We Are Not Alone

Article by: Richard Hayes | StocksbridgeRunner
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At the moment the world is in lockdown with COVID-19, and we are asked to curb out social activities.

This has seen so many things recently cancelled it would take me pages to write everything down. This is marathon season for most and it now looks like September/October is now going to be race season.

Forget RED (run everyday); it will be RED (race everyday). But that is in the future and at the moment there is no certainty that things will be back to normal by then.

For runners, it’s not just our physical well being but also our mental health. With Parkrun now making the call to cancel for the first time in 15 years, a lot of people relied on the event as a, kind of, weekly fix. It’s the only time they see other people. With so many people now isolating the next few weeks, months are going to be tough.

For now though, those in charge are saying running is still allowed and running is good for the immune system. So long as you are sensible there is nothing stopping you from getting the training in. I can see a lot of people hitting PB’s when racing begins again – no training is wasted so just because your current “A” race has been cancelled those miles you’ve banked will stand you in good stead for the future.

Everyone is different.

We all have different aims, levels, training schedules and targets, but some things apply to some or most of us (and others maybe not at all_. Now you have no races, everyone has the opportunity to put in some base miles. Most regular runners race/Parkrun on a weekly basis so never do proper base miles, so now is the opportunity to build a good spring base for the future.

What are base miles by the way? Base miles are the training miles of cycling you clock up in the off-season or over winter to increase your base fitness level. These are usually gained through long distance, long duration rides taken at a steady, low-to-medium intensity.

Running on your own for some will be a shock but use it as a tool to build that mental discipline required on the longer runs. Why not find an awesome playlist and listen to music to be your training partner? Personally, I enjoy doing my easy runs on my own and listening to my local surroundings.

In all honesty, I’m lucky I live on the edge of the countryside. But running solo helps me to get lost in my own thoughts and a good way of clearing the head. Why not change your goals, particularly as you have a good period of time without races or Parkrun to distract you. Settle in, and really think about your short and long term goals. Write them down and then plan accordingly. If you had planned a spring marathon, take some downtime.

Your body will thank you for it and you are not going to lose anything from a rest. Rest and recover (to continue from my last point). If you have niggles or recent injuries, now is the perfect opportunity to give your body the chance to heal.

Think about that for a minute. By having a few weeks off now and letting all of those issues heal will mean that when racing does start again, you can hit the ground 100% fit. How many of us could say that? Even if you have no plan keep running, get yourself out to stop you going stir crazy.

Go and explore new routes, or tackle local Strava segments. Why not talk to other local runners via social media and set up a Strava challenge on a local hill and you can all do it in your own time?

Target a specific pace, route or a specific distance, once every two, three or four weeks. Make it your own personal challenge (and share here, for extra motivation). You won’t be able to run as fast as you can in a race say, so compare like with like, so compare a solo effort with a solo effort.

Lastly, why not start doing those strength and conditioning exercises us runners are guilty of ignoring? Try cross training, yoga, or anything new. You may have felt you had no time for these with races coming up, and you may have been very focused on just running. Now is the time!

Don’t isolate yourself mentally. Use social media to talk to others, ask for help and share running exploits. We are not alone, even when we are running alone.

Sharing stories will help everyone keep going and working to get through a tough period.

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