London Marathon blues: How to stay motivated despite the race’s postponement

The London Marathon was due to be held on April 26 before its psotponement due to the coronavirus pandemic.

PA has spoken to one of the marathon’s official coaches, Martin Yelling, about ways to stay physically fit and mentally positive despite the disappointment.

– But I’ve been training for so long!

“It’s natural to feel a bit disappointed – people that were planning on doing it were hugely excited,” Mr Yelling said.

2019 Virgin Money London Marathon
Runners during last year’s race (Paul Harding/PA)

“They were going to raise a lot of money for really important charities and have a really amazing day, so it’s quite natural to feel a bit deflated … but it’s absolutely the right decision given the context of where we are.”

“Perspective is really important,” he adds. “The marathon will always be there next year and you’ll have your day.”

– I’ve lost my motivation for running

Why not challenge yourself in a different way? The rearranged October 4 date is a little way off, but setting and completing a more immediate goal may help you to boost motivation.

“What you find sometimes when you set yourself a challenge like that, something immediate, says Mr Yelling. “That also triggers something in you that says ‘well, I want to keep this going, actually I can keep this going – I want to keep this motivated’.”

For the next 15 days we are The #TwoPointSixChallenge and together, we are going to help save the UK's charities. 🦸‍♀️🇬🇧

— The #TwoPointSixChallenge (@LondonMarathon) April 16, 2020

Now could also be the time to reflect on the reason you were running the marathon in the first place – to help others – which may help you get your trainers back on.

– How can I keep my mental and physical health up?

Use your running as a tool to boost both mental and physical wellbeing, getting some time outside and to yourself in these current times can be invaluable.

Physical exercise can also help provide a sense of “rhythm and normality” in times of uncertainty, says Mr Yelling.

If you don’t feel like getting your trainers on one day, don’t pressure yourself to do so – don’t feel bad for not going out.

– Should I run in October or just wait until April next year?

It’s up to you, but the marathon’s organisers recommend that those who were signed up to run in 2020 should aim to run on October 4.

Marathon runners study
The race has been rescheduled for October (Adam Davy/PA)

– When should I start training again and how should I reset?

Mr Yelling says it is important not to “leap back” into something too quickly and risk injuring yourself.

He suggests gradually layering personal fitness and adapting training to continuing public health rules, including working out at home and going on solo runs.

“If you were following a training plan back in January, February, March, just pick that up and put it into July, August, September, leading into October,” he says.

– How will I cope with training in the hot summer months?

“It’s hard to give generic advice because every runner is different, but the principles of getting yourself ready for a marathon stay the same,” the coach said.

You may need to juggle your regular routine when re-building a structured training plan, but the key thing is to not be over-ambitious – know yourself.

You may find running at a particular time of day suits you, depending on how you respond to the heat, but remember to always stay hydrated.

– What about factoring in school summer holidays?

A number of “negotiations” will have to take place and childcare schedules may have to be adjusted – consider running in the mornings if you can bear to get up.

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