How to maintain marathon fitness when your race has been postponed – Runner’s World (UK)

Justin PagetGetty Images

If your spring marathon has now become an autumn marathon, you may be worried that your hard-earned fitness will now slip away. However, Lewis Moses of New Levels Coaching says that, with the right attitude and a little imagination, the coming months can help you to become an even better runner.

1.Respect the guidelines

First off, respect the guidelines set out by Public Health England. Fortunately for runners, one of these guidelines is that we should stay active, so we’re in quite a privileged position. Staying fit and health for body and mind is essential. Right now, running is one thing you can control, so hold on to that.

2. Find the balance

It’s about maintaining the work you’ve done without overdoing it. It’s about continuing to work quite hard without putting yourself in a hole – research suggests that over-training can suppress the immune system.

Keep the long run, but drop the volume of it. If you keep knocking out 20-22-mile runs, you risk overdoing things. If you’re the type who does an interval session, a tempo run and a long run, consider dropping either the interval or tempo session. Think about doing just one tough workout a week, alongside easy running and a long run.

3. Work on your weaknesses

This is a good time to work on your weaknesses. During your marathon training, where weren’t you quite as strong as you hoped you’d be? Did you pick up any niggles? Now is the perfect time to address those to come back stronger in the autumn.

4. Rest can be best

When people have to rest, most find they come out of that period feeling better than when they went in. The evidence suggests you don’t lose any fitness after a 10-day lay-off. People are getting anxious, understandably. But ask yourself this question: have you ever met anyone who became unfit by easy running? You will maintain fitness if you’re running.

5. Adapt and overcome

If we go into lockdown, you must adapt your training. Running conditions the heart and lungs, of course, but they don’t know what type of exercise you’re doing – they’re just getting a workout. So you have to think about how you can work your heart and lungs, and there are loads of ways to do it – from skipping to body-weight sessions. These other exercises will also benefit your muscles, bones and tendons.

6. You were going to rest anyway

If you were training for a spring marathon, you were going to taper into the marathon. Actually, you were going to have a very easy spell of training. In effect, you have just been forced into that a little earlier than you wanted.

7. You won’t be starting from scratch

If you manage to run regularly over the next few months, don’t become obsessed with following your previous marathon schedule to the letter. About 12-16 weeks out, think about making your training more marathon-specific. When it comes to the long run, you don’t have to go back to the beginning, either. You’ve already trained your body to handle longer runs, and that training hasn’t been lost.

Like this article? Sign up to our newsletter to get more articles like this delivered straight to your inbox.

View Comments