While we aren’t racing just yet it feels like it is getting closer. With many countries lifting restrictions we can start thinking about running races in the short term future. If you’ve been in a country that’s allowed exercise with restrictions in place you are hopefully in a good place to get ready to race.
We are getting close to the time when you should start planning your race preparations. Its now just 8 weeks till the start of September when most postponed races are planned. If you are planning to run a race during September, October or November, you should be starting to think about refocussing your training towards your goal race.
If you’ve been able to train through the last few months and been motivated to do so, you’ll benefit from being in pretty good shape to start a specific race training phase. If you’ve been unmotivated during this time, it’s not too late but you’ll want to be starting to get rolling soon. And if restrictions have left you unable to train then hopefully you can now run get back to fitness. Rest assured there is still plenty of time to be fit and strong for your goal race, but you’ll want to begin your focus soon.
While most races are postponed till September through November, some of the bigger races we’ve seen cancelled altogether including major races like Boston and Berlin marathons. With an ever-increasing likelihood that other major races could cancel looking at a smaller race in this period might be advantageous. Finding a race that will go ahead makes much more sense than hanging your hopes on a big city race that isn’t able to take place. Every runner knows how entering a race spikes motivation to get out and do the training.
If you have a race in mind start aiming your training towards this race. If the race is a long race such as a marathon you should target your long runs and faster sessions around this distance. If it’s a shorter race and you have a strong aerobic base transition your training into building speed to compete at your best over this distance. It could be the time to reach out to a running coach and have a structured plan built for you. This will help you improve as a runner and fit training seamlessly into your lifestyle.
The job for you right now is quite simple;
- Find a race, preferably one that won’t be cancelled
- If you can’t find a race yet, choose a desired distance
- Start training for this race
While this sounds simple it’s something runners haven’t had to worry about recently. That shift from training for fitness and the joy of running and switching into ‘perform at your best on race day’ training is a little different but much more engaging. Having something tangible to train for is important and in normal times is what motivates and drives most runners.
The most difficult part may be finding a race. Depending on the part of the world you reside, race directors are overwhelmingly being cautious about the marketing of their races. It makes sense too, whenever mass gatherings aren’t yet being promoted race organisers are going to be reluctant to promote their race to large amounts of people. You’ll need to take somewhat of a leap of faith when entering a race and then spending the next few months training for it. There’s still a chance you’ll spend the next few months training for a race that doesn’t take place. At least you’ll be really fit with nowhere to race if this happens.
Whatever happens to races over the next few months is still up in the air. However, the training strategy that seems the most fool proof is to focus your training on a race distance and leave the detail to later. While you may not want to enter a marathon yet, you can start focussing your training on the plan that you’ll find one to race later in the year.Everyone will be at varying fitness levels with different race goals. By choosing your distance and adapting your training for that distance and your fitness level it’s a fool proof strategy for success.
Races will go ahead, they may not be the perfect race in the perfect location for you. You’ll want to be part of races. This year has been tough enough so far. Racing gives you the best chance to finish the year running your best in your race opportunities.