QT: Strategically Planning for a Return to Racing in 2021

What a difference a year makes, eh?

This time last year, the thought of races being virtually eliminated for the next 12 months was laughable.

This year? It’s been a year (or more) since many of us have raced and it’s still uncertain exactly when we will be able to confidently plan for a return to racing.

Will this be the year that races are happening again?

I know quite a few people that are chomping at the bit to get back to racing.

If that’s you, I’d encourage you to spend some time now thinking about how you’re going to dive back into races when it’s go time.

The Question is When

At some point, hopefully sooner rather than later, we are all going to be able to return to racing.

Between now and then? It’s all about getting both your mind and your body right!

And seeing as the return to racing in 2021 is going to be of a different beast than what any of us have ever experienced before, it means our preparations should probably be different than ever before as well.

Pending Schedule Chaos?

I have a diverse group of runners that I coach when it comes to races.

A few of them are like me, where we will probably jump in a race or two each year but it’s rare that we have too many big races on the calendar at any one time.

A few of them are the polar opposite. They have almost more races than I can keep straight already planned out for the better part of the rest of the decade.

And, of course, the majority are somewhere in the middle.

I may be a bit biased, but I feel like those that don’t have any firm race plans/goals are in the best position right now.

We are running. We are building our bases. And when race options present themselves, we will be able to find one or two that suit us and dial in our training accordingly.

At least that’s the plan.

At the other end of the spectrum?

A lot of the races that got canceled last year, the registrations were automatically deferred to this year.

No big deal, right?

Yeah, unless you’ve already planned out races and travel for the next few years.

Then, all of a sudden, mixing in 2020 races into the 2021 race schedule creates chaos.

And for you Type A people that have planned your race schedule out a few years in advance, we all know how well you guys handle unexpected race schedule chaos…

Surviving the Return to Racing

Safe to say just about every runner I know is looking forward to racing again.

And while I’ve talked before about planning your race schedule strategically, I think the need to do so over the next 18-24 months is more important than ever right now.


Because if you’re itching to race again, the last thing you’re going to want to do is wind up injured and unable to race when races are happening again.

At least I assume that an injury is probably the last thing you want to deal with in the coming months.

So how do we thread the needle of running all the races while (hopefully) staying healthy?

Here are a few suggestions.

Prioritize One or Two Races

By definition, if you have too many priorities you don’t have any.

If you’re going to stay healthy and sane through a jam-packed race schedule there is no way that you can view all of your races as equally important.

So the first thing you need to do is identify which races matter the most over the next year or two.

If you only have a couple/few races on your radar, this may be relatively straight forward.

But if you currently have 10+ races penciled onto your 2021 calendar, this needs to happen right now if it hasn’t happened already!

No. More. Races.

If you already have a pretty full race schedule, do yourself a favor and stop adding more races to the mix!

I know, easier said than done.

But seriously.

When races are back on track, it’s relatively likely that you’ll get caught up in the excitement just like everyone else!

The difference is, if I get caught up in the race excitement and sign up for a race or few, I’ll now have a race or few on my schedule.

If you do it? You’ll end up with a baker’s dozen (or more!) races to run in the coming weeks/months.

If you’ve already got a handful of races on your schedule, you’ve already got enough races to worry about.

Don’t add any more to the mix, eh?

Establish Solid Habits Now

If there’s a chance, or likelihood, that you’ll be racing multiple times a month at some point this year, then you need to have your recovery protocol locked in.

My advice?

Get your recovery protocol locked in now.

If you can establish some good habits with regards to your recovery now, those same habits will serve you well when the races start coming thick and fast.

And not for nothing, but establishing a good recovery/maintenance routine is something that would benefit just about any runner at any point in their running career.

Time to Do the Prep-Work is Now

Well then, it’s time to get to work.

Keep logging your miles. Keep preparing yourself physically.

The races are coming.

It’s time to start getting ready then.

Preparing for a return to racing is going to be a little different this year. #runchat #runningtips Share on X

Do You have a Mess of Races Already on Your Calendar for this Year?
How are You Planning to Be Ready for Your Races, Both Mentally and Physically?

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