“Hey Hanny, I’ve been following one of your training plans quite closely over the last 3 months or so... and had literally just finished my 5hr long run when news broke that my goal event, Run Larapinta, is not going ahead until May 2021. I am devastated and sore and feel so deflated ☹️ I wonder how I will pick myself up and motivate myself to start all over again with the same goal next year? I really want to do this, but I feel so frustrated at coming so close... I don’t know how I can get excited or motivated again when the dream has been crushed!?! 😭”
This message arrived in my inbox this morning and I felt strongly compelled to support all our Run Larapinta aspirants as they navigate the complex world of delayed events and ‘crushed dreams’. Here is my response to her…
The great news is that your toes were tingling, you were playing hard and the body was beginning to edge towards pre-race sparkles. Well done on getting oh-so-far! Then you checked your email… Run Larapinta is postponed until May 2021?! Damn! Bummer!
Whilst I hear your deflation and frustration, let’s try to see the positive in this, and I want to be here, right now, and say – not to worry! You can catch this curve ball with both hands and use the pause in your training game to be even more fighting fit for Event Day in May. So, here are my suggestions…
Hold onto the dream!Run Larapinta is a fabulous, stunningly beautiful event in a remote, remarkable region. It is worth every step of the journey to getting there. So, if the event made your toes tingle at the very beginning, return to there and remind yourself of why you signed up to it in the first place. But a word of caution… Your motivation needs to go far, far deeper than racing fever, filling in a void, giving you a goal to stay honest to or even weight loss. Yes, the goal needs to be about toe tingling adventures, stunning scenery or getting back to the adventurous creature you believe yourself to be. Make sure that there is a primal, feverish desire to grow and play wilder, as it is from here that you will be able to perform at your wildest.
Reflect on the journey to date…I would use this pause to look back on your journey to date and ask yourself, 'how can I make this even more joyful, healthful, sustainable and playful?' This will help to take the pressure off the event being the epitome of desire and rather shed a spotlight on the journey to getting there. So, on the journey so far, what did you love and where were your strengths? Then, what did you find challenging emotionally, physically, mentally or technically? Use these answers to highlight what you would like to focus on over the next 10 months or so.
Start with some R&RWe now have 10 months until event day. Wow, that is 10 months where you can consolidate all the great playfulness & preparation that you have started. This is 10 months of joy and an event to look forward to as Winter once again approaches! However, Covid-19 has been stressful for all of us. We are bombarded by news, our work thrown into disarray, and for many of us life has felt foreign and at times, busy-busy! So, let’s take 3-6 weeks starting today to grab some extra R&Rs. I can here you cringing from here – ‘Rest?!’ Yes, resting will help fill the energy & mojo tank back up. Be open to how long this may take. For some it will take 3 weeks, for others 6 may be more optimal. Here is what I suggest these 3-6 weeks might look like – please keep it playful & rejuvenating!
Weeks 1 & 2
MON - Yoga, walk or easy non-weight bearing cross-training
TUES - Easy run <60mins plus 15mins core strength work
WED - Rest
THURS - Gentle jog with some yoga or 30mins core strength work
FRI - Longer walk
SAT - Longer Run <90mins
SUN - Rest
MON - Yoga or walk
TUES - Jog <45mins
WED - Rest, walk or yoga
THURS - Easy run <60mins
FRI - Rest
SAT - Mission – up to 4hrs in length & make it mighty joyful!
SUN - Rest (tomorrow you will return to training)
Set an interim goalI agree that 10 months is a long time to stay focussed on one goal. Therefore, what could be a mission, adventure, escape or other goal that you can also chew on in the next 4-6 months? What might help you grow stronger and more confident for Run Larapinta in May next year? This might be another race but I would urge you to think broader than this! Maybe it is a mission to somewhere you have always wanted to go? Or perhaps you might like to join us on a Find Your Feet Tour to Tasmania, running wilder on beaches or in the mountains for 4-days? Whatever it is, it must make you feel like you have been covered in sparkle dust!
Return to Base Training mode
Following these 3-6 weeks of recuperation, and no matter how fit and strong you are feeling, I strongly encourage you to return to Base Training mode for a month or two. That is, focus on consolidating your aerobic development through:
All of this training can be done solo and from your home. The added beauty of this is that no matter how great your base fitness is, it can always be refined and enhanced. Any opportunity you get to return and consolidate your aerobic fitness is a godsend! Consider this, an Olympic athlete takes 4 years to prepare for their event at the Olympic Games!
