Running through COVID-19:

An open letter to my Run Fit Stoked Team… but really runners everywhere.

Greetings, Team! 

Well, this really threw a wrench in our plans, didn’t it!? Before I address the current pickle we are all in, let me start by saying that I value each and every one of you. Together, you have have shown strength, progress, resilience, and perseverance- many of you in the toughest of situations. We are a relatively small team, but we’ve got teammates at every stage of a runner’s journey from beginner to experienced veteran. Our athletes run all different paces from run-walkers to age group placers. We have teachers, military personnel running long distances on a ship at sea, business owners with limited time as they travel across the country every week, parents of young kids (need I say more?). Some of you are dealing with new and/or serious (non-coronavirus) health conditions, family crises, injuries, surgeries, crappy work situations, and other stressors that weigh us down in “normal” times. Yet, you’ve broken through walls in your training and in your goal races. Collectively, you’ve run distances you’d never run before, you’ve run faster than you’d ever run before, you’ve trudged through worst-case scenario conditions with the the same gusto you run in ideal weather. You are all better runners and hopefully better people having come this far on your running journey. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of it- you inspire me! 

This is why I know we will get through this unprecedented time like champs. You are runners- you know how to overcome. You were built for this- or at least have trained for it! Running (or any moderate or vigorous exercise) is an important part of maintaining a healthy immune system. You can do it alone or in small groups, without any equipment, without the need to touch or be too near other people. You can breathe safe, fresh air and increase those endorphins, decreasing stress and anxiety, at least for a little while. I hope that you will continue to run through this period of social distancing and do so safely for as long as we are allowed to. While I do not intend to give into the panic and hysteria, I do recognize the severity of the situation for vulnerable populations, such as my parents. Attached, you will find important hints on how to keep yourself and those around you safe from infection while running (and here’s an official RRCA link with more advice). Feel free to share this info with others!

Now, what to do if your event has been cancelled…Don’t panic! You’ve got options. If you are working with me through this training cycle, I know firsthand how much hard work you’ve already done. Please know that all miles are miles in the bank and are NEVER wasted, regardless of what happens with a race. That being said, please check your race organizer’s website to see what they are offering in the event of a cancellation. Here are some of my recommendations:

  • Follow the directions for keeping your entry in the postponed/rescheduled event date.  -OR-  Follow directions for your refund (if offered).
  • Run virtually! Some events have gone completely virtual. If they have NOT and you still want to run your goal distance on the weekend the race was originally scheduled for, do it! I’ll even run some miles with you if you’re local. Just post a pic of your data on social media and tag me (or text/ email it to me) and I will send you a custom finisher certificate! (Ashley, congrats on that virtual NYC half marathon yesterday! I’ll be sending your certificate this week.)  
  • Find another race this spring. There are a handful of smaller races (mostly trail) that are still currently on as scheduled. Check in with them and if they are still accepting applicants, go for it. This is a tricky option because the CDC has recommended guidelines for gatherings and anything that is pushed back should be done so for 8 weeks. If the race is at least 8 weeks out from today, go for it! Otherwise, if you still want to run, I’d opt for the virtual run.
  • Taper safely and follow a maintenance plan. Maybe turn to your eyes to some shorter, faster races that happen in the summer months.

Whatever you choose to do with your running during this time of chaos and uncertainty, it will be the right decision for you- I am sure of it! There is no wrong answer here, as long as you are staying safe and healthy and it makes you happy. I will, of course, be here to guide you in any way that I can. In the meantime, I will continue to program workouts for current athletes as if these races are happening and you will be ready to tackle those goals you set months ago! A microscopic virus can’t hold us down. We’re runners.

Happy running!

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