A few weeks ago, we were told to stay home and avoid any kind of social contact. Unless you live under the same roof, our leaders said, do not socialize with others. Within a few weeks, all spring races and group runs were cancelled (as were many summer events) and solo running became the new standard. Goals have changed from a local race or bucket list to flattening the curve and killing COVID-19.
The elimination of running goals is exactly what we need in the battle against COVID-19. Now is not the time to push ourselves in long runs or speed work as we need to be strong if we should come into contact with the virus. Every long run that we do, every intense workout that we follow, they beat up our bodies; they weaken us. And when that happens, our immune system is compromised. In the same way that we adapt our strategy mid-race, we need to adapt the way we are currently training so that we can finish strong.
The spread of corona virus has changed me as a runner. First, I now always run solo; it’s the right thing to do; it’s the safe thing to do. I am also focussing on more slower running because I know that I can’t turn to any of my specialists if I end up with a niggle. Having no races planned means that if I don’t feel like running or cycling one day, I can just take the day off and not worry about it. I don’t need to strain my immune system. I need to be healthy for myself and for my family.
So right now, I am running because I love to run. Without any races in the foreseeable future, running splits aren’t important; nor is distance. The only thing that matters is that I am outside, getting fresh air and staying physically and mentally strong. I’m back to the “training to train” mentality that I had in the fall and I am loving it.
No pressure. Just run.