What to do when your race has been cancelled

Ben Hobson
Photo credit: BEN STANSALL - Getty Images

From Runner's World

In light of many major races being cancelled, runners will be finding the uncertainty of whether or not the big race they've been preparing actually happening as a really tough mental block during their training.

We asked clinal and sports psychologist Dr Victor Thompson how runners should be approaching the final few weeks of their training plans with the uncertainty surrounding some of the UK's major marathons.

How should runners cope with training when their race might be cancelled?

Some might think: 'what is the point of training, as with the competitions being cancelled my training will be wasted?' Well, this is one way of looking at it. But one that is not that helpful. As, if you stop training, you will lose fitness, performance, the good mental benefits from running…. You will likely end-up in a psychological hole. Instead, see this as an opportunity, such as one:

To train and prepare for a race as usual, with less pressure, as the race might be cancelled. Making the build-up less stressful. If the race goes ahead, that’s a bonus.

To modify training and so it is less specifically geared for the race, with even less pressure, as the race might be cancelled. If the race goes ahead and you still want to do it, then fine. If it doesn’t or you don’t want to do it, that’s fine too.

To train differently, focusing on different aspects of your running – a different speed focus, a different hill focus, more strength, drills etc – this will give you more of a mental break from racing and likely help your performance for the next race you do.

To focus on races that are likely to go ahead – such as your local ParkRun – focus on improving your 5Km PB for the next 4 months, with a ParkRun every 2 or 3 weeks as a test.

In short, when things change, adjust. Don’t kick-off against what has changed, but is outside your control. Adapt, move on (with your running shoes attached).

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