to avoid injury; and sharing their running expertise.

Just as each runner is different, so is each coach. Coaches have their own views, philosophies and methods for getting the best out their runners, so you need to choose one that aligns with your personality and approach.

Work on your weaknesses

With no race around the corner, now is a good time to work on your weaknesses or muscle imbalances. Take a moment to reflect on your training and if there were areas of strength that you felt could have been better. Do you have any niggles? Now is the perfect time to get these sorted and to come back stronger.

Get a different type of training partner

Now that there are no more group workouts; no more running meet-ups; and no more post-run coffees with pals, you need to find a new training partner. Enter the Nike Run Club App. This one-stop-shop app tracks your runs, dishes out coaching that adapts to you and lets you bring your friends along for the ride. Personally, I love the Guided Runs and during this period of uncertainty, the guided running meditations are audio gold.

Set some new goals

So, your original goal as gone down the gurgler. Then set a new one. It doesn’t have to be as challenging and maybe it’s a good time to view the change of plans as an opportunity to take a different path. Set some short, medium and longer term goals. Try a speed session, set a new 5K goal or give trail running a whirl.

Follow Laura Hill’s Instagram for more tips and tricks on running.

More essential coronavirus reading:

Read up on what the government lockdown means for you, understand why Aussie doctors are up arms, be aware of the ‘hidden symptom’ of COVID-19 carriers, prepare yourself for the long-term mental health effects of the pandemic, get your sweat on at home with these free online workouts before reviving your over-washed hands with this DIY balm, and then console yourself with these unexpected joys.



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