These are very strange times we are currently living in. We have all had to adapt to a different way of life and quickly. The things we considered to be normal and routine, things we didn’t even give a second thought about suddenly become things that are temporarily removed or changed in our lives.
I, like most, grumble a bit when change is suggested – it removes the normal and I question whether it is really a better way of doing things. Personally, I have had to adapt very quickly to the changes we have had to make. I can be a bit of a stickler for routine as well. So a new routine it was then.
Most of the races I had planned to do this year look like they are going to be cancelled or postponed. I didn’t see that as an excuse for not training though. We started the social distancing on Monday 23rd March, I started a new training schedule then. This was to get me into a routine where I’ve got something to focus on whilst working from home.
I’m still running and it is good to get out and do that still. The roads are much emptier and with fewer people about. It feels really strange running through places that are normally busy but are now deserted. I’m still doing sessions on the bike trainer as well.
I haven’t really been working to a plan other than being consistent and getting fitter – I didn’t really start with any goals or targets in mind if I’m being honest and that in itself has been strange. I’ve been clocking up the hours on the bike trainer and ticking off the miles whilst out running. I’m just coming to the end of my first 4 week block of training – I completed 22 sessions in 22 days which I was really pleased about.
At the beginning of the week I found a virtual challenge website which looked really interesting and after investigating further I decided to sign up to it. Some of the challenges looked pretty good on the site – you can clock up the distance by walking, cycling or running – cool. Never to do one by half measures I decided to sign up to do a virtual run of the Appalachian Trail in America. The total distance is 1,968 miles!!!!! That is the equivalent of running 75 marathons!!!! So every time I head out for a run now, I come back and enter my mileage onto the site and it moves me slowly but surely along the route on the map!!!! I’ve logged my miles from Saturday 4th April and have already completed a distance equivalent of 1 marathon – OK, 1 down, 74 to go – progress in the right direction. Wow! I have a target to work towards with my training which is fantastic. It is also keeping me focused and my motivation up now. Why the Appalachian Trail though? There were other routes on the site that I could have covered ‘virtually’ such as Lands End to John O’Groats, The Inca Trail, Hadrian's Wall, and Route 66.
Having an interest in ultra-endurance events the Appalachian Trail has been a course used by ultra-runners looking who can cover the distance the quickest. The record currently stands at a staggering 41 days!!!! I just thought it would be an interesting challenge to take on, I’m not looking to set any records, it is just to give me some focus and a target to aim for.
In these unprecedented times I think it is really important for our well-being to have things to focus on no matter how big or small. Set yourself a goal or a target and have fun doing.
Stay safe everyone.
Richard Guy, 47 years of age, born and grew up in London and have lived in Portsmouth since 2017.