Spring race cancelled? Here are some tips to stay motivated during the COVID-19 crisis

Race organizers around the world are cancelling or postponing events as part of efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Among the high-profile cancellations to date are the Canadian Masters Indoor Championships, Vancouver Sun Run, Toronto Marathon and Hamilton’s Around the Bay 30-kilometre race.

Other big events — including the Olympics, Boston Marathon, London Marathon and Big Sur Marathon — have been postponed.

Plans are still underway for the Saskatchewan Marathon, scheduled for May 31, but organizers say they are monitoring the situation.

This week Brainsport Times editor Andrea Hill and Saskatoon personal trainer Jen Kripki (pictured above) share tips on how runners can adjust training if their races are cancelled or postponed and how runners can keep training during these uncertain and unprecedented times.

Be kind and don’t panic

Everyone is doing what they can to keep people safe. If your race is cancelled or if there’s uncertainty around whether your race is going ahead, know that many others are in the same situation as you. Also remember that race directors are people too and they’re facing difficult decisions.

Know that any training you’ve put into a spring race is not wasted. Fitness built in the spring can help you train for a race in the fall.

Adjust your training

If you have a coach, check in about how to adjust your plan. If you’re training on your own and were preparing for a spring marathon that will now be run in the fall, dial back the mileage. Stretching out a marathon training plan over several months can result in injuries and burnout.

Create new goals

“Goals are so important to keep us focused and motivated to keep your training going,” Kripki says. Pick another event — maybe look ahead to your postponed race — or aim to run time trials to monitor your fitness.

For Kripki, who had planned on running the Boston Marathon in April, she’s now focusing on training for the Sinister 7 Ultra 100-mile race in July.

Get outside

Despite sweeping orders for people to self-isolate, people who are not showing symptoms of COVID-19, have not travelled internationally and have not been in contact with someone who has COVID-19, can still go outside for exercise. Whether you want to be training for an event at the Saskatchewan Marathon, running a time trial or going for an easy run or walk to get out of the house, getting outdoors and moving can provide physical and mental benefits.

Check out online training options

Though gyms and training centres are shut down, there are lots of virtual options for home-based weight, body weight, and yoga workouts that you can do with virtually no equipment. “This might be the perfect time for you to try something new or focus on strengthening your weaknesses,” Kripki says.

Brainsport has partnered with Karen Moffatt, who will be offering the Brainsport community a free 30-day membership to her on-demand movement, yoga and kettlebell classes. For more information and to sign up, go online.

Stay positive

“There’s a lot of negativity around us lately with all that is happening in the world so counter that by making a list of all your training positives,” Kripki says.