What to Do When Your Race Is Cancelled (or Postponed)

The latest in a pretty big list of races to be cancelled is the Boston Marathon. Well, technically, it’s been postponed to September 14, 2020, but a lot of other races are off the table, period. Everything from small local races to major marathons are being shut down to keep everyone safe from coronavirus, and it’s frustrating, to be sure. Here’s what you can do to minimize the sting if your race is cancelled.

What to do when your race is cancelled (other than eating a whole jar of queso)

Feel Angry or Disappointed

It’s totally okay to get mad or feel bummed out that your race is cancelled. It stinks, and it’s hard to be magnanimous and think of the greater good when all you can think about are the entry fees, the training, and possible travel arrangements that you now need to cancel. (Feel free to ask me privately what’s happening with United Airlines, which is refusing to refund my airfare.) So yeah, don’t feel guilty about being angry or sad. Do something nice for yourself.

Mug of coffee
Like drink a big latte. That always make me smile.

Keep Training When Your Race Is Cancelled

If your race is postponed, you’ll be able to adjust your training schedule for it. If your race is cancelled, don’t stop training! Stay in shape; keep running and working out. Use this time to focus on form and technique, do extra form drills, or build strength. You don’t have to stick to a training plan or be nearly as intense as you would be if you were training for an upcoming event, but you do want to have a good level of fitness and mileage base for when you do start training again for a race.

Try Something New

Since you’re not head down in a training plan, this is the perfect time to try a new fitness class or workout. Check out a CrossFit gym, go to a spin class, or test out a barbell workout. Experiment with different types of cross training or strength training. You might find something that you really love to throw into the mix.

Ride a stationary bike and listen to a podcast.

Check for a Virtual Option

Some cancelled races are giving registered participants the option of running a virtual race instead. You get your medal and your t-shirt (or other swag), and you can run on a course of your choosing. Take that option, and if you were planning to run the race with some friends, meet up at a favorite running spot and hit the road or trails together.

Look to the Fall

If your race is cancelled with no chance of postponement, start looking at fall races and plan out your fall/winter season. Maybe there’s a race you don’t normally do, or a race you love that you want to do again. I’m in “wait and see” mode to watch what happens with the world over the next few weeks, but I’m also eyeballing some fall races (Route 66, I’m looking at you.)

Dreaming of fall races and crisp temperatures already…

Have Fun!

Remember why you started running. For me, it was to relieve stress and stay fit and healthy. It’s counterproductive to stress about races I won’t be able to run, so instead, I’m going to enjoy my runs. I’m going to explore a new spur of the multi-use trail and spend some time on some new routes. Maybe I’ll stop and take pictures of swans in the retention ponds or wildflowers growing beside the path. Running is fun. Don’t forget that in all the craziness.

And stay healthy, y’all!