Social distancing, solo running, virtual races and broken dreams. Is this the new normal for our running community.
Many of us did not see this coming, but when the largest moneymaker on the planet shut its doors (Disney World) I knew the world was going to change. Then the race cancellations came, Boston, Umstead, Western States and I fear “Leadville.”
What can you do?
Myself, I continue to run and train with the faint hope that my goal race, Leadville Trail 100 will go on but I’m worried. I’ve been training with an eye on tomorrow, whatever tomorrow looks like. For me to run at the level I need to I have to be chasing a goal. And in times like these, I believe that is important for all of us.
Focus on the health benefits of being active. If you can’t get the social fix that running brings to your life never lose focus on how running improves your physical/Mental health. I enjoy running alone or with a group and racing keeps me focused but for the short term we may have to find other forms of community.
So whats next?
Are virtual races, and personal running challenges the way we will test ourselves in the future? When the Tobacco Road Marathon in Cary, NC got canceled instead of sitting idle I ran 26.2-miles on race day to get my 38th marathon in. Many other runners online have posted similar runs including one guy in the UK who ran around his backyard to get in his marathon completed. I’ve also seen many folks participating in personal challenges whether it being the “3 x 4-miles a day challenge or backyard ultras.” Are “FKTs” going to be the next big wave to stay motivated? Will “Peleton and Zwift” style treadmill races going to be the new standard of competition? Can you see a world where “I-Marathons” catch on the way NASCAR and INDY CAR have embraced virtual racing?
What will the new running world look like for you?
The world and RUNNING will survive this challenge, but it’s going to change. How it changes and whether you continue your running journey is up to you. As long as you run you’re a runner. Races will change, the virtual race organizers will fill the void. I can see a world where if you post a Strava segment over a prescribed distance you’ll earn the bling that so many of us collect. I see FKTs being posted more often and over more routes. I see PRs on treadmills being the next benchmark much like a “BQ” time standard. And I see a day when our races return.
We will shape the new world..Running and otherwise. Stay focused, stay safe, keep running, embrace the change and you’ll be ready for the future.