What To Do If Your Race Is Canceled Due to Coronavirus

Several Marathons, Half Marathons and many other distance races and fun runs have been canceled across the world due to the Coronavirus outbreak. Here’s an update on how COVID19 is impacting runners and running events…

How COVID19 is Impacting Runners and Running Events

Races and Group Runs Canceled or Postponed – All around the world race directors and local officials are canceling marathons and other running events in an effort to stop the spread of Coronavirus. This includes the Boston Marathon and London Marathon.

If you were training for a race that’s canceled… what now?

What to do if your race is canceled

First, check to see if your race is canceled, postponed with the date TBD OR rescheduled with the date set.

The race website and/or email updates should have official announcements on any changes to the race day events.

If it’s canceled –

Find out if there are any options to defer or get a refund. Then, move on and decide if you want to register for another race later this year, run the race next year or train for a Netflix marathon.

If it’s rescheduled –

a. Check your calendar to be sure you can run it that day (this includes checking for conflicting plans, other races you plan to run, your personal fitness priorities, etc).

b. If you can run the race on the new date – YAY!! Write it in your calendar & update travel plans (if needed).

Then, talk with your coach or update your training as necessary. How to adjust your marathon or half marathon training really depends on when your ‘A’ race was scheduled, the new date and your goals.

If you were training to run a sub-2 hour half marathon with your goal race in 4 weeks… you’re probably in amazing shape, running a lot of quality workouts and in the last big push of training before taper.

So I think it’s fair to say (if nothing else at least to yourself), “This sucks!!”.

You can acknowledge that you’re been working hard, getting up early, prioritizing recovery and good sleep, eating healthy, etc… all in an effort to hit a goal or even run a new PR and now you can’t see this training cycle through to the end.

You can give yourself 5 minutes to feel sad, cry, scream, cuss or whatever you need to get it out. Then, figure out what your options are to move forward.

If your Race is Canceled or Postponed…

Here are some options to consider if the race you were training for is canceled due to COVID19.

Ultimately you should decide your next move based on YOU = your goals (goal for the race AND long term goals with running), fitness, other commitments / priorities, physical health, mental health and any other factors that impact what’s best.

If the Race is Canceled – Choose Another Race Later in the Year. – Most races are being rescheduled for September and October so I’d suggest aiming for the fall or later to be sure it won’t be canceled again.

If the Race is Postponed but You CAN’T Run that Day – Choose Another Race later in the year. (See above) And check to see your options for refunds or deferring until next year.

If the Race is Postponed and You CAN Run that Day – Adjust your training plan to be in peak performance mode on the new race date. (Work with a running coach on this if you’re going for a goal, injury prone or not sure how to find a training plan that’s best for you.)

No matter what – Stay Positive and Do Your Best. 

We can’t control the weather on race day. We can’t control if random stomach issues happen at mile 14 of a marathon. We can’t control a lot of things about running… but we can control our attitude and our effort during training.

Training Tips if Your Race is Rescheduled

If you’re in the ‘monster month’ of marathon training and running super high mileage weeks / long runs that are pushing your to the best shape of your life to run a PR in the next few weeks, but now don’t have a race to run for months —>

Consider your new race date and how much additional time you have to train.

Depending on your fitness level, goals, injury history and motivation level – you can take these tips and use what works best for you.

  • Run your own race – Run a solo marathon or half marathon on the originally scheduled race day for yourself.
  • Keep going – If you’re feeling great, no fatigue or signs of potential injury and feel like you can keep going without getting hurt or burnt out… Consider using your current training plan and extending it until race day. How exactly to do this depends on your body but options include:
  • Repeat weeks. Go back on your training plan the # of weeks your race is delayed. Ex. If the new race date is 9 weeks away, go back 9 weeks on your training plan.
  • New Plan. Get a new plan that’s written specifically for your current fitness, goals and new race date.
  • Conditioning. Focus on keeping your cardio fitness strong, but don’t push it further to avoid taxing your body too much. Spend any extra energy on conditioning and strength.
  • Run your life – Do what works for YOU. Update your goals, training, approach based on YOUR BODY.

No matter what your situation is – Focus on What You CAN Do.

If you can still run… run!

If you can still meet up with running buddies – have fun!

If you want to spend more time conditioning – do it!

If you have a treadmill at home and want to run, eat and sleep on it – I hope you have dreams of winning Boston!!

Be brave. Run fast. Have fun.

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