Your races being cancelled? - How to stay motivated in the face of the Corona-pandemic

You have been training all winter getting ready for the upcoming season. Maybe used the winter months to carefully plan out your racing season with the appropriate amount of rest in between those longed for races. Then suddenly those same races is getting cancelled in drowes… How do you stay motivated and “on task” when those precious motivators are not there?


How runners normally stay motivated

Runners are usually quite motivated by races and personal records. Getting to the starting line with the number dangling from your chest, knowing that you have really put down the effort to get ready is quite a feeling… During training many use peer group running, running vacations or similar to really get that next level down and to keep evolving.
For many the races are what really drives them in their day to day training. Most of these goals are local or semi-local races, but many are also long term, lifetime ´, bucket-list goals like participating in the marathons of Boston, Tokyo, Berlin, New York and London, or for those mad ones out there - the fabled Western States and Barkleys Ultras.
At the time of writing, this season seem to be like no other - ever. Those races that have been going like clockwork for years and years are no more - cancelled.. That precious motivation need to be replaced with something else - but what..?

“Cancelled due to the corona outbreak” - What now?

Even if you current motivator gets cancelled or postponed, there are a lot of different alternatives that you can participate in or organise yourself. Here are a few suggestions on what to do:
  1. Strava or similar online communities - get into it with segments
    There are lots of different communities for runners our there, but maybe the best one for just this challenge is Strava. If you want to compete, but can´t due to cancellations? Strava surely got a segment that you can compete for.
    Also check out this list of different online communities for runners if you are looking for an online home as a runner

  1. Plan your own race - with a couple of friends
    Of course, you and a couple of friends can´t compete with running the New York Marathon or the Western States, but you surely can create a race for yourself. Get together with a couple of friends and plan for a “stretch target” that can be repeated (need to have those PR opportunities for later on…) and get to it.
    Maybe it is a 6 hour run to the top of a mountain, or a 12 hour run through a National Park - only limit is your imagination. The motivation is there, and maybe next year you can add more people and make your own race?
  1. Use nature - for all that it is worth
    This one is of course something runners do all day, every day, but it is worth reminding that this is what this is really about - for most: to get out there and enjoy.
    Find your motivation in the small things - and those big, hairy goals doesn´t matter all that much
  1. Embrace the online running experience - on your mill
    All that have a treadmill know the feeling… Let´s change that feeling to something useful. There are loads of mills these days that connect to different paid services that take you on virtual runs all over the world. But, there are free alternatives.
    Get an iPad mount (or similar) on your trusted treadmill, and go on YouTube and search “virtual run” or just go straight to Running Videos on YouTube, select your preferred location and get running. Create a goal that your can track - for instance run all continents for at least 3 hours before the end of the month…? 
  1. Use communities to stay motivated - communicate that you are running, then check in verify
    Motivation can come from goals like a race or a competition, but it can also come from yourself. With a little help from some basic human behaviour, more specifically the fear of not living up to your word, you can create some powerful motivation for yourself.
    Go to your favourite Facebook Community and put up a post: “I, <your name>, will run a <length of trip> trip at <the time> today, and will check in afterwards. Please hold me accountable.” That one should get you out there… Or just agree to meet at a specific time and place with a friend for the next month, and I assure you that you will be motivated to go out there..
There are lots of ways to stay motivated and engaged, even if you can´t join the race of your dreams. We know it is not easy, but there are ways to keep at it and enjoy life as a runner nonetheless…
Just keep in mind that maybe this year isn´t the year to focus on improving your record in this race or another, but to just focus on caring for your loved ones and those that are in danger of serious illness these days. 
What are your ways of staying motivated? Share with the community and with us below or in social media! Best of luck with your training and stay safe!

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