Running in uncertain times

So, here we are! Its the 1st of May already, and I’ve now been ‘working from home’ and doing my best to live under COVID-19 guidelines for around six weeks. For me, it took a little while to adjust to the new way of life. At first, I was frustrated to see my races being cancelled, ones I had been training hard for for months. Soon, it became inevitable that the entire spring race calendar would be put on hold, and when parkrun closed down I really had to face facts and accept the new situation.

With no races to train for, and being mindful of wanting to minimise my time outside, I’ve let my training take a back seat for a while. This isn’t the time for me to chase PB’s, but to just really enjoy and appreciate my limited time outside each day. I’m running a few times a week, and taking the children out for bike rides on the other days. Without any of my normal group runs or exercise classes taking place, I’ve been really intrigued to see all sorts of inventive lockdown and social distancing compatible exercise ideas and challenges cropping up.

One of these is the ‘Walthamstow Hare’, where a mystery local runner, the ‘Hare’, sets a weekly challenge every Monday in the form of a new 5 km Strava segment and we, the ‘Hounds’ have the rest of the week to complete the segment as fast as possible in our own time. A really simple idea, but it has quickly become my favourite run of the week, encouraging me to get out for a decent tempo run, and discovering some hidden sights and new routes close to home that I hadn’t stumbled across before!

Another idea I’ve really embraced is home workouts. OurParks, who normally run my Tuesday running club, have really risen to the challenge of lockdown exercise, and are providing a whole programme of daily online free workouts, from HIIT, abs and dance classes, to evening yoga. Connecting via Zoom really helps me to stay focused throughout the class, when everyone can see you if you start slacking off! I’m aiming to do one of these workouts every day, so why not sign up for one on the OurParks website, and I might see you on screen!

Life has settled into a gentle but repetitive rhythm of homeschooling, working, exercise and trying to enjoy a simpler way of life for a while. It’s not without its frustrations though, with two small children at home I am really struggling to balance the pressures of work vs parenting/schooling, and generally end up exhausted at the end of the day, and feeling like I am doing a rather half-hearted job of both. The children have been great, but starting to go a little stir-crazy (aren’t we all?!) with not being able to go anywhere, and missing their friends.

How are you holding up? I’d love to hear if your local running groups or exercise buddies have found any ways of staying connected through this time. I hope you are all managing to stay safe and healthy, and can’t wait to see you on a race start line sometime as soon as we can!

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