Uncertainty can be one of life’s biggest stressors and the current COVID-19 climate is definitely taking its toll on all of us. While there can be some comfort in the fact that no one is being singled out and it wasn’t anything you did or could have done, the mere fact that no one really knows what this means over the short or long term is a big stressor.  

While as runners, we all know — or at least embrace – the positive effects from running or going on a run, many people, and us runners included, can become victims of malaise without a tangible “goal” such as an upcoming race to keep us motivated.

To help stay motivated and get your you-know-what out the door, here are some tips to try:

Rally your training buddies or running pal to sign up for one of the virtual races or race series and set a goal in the same way you would a go-to race.

Try something new — do you migrate toward shorter distance races? With more time on your hands, try switching it up and go for more distance.  To accommodate the added mileage (recommended at adding one mile per week to your long run) scale back on volume or cut back to one day of speed work each week and add another mile to the second day and run it at an easy to low moderate pace.  

Work on a weak area — have a nagging ache or tightness in your legs or body? Google exercises to help improve mobility, flexibility and/or strength to help you improve your running over the long term.

Lacking motivation and accountability? Think about using your monthly health club or spin class dues and hire a coach. Many coaches cost about the same as your monthly dues and can customize programs to help you deal with stress, improve your running and help you reach your goals.

Just run — remember, just getting out the door is a victory in itself and sometimes all we need is to just go out and run. Let your body dictate pace, take a walk break if you feel like it, and/or pull out your phone and take that memorable photo of the magical sunrise, sunset or pasture you run by and share it with your friends.

Stress is really only what we make of it — and just running is one of life’s greatest pleasures, so go out and run and thank your lucky stars you can still do it.

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