QT: How to Stay Consistent When the Race Calendar is Empty


In my view, there are few things more valuable for us as runners than to stay consistent with our training.

Sure, other things matter in helping you make progress toward your goals.

But if you’re not regularly getting your miles in it’s hard to realize the growth you are looking for.

One way that many runners are motivated to stay consistent is by always having a race or few on their calendar.

But what happens when the race calendar is more barren than usual? Say, during a global pandemic?

Motivation isn’t a One Trick Pony

While races are a major motivator for many, there are other ways to stay motivated and consistent when you’re not racing for the foreseeable future.

If you’re struggling to get your miles in consistently right now, hopefully one of these suggestions will help you get back on track.

Measure Progress in Performance

For a lot of us, the reason races are such a motivational force is because they are kind of like a test.

On race day, you lay it all on the line to cover the distance as fast as you can.

Now, I’m not here to make an arguement that you can replicate everything that makes race day special on your own, but you can absolutely test yourself on a regular basis and then compare your results as a way to measure your progress.

How?

Time trials are probably the most common scenario.

And for my fellow heart rate peeps, the MAF test is a great option to test your aerobic fitness.

The set up is basically the same for either option:

Pick a distance. Have a route you can repeat every time you want to do your time trial. Then get out there and go!

In four to six weeks, get out there and do it again.

If you know you’re going to be testing yourself every month or two, that can give you that extra little nudge to get your miles in as scheduled.

Create Challenges for Yourself

Challenge Accepted!

Do you prefer more of a tangible target at which to take aim?

If so, create a challenge and get after it!

Maybe it’s a run streak. Or a mileage goal.

Maybe you challenge yourself to simply do a certain percentage of your runs over the rest of the year.

Whatever it is, make your challenge tangible.

If you can easily tell whether or not you’re on track, it’ll keep you going.

If not? It’s easy to get off track without even realizing it.

Diversify Your Fitness Portfolio

 

You know you can do other things besides running, right?

And some may even say that you should do other things beside running.

Honestly? Now is the perfect time to pull back from your running and do some other types of physical activities.

You can pull way back. You can just pull back a bit.

Your call on how that works.

But without races on your immediate horizon, now’s as good of a time as any to explore other forms of exercise.

And who knows, you might just find that running a little less may help you improve your overall health/fitness; which might just lead to some serious progress in your next race, whenever that may be.

Races Will Return (Eventually…)

I am pretty terrible at predicting the future.

But I’m confident that at some point races will be a regular thing again.

When will that happen? TBD.

But when they are back, I don’t know about you but I’m going to get after it!

Which means that right now? And for the foreseeable future?

I’m going to simply do my best to stay consistent with my training.

Building my base. Improving my aerobic fitness. Increasing my ability to metabolize body fat for fuel.

If you love pushing yourself on race day, I’d encourage you to continue doing the work now so that you’ll be ready to go as soon as races are a regular thing again.

Becuase they will be, eventually.

See you at the start line!


How are You Motavated to Stay Consistent with Your Training Right Now?

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