Friday, 7 August 2020

Racing | My race is cancelled: now what?

2020 will surely be defined by two words: unprecedented and cancelled. Due to these unprecedented times, every single one of the world marathon majors has now been cancelled for everyday runners. Runners up and down the country who've got used to a pattern of training from race to race are suddenly left wondering, now what?

After I chose to drop out of my A race this year due to restrictions on training during lockdown, I've been thinking through quite a lot of alternatives about what training, racing and running looks like for me in 2020 and here are some of my thoughts of how you could answer your own 'what now' questions.


1. Virtual races
There are still lots of virtual races happening around the country - why not sign up for one of these and train with the same dedication you would for your usual race? The great Run Through offer virtually every distance up to marathons and their races cost just £20 to enter. You can still show off your #medalmonday and feel like you are part of the racing community with their bubbly online Facebook community and lovely hand written notes each finisher receives in the post.

2. Seek adventure
Who said running required finish lines? This summer the number of people chasing FKTs (fastest known times) is proof of how there are plenty of alternative ways to set a target and work towards it. Take the path less travelled, explore more, try the things you don't usually: road lovers - why not try trails? trail queen - why not try track? Slow down, take a whole day hiking, get in to wild swimming, pick up cycling - remember that adventure is out there for those brave enough to seek it.

3. Go wilder
While many races are cancelled lots of the smaller, often more wild ones are still happening! I'm a big fan of Maverick and from next weekend they are back with mindful Covid-19 returns to racing. The 5km PB might not be on the cards, but you are bound to have a brilliant day on new exciting trails, hanging out in a race village and soaking in the festival style atmosphere.


4. Go faster
This is such a great time to dedicate some effort to getting your shorter distances faster. If you don't fancy hitting the trails, why not work towards a new 5km PB? Follow an 8 week training plan, even work with a coach if you are saving your usual gym/race entry money, and see what you can achieve at the end of a dedicated training block.

5. Go further
The road racing community might have abruptly stopped but there is plenty going on in the ultrarunning community. Always fancied a longer distance? This could be an amazing time to work towards a longer goal: train mindfully, build up slowly but why not work towards a longer distance while the number of races you usually would be smashing round are on hold?


Whatever you decide is next: stay safe, train mindfully and work hard and you never know what you might achieve.