Like thousands of others, Euan Crumley’s marathon plans have abruptly changed following London’s move to October. In his latest blog post, he takes a look at why all is far from lost
To all those who have just had their marathon plans and running year thrown into turmoil, I feel your pain. The focus of these past few months, that source of motivation for training that little bit harder, for stepping out of the door into what has often been howling wind and pouring rain when you might otherwise not have done so, has now moved much, much further away on the horizon.
The easy, and natural, thing to do would be to get angry and let frustration take over. By all means do that – you’re entitled to, given the amount of personal and physical investment you will have made in your marathon preparations so far. Just don’t do it for very long.
Once you have vented, take a step back, breathe deeply and let’s look at how we can put a positive spin on the situation.
1 – Fundamentally, the postponement of these big marathons – be it London, Boston or Rome – is undoubtedly the right call. With sporting showpieces falling like dominoes and no-one having any certainty as to how the coronavirus pandemic is ultimately going to play out, simply carrying on regardless would clearly have been a huge and unnecessary gamble. This is an unprecedented situation in which sport absolutely has to take a backseat.
2 – Now you know. The uncertainty has been removed. Runners love to plan, of course, and that is going to be difficult at the moment in terms of entering other interim races between now and the autumn, but this week’s postponements mean you can at least now start to look at adjusting your training plans.
3 – Your training hasn’t been in vain. Yes, that marathon finish line moment has been delayed but take a moment to think of and celebrate what you have managed to achieve since beginning this training journey. ‘Enjoy the process’ is something you will hear from many athletes and with good reason. That has been something I’ve very much tried to focus on with my own London marathon preparations since the turn of the year. Getting into a training routine, building mileage, hitting small landmarks, dealing with setbacks, noticing gradual improvements, feeling my body beginning to get stronger, has brought its own kind of satisfaction and I now know that I won’t be starting from scratch when it comes to resuming marathon training later in the year.
4 – You have the chance to experiment. With all of that marathon training done, you should now find yourself in a position of strength and you can do something with it. Don’t stop running – after all, it’s proven to be a great way of boosting your immune system – but by looking at challenges other than the marathon in the meantime you can test yourself in different ways and, done correctly, could make you even stronger come the autumn. Whether it’s beating your 5km of 10km PB, heading for the trails or perhaps even tackling a triathlon, mixing things up and giving yourself varied targets will maintain your motivation and all feed into your marathon mission.
5 – The weather should be better. Hitting an autumn target means training through the summer, so relish the chance to log the miles when the days are longer, the temperature is higher and there is no need to don multiple layers. London being staged in October also perhaps reduces the risk of the kind of heatwave conditions which have been known to have greeted runners on the usual April date.
6 – You will be a part of history. Where London is concerned, this year being the 40th edition had always meant that those with a place would be taking part in something unique. Now it will take on another dimension entirely. There has never been an autumn London Marathon before – just as Boston has always been run on Patriots Day – which means that, in a manner of speaking, runners will be breaking new ground on a well-worn course. The atmosphere at these events is always special and now it looks set to be even more memorable than usual.
It is an uncertain and unsettling time but running will help – whether that be with your physical or mental wellbeing. Find the positives, keep training and thank you for reading this Road to London blog so far. There are now a few more miles to run than I thought when I first started out, but I’m already looking forward to writing the next instalment when the time is right to get back into marathon training.