Training During A Pandemic

What a strange time we live in.

As some of you may know, I work for an endurance events company based in Boston. In mid-March, we had our first wave of event cancellations, followed very suddenly by orders to bring our work laptops home and to begin working from home indefinitely. Well, I had about one lovely day of working from the comfort of my dining room table before I received the news that I had been furloughed, along with approximately 85% of my coworkers.

So here we are – it is now mid-May and the beginnings of spring are just beginning to show in New England. I’ve been fluctuating between moments of calm, enjoying the extra time to myself and moments of significant anxiety (When will life go back to normal? Will I still have a job when this ends?)

The only bright side in this whole horrible pandemic has been running for me. And while it might seem trivial, training has been the one thing keeping me sane through this sh*t show. See, in January of 2020, I ran a paltry 52 miles total for the whole month. In February, I managed to increase that to 87 miles total.

Training MileageWhile there’s nothing wrong with those numbers, I remember feeling so deeply stressed out about work that it was incredibly difficult to find the motivation to crawl out of bed at 5:30 in the morning to go out for a run. Nothing was terribly wrong at the time, but I wasn’t exactly happy either.

Post Run CoffeeContrast that to the past few months. In March, I ran 120 miles. In April, I hit 175. In the past four weeks, I’ve averaged about 39 miles a week. I’ve been running about 6 days a week with one rest day. I’ve been strength training at home (thank goodness for the collection of dumbbells and various gym equipment pieces I’ve amassed over the years!). My body has been feeling strong and resilient (even when my mind feels the opposite). My creaky Achilles tendon has been happily managing the increased load and my injury-prone hamstring has been fully present and engaged at speed work sessions.

In addition to all of the training, I’ve also had more time on my hands to think about my goals and what I want to do with my life. One of those things is run coaching. I’ve been interested in coaching ever since working with a coach myself (I credit my coach with helping me knock 20 minutes off my marathon PR, taking if from a 3:53 to a 3:32). Before all of this pandemic stuff started happening, I had even signed up for a coaching certification course through Road Runners of America. I’ll be taking that seminar in July, though whether it will be in-person or virtual, remains to be seen. I have had plenty of time to review all the various running and training books I’ve purchased though, and it’s been fun to educate myself on the science, physiology and various schools of thought regarding running performance.

Books about RunningI know many people have taken up running since the pandemic begun, as it’s one of the simplest forms of exercise, not requiring anything more than a good pair of sneakers and an open road. While I’m not an expert, I do have lots of experience and a lot of time on my hands. 😊 So, if you have questions about starting a running program, good sneakers to run in, or anything else marginally related to road-racing, please reach out or leave a comment! Hope you are all staying safe and sane during this pandemic. Depending on what the next few weeks bring, I may be checking in here more, sharing life updates and training tips. Stay healthy and happy running!

Wearing a mask while running

The mask I use while running.