The Great Running Reset

The pandemic has been impacting all of our lives for about a year now. I’m not getting into the history of it or what’s happened because you already know. I chose the title of this blog post carefully for two reasons. The first is that this blog is getting a reset of sorts. Second, people have talked about the pandemic sparking a great reset of society. I’m not sure what to think about that because some of it sounds like straight conspiracy stuff. But what I’ve been doing, and what I think us runners should be doing, is using this time for our own running reset.

Almost all races have been canceled. There have been just a handful that have gone on as planned since March. Without races, what’s the point then? The vast majority of us circle our calendars and plan way in advance and revolve our training schedules around these races. But they’ve been postponed or canceled. No doubt that’s left some of us unmotivated. The COVID-19 19 (as in pounds) is real.

So what have I been doing? Running. I had planned on the Paris Marathon in April of last year. But then it got pushed back to last October then November before finally being canceled and put off until this October. That was my main goal race last year. I had planned on possibly running the Boston Marathon again this year but that won’t happen. So without big races to look forward to how does one stay motivated to run?

What’s worked for me are a few things. Acceptance of the situation and making the best of it are what I recommend. That’ll put your head in a good place when it comes to running. Try not to mope anymore about what could’ve been. The races will come back and soon, hopefully, because of the vaccines. Once I decided to accept and make the best of it, I felt relieved. I decided to look at the bright side which is that it gives me plenty of time to get back into the type of running shape I want to be in. I’ve had nagging little injuries over the past two years that have disrupted my training. It’s the result of getting older and not accepting that fact, which will be the subject of another blog post soon. When you can’t run, you lose fitness. Now, I decided to hit the reset button.

This is running in 2021.

Starting over so to speak is hard to do with a big race coming up soon. You fear you won’t be prepared enough if you don’t start training hard and consistently right away. The grind of intense training can be exhausting physically and mentally, not to mention it can increase risk of injury if you’re not careful. But with no major race coming up, I can take as long as I want to build up to the point where my body can handle harder training again. So that’s what I’m doing.

Of course, I was “helped” in this regard by peroneal tendonitis which impacts the foot and ankle area. I had to take several weeks off from running because of the pain. Once the pain subsided, I decided to build back up very slowly. I walked then I mostly walked and ran. Then, I had mostly ran and walked. Now, I’m running again. All this over the last five months or so. I got sick and tired of being hurt with nagging injuries and felt a very slow buildup would be best for my body. Plus, there’s no time crunch because Paris isn’t until October anyway (maybe). The timing is perfect in a sense.

I’m close to 40 miles a week now with the goal of getting to around 45 before reassessing and figuring out what’s next with training. I may get a coach to see if he or she could get me to a new level. I’m not worried about what shape I’m in because I have plenty of time to get back to where I want.

30-40 miles is quite the reset for me because I haven’t run that few miles regularly (when not coming back from injury) since before 2012 when I started running marathons. But I need this reset both physically and mentally and it’s really paying off.

Bottom line is this: Use this time now to take it easy and reset if you feel you need to. Drop your mileage if you’re feeling stressed. Take a day or two off during the week. I feel great now both physically and mentally and I’m nowhere near optimal racing shape. I know my body’s getting stronger and isn’t taxed due to trying to complete a training cycle ahead of a big race. Find your way to reset. Soon, we’ll be back to normal and it’ll be great.