Most runners have spent the past year training for one thing, getting through the pandemic. Races being at a standstill, there was no goal. There was no race on the training plan. You still ran sometimes when you could, or to cope with stress of it or you stopped running completely.
Having a race on the calendar gives some runners a purpose to train and a goal to tick with every run. Though virtual races have a been a good alternative but it still lacked motivation for all.
Now with the pandemic slowly losing its steam and things getting slightly back to normal , you would have noticed small local races making a comeback. If all goes well we can expect some larger in person races being staged by the end of the year or beginning of the next year.And if you habe that itch to participate in those races, its time to start training once again.
Now how to get back into the training mode after being off for so many months.
Base building : As you have a race on the calendar, it is time to make a training plan which gives you enough time to build your base. Now if you have been completely off running , you cannot expect to immediately hit the metrics when you had left. You need to start from where you are right now. You need to be honest with yourself about how much time and effort you are ready to commit. The training plan should have a slow transition with a gradual increase in effort and time. Do not do too much too soon . The last thing you want is to get injured.
One step at a time: It can be scary looking ahead at a training plan where you see what is in store for you as the distances keep increasing. Focus on daily goals for improvement. You need to also work on your mental game with breathing techniques, visualisation etc to get you through training and race.
Race day surprises:-
Race day will look different. There won’t be a race packet pick up or spot registration. Not having these give the race organisers more control on the crowd.Masks may be required at the start and end of the race.Some races might even request runners to wear masks throughout the race.There might even be staggered starts rather than a mass start. This will help create a social distance.
There s just one thing to remember- That is HAVE FUN. In person races after not being there for so long itself is a gift. Bask in the achievement of where you have been and where you are going next.
Rajnish Goswami, obese till 2015, successfully completed multiple Marathons and Ironman half distance and full distance races. He is a fitness enthusiast and an avid reader of sports science