At this date, it is hard to be unaware that we are living in a time of uncertainty. With races cancelled for the next few months and group runs deemed irresponsible, for most of us running has changed in many ways. Thankfully we are not yet in a full lock down situation but it is likely our training schedules have changed to accommodate the times. Personally, I was hoping to ease into a competitive race schedule comparative to years past but those plans have been waylaid. I wanted to share what I am doing to stay in shape and increase capability while staying within the demands of the current situation.
Social distancing was the first guideline implemented by those in charge. In accordance to that, the race postponements and cancellations were the first sign that this spring was going to be a little different. Most races approached this by deferring paid entries to other events they offer later in the year or to the next years iteration. I was only signed up for a couple half marathons, so this was not going to affect me harshly in terms of training, as I generally approach races at that distance as a extended tempo run, a task I can duplicate fairly honestly on my own. The inability to toe the line at a 5K is harder to compensate with. I will do my best with solo tempo 5Ks on the road and track intervals, general 400m in length, to increase anaerobic training and mimic the feeling of running hard when tired.
Shortly after, that guideline was utilized to cancel group runs. In my town, the only one I attend somewhat regularly is held on Wednesday evenings and I use it as an ‘honest effort’ easy run or long cool down from the track workouts. It is a great way to connect socially and run the recommended 8 minute relaxed pace. I definitely miss the camaraderie of running with others, but the hardest part will definitely be putting in the easy miles at least once a week. I still have not found a credible solution for this supposedly simple problem.
Like most people, with the onset of this situation, I went to the grocery store to stock up on the essentials. My habit is to generally grab food for one or two meals on the way home for work, allowing for an uncluttered kitchen and the freshest ingredients. It was necessary for me to fill a grocery cart to load up on the meal essentials for about two weeks. The intensity of my training and my fast metabolism lead me to consume large amounts of food on a daily basis to keep my weight up. In deference to the lack of races and potential strain this could put on our food supply, I have scaled back the intensity and overall mileage, which has reduced my appetite to a more manageable level. The goal is to now fit in regular intense workouts while not testing endurance to allow me to cultivate my speed in a manageable fashion. In my experience, it is easier to increase endurance for solid half marathon performances than it is to build into 5K speed.
The reduction in traffic has resulted in one bonus. I feel a lot safer on the roads. Crossing intersections doesn’t feel as rushed seeing as drivers tend to take more time to ensure the way is clear. I still avoid crossing major roads without a light to make the crossing safer, but even the back roads and residential streets are less traveled.
The hope is that in the course of this epidemic, we will not lose our ability to exercise outside. I have seen videos of individuals running marathons on their patios and in their backyard but I don’t think it would be appropriate to run a trail into the small yard at my house. Doing indoor stair repeats would be obnoxious to my family as well. So please, do my family and everyone around you a favor and stay inside to save lives, practice social distancing, and always wash your hands.