I write more about aerobic base training ideas in my Trail Running Guidebook. You will also find that returning to the very beginning of one of my Trail Running Training Planners is not stepping backwards, but rather adding to the process of consolidation.
Return to your training
You will be oh-so ready to return to training following these 12 or so weeks of R&R followed by consolidation of your Base Training! If you need a specific outline for your training, I suggest you return to week 1 of my Run Larapinta Trail Running Training Programs that many of you are already following to guide your Run Larapinta Event preparations. Don’t forget you can download these for FREE using the discount code: RUNWILDERLARAPINTA
Training isn’t everything!
It is without a doubt that we want to be as prepared as we can for the Run Larapinta Events. But this doesn’t mean training more and more and more. It is especially important to recognise that we live in turbulent times, filled with uncertainty and plenty of hidden stressors, both good and those that are not-so-good. So here are some further suggestions that I have for you.
Find quietness and playfulness amongst the ‘outside’ noise
We are living in such a news-filled, social media-fuelled frenzy right now. But unless you have actually been ordered to quarantine I strongly suggest you keep finding quietness and playfulness outdoors. I personally suggest doing this early in the morning, when the day is at its most calm. Afterwards you will be ready to tackle anything that is thrown at you in the day! Here is what I suggest:
Still go for Missions!
Despite what I just said, be prepared to adapt the training to suit your humanness. If the world gets too fast-paced or you are simply just needing some out time… then do it! However, don’t miss out on the greatest joy of all – the Mission! If you need to get some extra rest & recuperation then do this in a way that helps you fill up your energy tank for the missions every 3 weeks. You may even want to incorporate a few extra shorter Missions to help you stay sane. Head out alone or with a friend. If you are alone this is either a time to enjoy the tranquillity or listen to podcasts, such as my Find Your Feet Podcast. If you are heading out solo, perhaps consider investing in a Garmin InReach Mini like I have been using on my own solo missions. If you are interested in this great safety device you can discuss this with me or my Team at Find Your Feet.
Maintain your strength at home
Whilst most gyms have reopened around Australia, in Victoria our friends are copping the full force of another lock down. Not having access to a gym does not mean we need to lose our strength. In fact, if you are going to increase your running and walking loads as race day nears, it will be important to ensure these muscles are fully activated and strengthened to cope. Here are some of the exercises that I utilise into a 15-20min circuit. I love to do this workout prior to my morning harder or longer runs (ie. 2-3 days per week). You will need to pick 4-6 exercises from the list below and combine into a circuit (one to the next to the next…). I repeat the circuit 3 times or to fatigue.
Use walking or cycling as your cross-training
If you need to recharge but you want some fresh air and movement then there is honestly nothing better than a solid, long walk or bike ride for cross-training. So, grab your walking shoes or dust off your bike and find solitude in these activities on your easy days (or at the end of your hard day as an unwind activity after work).
There are so, so many YouTube options for doing yoga at home. I love to do a short 20-30min yoga workout in an evening, or even in the middle of the night if I am too awake and cannot sleep. I would start finding your favourite workouts on YouTube. I am also loving @Aaron Schultz Yoga on Facebook
Mindfulness & Meditation
I am not the individual who can crawl out of bed and sit still straight away. For me, the mornings are for playfulness and movement. However, I still fully believe in the importance of meditation, especially in these times of such chaotic news messages. I have a few methods that I utilise:
In real lockdown? You can run on a treadmill
Yes, it might be unpleasant but you can absolutely still exercise on a treadmill if you have one. I personally always put a treadmill at an incline of >2% and begin slowly until my core muscles begin to activate. Aim for sessions that are shorter in duration but higher in quality, such as your tempo runs or longer aerobic intervals. I write more about aerobic training ideas in my Trail Running Guidebook.
Get yourself equipped for winter & solo running
Here are the items that I personally use for my winter running and personal safety, especially on the longer missions. It is also important to keep in mind that by May the Larapinta Trail region will be approaching winter and the mornings could be quite nippy!
If you need any further assistance, I am here to help! Visit my website for lots of inspiration, tips, advice and my training planners: www.hannyallston.com.au
If you need further advice with your equipment or apparel for winter, my Team at Find Your Feet would love to help –www.findyourfeet.com.au All athletes in the Run Larapinta events receive a 20% discount at my Find Your Feet stores by using the Discount Code: RUNLARAPINTA2020
Finally, I also thank you for your support during this challenging time! It is now that we need to support one another even more.
Keep striving to play wilder. I look forward to meeting you all at the Run Larapinta events in May 2021!
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