Running training: 10 tips on how to stay motivated if your race gets cancelled (and it will be)

Don't give up your running training just just because your race was cancelled: here are 10 tips that will keep you going

Running training: how to stay motivated
(Image credit: Getty Images)

"We have decided to postpone your race until 2021." Does this look familiar? Despite physical activity being promoted by governments, mass participation events, such as the coveted London Marathon, are still being either cancelled or postponed until further notice. Finding the motivation to keep on training might not be easy for everyone but the below tips might help.

Strap on the best running watch or the best heart rate monitor, put on the best running shoes and get ready to power through your running training with lululemon ambassador Louis Walcott. Louis is a personal trainer from London who also happens to be a nutritional coach and knows his running training pretty well too. Here are his tips on how to stay motivated if your running race gets cancelled.

A post shared by Louis Walcott- PT| LDN📍Online🌍 (@louiswalcott)

A photo posted by on on Aug 16, 2019 at 10:29am PDT

1. Create your own challenge

Just because your race is cancelled, no one is stopping you challenging yourself over your original racing distance. If you’ve trained towards a cancelled 5K race, getting out there and running on the same day and, in some cases, even the same course as your original race may release those feelings of frustration and give you something to train for. 

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2. Redefine your goals

With races being called off, it’s important to reconsider what you’re now working towards. The goal posts have changed, and you now need to show your resilience and adaptability in carving out new goals that can motivate you moving forward.  

Running training: how to stay motivated

(Image credit: Getty Images)

3. Stick to a programme

If a racing training programme has kept you motivated up until now, sticking to that programme or a modified version will keep you training with intention and purpose, all of which will improve motivation. The race may not be on, but there is no reason why you can’t throw your kit on and show up to the session anyway. 

4. Find your tribe

Racing alongside other athletes is an exhilarating experience and plays a big part in why we do what we do. It may not be on a busy start line, but we can still harness that sense of connection and togetherness by teaming up with some friends. Set a group target and check-in with each other’s progress online.

Alternatively, join an online running club such as Cardio Collective to keep you accountable alongside a community. The running community has such a strong spirit and sense of loyalty, as is seen from the number of runners that have deferred their race entry, they have not lost sight of the goal in mind. This shows that despite such uncertain times, perseverance and determination can be found so long as we stick together. 

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5. Routine

Whether you’re an early-bird or a night owl, sticking to your original training routine as much as possible will allow you to keep the momentum going and limit any dips in motivation. As humans, change is often challenging for us to process. Controlling what we can, such as our fitness routine, is a great way to stay on track.

Running training: how to stay motivated

(Image credit: Getty Images)

6. Know your ‘why’

Strip back your reason behind entering your race to establish your core values and intentions. Often, it’s less about the race and more about how we want to feel and be. We can use this ‘why’ as our guiding principle; a promise to yourself that you will hold true whenever motivation dips.  

7. Just start moving

Sometimes, finding motivation is a case of just starting. On those days where motivation feels low, we can rely on discipline to get us into our gym kit. Once we’re dressed and warmed up, often motivation naturally comes to us. Sometimes however, motivation will still elude us even part way through our session. But this is where knowing our ‘why’ and having our goals in place is so important.

8. Think long term

Training for life, for health, happiness and fulfilment is an excellent long-term strategy. No race cancellation can interrupt an overarching goal if we are thinking long term. The ebb and flow of life is one that presents obstacles and challenges, but if we have our long term goals figured out, then no matter what life throws at us, we can find the motivation to overcome. 

Running training: how to stay motivated

(Image credit: On Running)

9. Get the vibe right

Stimulate your senses and heighten your running experience by consuming things that spark that fire in you. I don't just mean consumption in terms of what you're eating, but what you see on your run (forests, parks, rivers or the city), and what you're listening to whilst running. Is your playlist upbeat or chill, is your guided run motivational or your podcast informative? Some days we need a bit of something different to fulfil our intended goal of that session. 

10. Recover, reflect and realise your full potential

It’s easy to get in from a tough training session and head straight for the shower. But the moments and days following your training are key in resetting both mind and body. Having a training diary at hand is a great way to track progress and jot down any thoughts and feelings.

Equally, taking yourself through a cool down and mobilising on rest days will do wonders for your mindset and performance. If you invest wholeheartedly in your wellbeing, including prioritising rest and recovery, the motivation to realise your full potential will flow naturally.

Matt Kollat
Section Editor | Active

Matt Kollat is a journalist and content creator who works for and its magazine counterpart as an Active Editor. His areas of expertise include wearables, drones, fitness equipment, nutrition and outdoor gear. He joined T3 in 2019. His byline appears in several publications, including Techradar and Fit&Well, and more. Matt also collaborated with other content creators (e.g. Garage Gym Reviews) and judged many awards, such as the European Specialist Sports Nutrition Alliance's ESSNawards. When he isn't working out, running or cycling, you'll find him roaming the countryside and trying out new podcasting and content creation equipment.