Coping with Postponed Events

There will always be factors outside of a runner’s control.

One of them is the weather.

Unfortunately races get cancelled or postponed when the weather is deemed by the organisers as too treacherous.

It happened this weekend with the occurrence of more snow in the United Kingdom. The Roger One Mile time-trial scheduled for this afternoon (which I intended to race) and a local half marathon tomorrow (which two runners I coach had entered) have been postponed.

It is the first time this has affected my running.

Despite the initial disappointment, the calling off of an event should be no reason to prevent mine or anyone else’s progress. This relies on always having an alternative plan.

For example, for my One Mile Challenge, I always intended to attempt my goal at least three times, with adequate rest in between attempts. This meant I didn’t have to rely on only one occasion, with certain conditions and preparations. It also allows me to experiment, using experience to guide me.

The Roger One Mile time-trial would be on a local track ‘racing’ with others, and my other two attempts would be run alone along self-devised routes on flat surfaces such as pavement and road.

Even for longer distances you can easily research another race ahead of time that you would be available to race if required. Likewise, a self-organised race (in the form of a virtual race) can provide the necessary motivation to meet your goal. Although the crowds or traffic-free route may not be present, I believe this is one way to build self-confidence and mitigate the inevitable issues of externally-organised events.

My advice also applies when illnesses, injuries or emergencies stop you from participating in a running race. If you prepare well in advance for any potential problems you’ll have an effective psychological technique to cope with other setbacks that occur in training and in the off-season.

This can easily be incorporated into your racing strategy long before you travel to the start line. 

You’ll then become a more resilient runner that has, paradoxically, greater control over your running.

Personal Bests and Illness

5-11 March 2018

Monday – workout #26

5 x ¾ mile at tempo pace with 3:00 walking recoveries

I ran laps around two football pitches in my local park.
The grass was wet and muddy.
My energy was being sapped, despite my even pace.
I worked hard to maintain a smooth and controlled breathing rate.
The walking recoveries were more than adequate.
By the end of the workout I doubted the effectiveness of grass as a surface to gain the most power from my running.
After two days of hard workouts I knew I needed rest.

Thursday – workout #27

½ mile time-trial

I felt ready to test myself over a short distance.
I measured the route beforehand along my local river walk in order to avoid traffic and undulating terrain.
I started on a quiet road at a quick speed.
I soon turned off and headed along the concrete pedestrian pathway.
My legs and arms were driving fast and strong.
I kept my concentration as I reached the final seconds, noticing that my pace was sub 5:00 per mile.
This was a real confidence booster for me, knowing that I have the speed, endurance and quick pace to achieve a sub 5-minute mile.
I smiled and congratulated myself when I checked my sports watch and discovered a new personal best.

Thursday – workout #28

11x 0.15-0.3 mile downhill sprints with 1:30 jogging recoveries

Despite my fast performance earlier in the day I couldn’t refuse a running club session that was described as the ‘easiest workout’.
I ran a figure of eight circuit, with the uphill midsection as the jogging recoveries and the downhill and flat sections as sprints.
I was by far the quickest runner on the night so even with a handicap of running an extra stretch of road I overtook everyone else.
At times I felt I was flying downhill, not wanting to hold back.
I was rewarded with another personal best of my fastest ever top speed.
The half hour workout didn’t feel as easy as was promoted but I found it evidenced my improving fitness.

One Mile Challenge: Week 10

My week started strong when I recorded two personal best times, first with a half mile time of 2:26.19, and second, later that day, a top speed of 3:27 per mile. Illness over the weekend prevented me from training but did not dent my confidence.

I took advantage of four rest days (Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday) and had one easy day of running. I accumulated over 12.4 ‘recovery miles’.

I also registered for the Roger One Mile Time-Trial, a local event to commemorate the legendary miler Roger Bannister, which will be held next Saturday. It will be my first opportunity to achieve a lifetime aspiration.