So Your Race Got Cancelled. Now What?

All across America runners are receiving notifications from race directors that their races have been cancelled or postponed.

Let me be the first person to tell you that it’s okay to be sad. It’s okay to be disappointed. It doesn’t make you any lesser of a person because your road race or trail race got cancelled to feel defeated and deflated.

I’m one of those people. I was registered for a race that was scheduled to take place at the end of April. It was a half marathon. It would have been my first race in a very long time.

Truth be told, I reached out to the race director and asked whether they were planning on canceling the race due to the increased concerns surrounding the coronavirus. With Seattle being called the “epicenter” by numerous media outlets, it seemed like the most responsible thing to do would be to cancel the race. Ultimately, that’s exactly what happened.

So I get it. Your race got cancelled. And you’re asking yourself, now what?

First things first, spend a day or two mourning the loss of your race

I’m serious. you spent a lot of time dedicated to training for your race. You probably skipped out on getting drinks with friends because you didn’t want it to interfere with your training over the weekend. Or maybe you got up extra early on Saturdays to get in your long runs in order to be able to spend more time with your family during normal daylight hours.

Whatever it is that you gave up, and it was probably more than just one thing, you made sacrifices so that you could be at your best on race day. And now that race day is gone.

You have every right to be sad. Feel those feelings. And then, when you’re ready, move on to the next step.

Practice self-care

Start by dialing in your nutrition

We’re living in an abnormally heightened state of stress and what you feed your body matters. Give your body the immunity boost it needs by feeding it nutrient dense foods.

Choose fresh or frozen produce over processed goods when you can. Water over soda. You already know what good nutrition is, you just have to choose to put it into practice. Now is the time.

Get more sleep

You no longer have a single date looming over you every morning you wake up. Instead of hearing your buzzer go off and immediately stressing about when you’re going to get your workout in and then your negative thoughts chime in and say, “if you don’t get your workout in you won’t be race day ready” which only causes you more stress… shut the negative chatter down asap.

Your race day is no longer a reality, which means you can hit the snooze button and go back to sleep instead of getting your early workout in. Or, you can practice adulting and choose to go to bed early a few nights in a row and experience what it feels like to wake up refreshed.

It is possible to wake up not wanting to stay huddled under the warm covers. Experience a morning where you are excited to start the day – energized and raring to go.

I challenge you to get more sleep for one full week.

Here are a few ideas on how to get better sleep:

  • Put fresh sheets on your bed
  • Keep your room at a slightly cooler temperature than the rest of your home
  • Consider using an alarm clock to wake up in the morning and plug your phone in a different room
  • Try going to bed and waking up at a consistent time
  • Exercise daily (my favorite tip, of course!)

Set a new goal

I know, this sounds counter-intuitive. We just talked about all the stress races reign over us. Why would we want to walk back into that so quickly? We wouldn’t. And you shouldn’t.

Take some time to pick something else to focus your attention on that you have total control over. For example, learning how to complete a single pull up. Or being able to accomplish 100 pushups in a single day.

We are living in very uncertain times. Find a goal that speaks to you that you can work on independent of outside factors, i.e., something that doesn’t require a gym.

Give yourself a week or two to consider your options and then commit to making that goal a reality.

Having goals gives us a sense of purpose and joy. It fuels our intrinsic motivation – which rewards us in personally meaningful ways. Remember, we aren’t racing for the medal, we are racing for our ‘why’ (hat tip to Simon Sinek).

Take some time to mourn the loss of your race, spend time recovering by feeding your body and allowing yourself to get a proper amount of rest, and then pick a new goal. If you need help picking a new goal, send me an email. Run on, my friends.