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Coach Monty - It is all about the process! Running out of the lockdown.

Everyday we hear news of races and events being cancelled due to COVID-19 - ‘What do we do now?’

Perspective Mr and Mrs please. In all of this I do not think there are many people out there whose race aspirations were more important than the health of their fellow countrymen and those across the World. Yes, money has been lost. Journey of a lifetime scuppered. But, health and life first. And second to that. Those who have lost in their professional life such as publicans and restaurant owners whose trade and financial secuirty has been put into such uncertainty. For them our love and wishes and hope for survival. 

However, this being a running piece, I come back to our sport and the inevitable outcome for many of us. Racing. For now there is a pause button on this. Nothing is certain. Races may be able to go ahead in some countries. But what about travel, insurance and the ultimate health of everyone. All huge responsibilties that fall on heavy shoulders. 

And back to you. It is ok to feel disappointed. Gutted. And have a mini tantrum at the chance of a lifetime you had racing in that super race in a different country gone. The training you had already grinded out in preparation for a race maybe closer to home wasted.  

Not one bit. Not even a tiny bit. Ladies and gentlemen out there, what is unique about our sport is it is a gift that keeps on giving if we open our eyes. Daily, weekly, monthly and all. 

Extrinsic goals, such as races, may ultimately drag us out from under the cosy duvet in the morning into the rain, hills or a lung bursting session. But, how about that feeling you get when you have just finished one of those sessions or runs? Great isn’t it. Beyond the acheing limbs or screaming quads. You are buzzing. And don’t tell me you don’t feel a certain smugness to the World when you have completed one of those especially if it was a long, cold, or challenging one. 

And another aspect. What also drives you to get out of bed in the morning, or leaving the house 10minutes after arriving home after work to hit the pavements or trails? Or zipping out for a quick run while your little ones eat their lunch and your partner takes charge? It can’t just be the race 3,4,5 months away? There is something more inside of us. Intrinsically. Which we gain from the process of training. 

The health benefits physically and mentally are obvious. But how often do we acknowledge them. Running makes me a better person. A healthier and happier person. Do not ask me why as I would find that answer very hard to define. But what about you? What does running and training give to you, do for you, make you don those trainers and glitzy lycra to pound out mile after mile? What does the structure of a program give to other aspects of your life personally and those around you?

I have been so grateful in the UK that we have been able to get out once a day for exercise during lockdown. So grateful. Running helps me sort all my puzzles. Makes me a better person. A better Dad. Relax better. Better to love and be loved.

Running makes me feel alive, without which I am unsure how I would exist. Yes, it might not be as significant to you, but I’m sure the races are or were. But pause for a second as the disappointment hits you over and over again at that extrinsic race goal being taken away and the loss to your wallet. Can this be an opportunity?

With my athletes we have used this time as an opportunity for maintenance. Training without extrinisic pressure. Which for some is most welcome. A time to reduce the load and really focus on areas we may need to improve or work on, not just in running but personally. 

Extrinsic goals are not lost. The goal posts have just changed. Your goal race put back a year or an opportunity after some to choose another opportunity. Extrinsically, what can you aim for? 

The trails and road are not restricted to race organisers. Get out there and make your own FKT on a certain trail or road race. As the World opens up train somewhere different and set a goal for a set course or route. These do not have to be personal bests. But, things that will challenge you mentally and physically like a race. A loop or multiple (24hours) of the highest point in your town or city. Virtual races occuring all round the World. Your own virtual race. I could go on. 

Yes, this pandemic has robbed many of us of our running goals. And yes it is ok to feel angry and disappointed. 

But, it has also robbed the World of many people’s loved ones. Robbed the livelihood of many private business owners or jobs for people just to put food on the table. 

Running is a gift. It really is all about the process. Run with a smile out of lockdown. Life, love and health.

And there is always GlobalLimits Albania and Cambodia 2020!