Letting go of event goals during Covid-19

Leanne Fullwood, 32, a critical care nurse from Birmingham explains how she has coped with letting go of training and endurance fitness during Covid-19

I’ve been a runner since university and a triathlete for five years, having done a full Ironman in 2018 and seven half distance triathlons of 70.3 distances. I love it but juggling three sports, rather than just running is tricky at the best of times.

Leanne finishing Ironman Austria in 2018

With the restrictions on exercise during Covid-19, adding to my role in nursing, I’ve had to learn to adapt and let go of worrying about loss of fitness and the disappointment of not doing some of the awesome events I had planned, including three half Ironman distance events, and the Great Birmingham Run (Half Marathon).

If Covid-19 has taught me anything, it is a stark reminder to appreciate why we train and do these events in the first place.

I train because I can

As a critical care nurse, I care for patients and families who are going through one of the most traumatic events anyone can experience.

On my days off, even when I’m struggling for motivation, I remind myself how truly lucky I am that I can run when so many can’t. In day to day training and during Covid, that puts me at my front door, trainers on, dog, Alfie by my side and away we go.

In light of the social distancing restrictions, I felt lucky to be afforded one form of exercise per day when other countries banned this entirely. And I reminded myself every day that running is not just for achievement in races but for health, fitness and for mental wellbeing. 

Leanne with husband Mark and dog, Alfie!

We do it for fun

Lots of people have got anxious about restrictions on training during Covid, and how that will impact on their fitness, training goals and race plans.

I understand; everyone is motivated in different ways and I’ve had cycles of being so regimented in my training routines that any disruption seems to throw my world into disarray. But we must remember that we do this for FUN.

I changed my running during the COVID restrictions, to centre around exercise for me and the dog, and limited it to 30-40 minutes. I still got a quality session in during that time (hill sprints anyone?) without feeling any pressure to keep up with a half marathon training plan. And I explored new running routes from our house, discovering amazing routes and parks we never knew about.

I am painfully aware that there are bigger issues in the world right now and I’ve relished a break from the pressure of keeping up with a set plan and working towards a race or event.

Developing self care

Despite the benefit I know it has for me, I am an absolute swine for neglecting strength and conditioning and yoga.

Whilst being confined to the house on my days off, I’ve run out of the million things I prioritise above this so I’m making time to get into a routine of yoga and strength and conditioning. And I bake!

Check out Leanne’s instagram @swim_bake_run for some baking inspiration, including a great recipe for Cherry Chocolate Baked Oatmeal.

To improve your training, try Girls Run the World Build a Stronger Body programme or Daily Dose of Yoga, a 28 day programme of 10 minute yoga stretches. Or join us for Live Zoom workouts including Tri Fit on Friday mornings.

Your tri event has been cancelled? Sign up for Girls Run the World Virtual Triathlon series.