The spread of coronavirus is leading to the cancellation of many big-city marathons, but that doesn’t mean your training is in vain.
With the news that the London Marathon will be going ahead as an elite-only race this year along with many others that have been cancelled, it’s easy to feel disappointed or unmotivated at having another year to wait to cross the finish line.
However, just because the race you’ve been training for has been cancelled, doesn’t mean you can’t still cover the distance. The Virtual London Marathon will be the London Marathon’s 40th race and you’ll still receive that hard earned medal and finisher’s tee. You might not have the crowds cheering you on, but you can still have a good time, put your training to good use and raise some money for charity. You just have to do so in a smart and sensible way. Here’s how…
1.Don’t run the actual route
Two of the things that make marathons special are cheering crowds and the chance to run on closed roads. If your race has been cancelled and you insist on running the course, you will enjoy neither of these pleasures. Instead, you’ll be stopping and starting at road junctions – if you’re sensible – or endangering yourself and other road users if you’re not. Either way, it’s a bad idea.
2. Plot a lapped route
Without hydration stations to keep you topped up with water and energy drinks, you’ll have to think smart. One easy way to do this is to plot a lapped route and leave your bottles of water and/or sports drink at the start of each lap.
3. Record it
Marathons do exist even if they’re not uploaded onto Strava, but having a digital record of your achievement will undoubtedly make it feel more official. If you’ve been sponsored, it also acts as proof that you’ve run 42Km’s. Not that you’d lie about a thing like that, would you?
4. Make it runner-friendly
Think large parks, trails and quiet roads. Limit road crossings so you don’t have to stop and start. Avoid busy pavements. Set off early (but not in the dark). Picking a runner-friendly route is safer, more considerate, quicker and, ultimately, more enjoyable.
5. Get dressed up
If you had your heart set on wearing that penguin costume, don’t let a race cancellation prevent you from doing so. As long as you’ve plotted a car-free route and your costume doesn’t impair your vision, there’s no reason you can’t wear fancy dress for your DIY marathon. Get ready for some funny looks, though.
6. Keep it small-scale
One of the main reasons some big races have been cancelled is the fear that having large numbers of people in the same confined space will increase the spread of coronavirus. So if you do run your own marathon, don’t invite everyone you know to join you; one similarly minded friend who can stay 1.5m apart from you at all times is enough.
7. Celebrate at the end
Running 42Km’s, officially or unofficially, is a cause for celebration. Be sure to put your feet up and celebrate at home on zoom. There are few things more satisfying in the world than a post-marathon pint (while watching the Kipchoge vs Bekele highlights).