The world 50km record-holder and coach on why training will not go to waste despite a lack of racing opportunities due to the Covid-19 outbreak

Some of Britain’s top athletes are sharing insight into how they are coping during the coronavirus outbreak, which continues to cause great uncertainty and disruption to training and competition. Here world 50km record-holder and coach Aly Dixon talks about her own situation and shares some advice for athletes in a similar position.

“The training is banked and gaining interest, waiting to be cashed in at a later date”

“I have not been majorly affected so far,” says Dixon, who ran in the elite-only Tokyo Marathon at the beginning of the month before the Thirsk 10-mile race last weekend.

“I didn’t have any training camps planned and I was lucky that I got to run my marathon, even if it did go really bad. Things then escalated quickly but I managed to get a race in on Sunday.

“I have had a few races cancelled but nothing important and I plan to use the next few weeks to just tick over in training, probably about 50% volume, mainly low intensity. After a winter of hard training, that won’t do me any harm. In fact, I’ll probably be fresher come the summer and the start of autumn marathon training.”

It’s not a waste of training

“My advice to those who have had goal races cancelled or postponed is to not look at it as a waste of training,” adds the Olympic marathoner. “I’ve told those that I coach to take a few days off as most were quite emotional, which is understandable. But then look at things with a fresh mind during this week.

“The biggest mistake people can now make is to try and continue on with the hard training without taking a rest. I’ve advised them to treat this next two weeks as either a taper period or as if they’ve run their marathon.

“Take a step back and take it easy, we’re not going to be racing for a while now anyway!

“The training is banked and gaining interest, waiting to be cashed in at a later date. Most are fitter, faster, stronger than when they started and the couple who have niggles now have a perfect opportunity to get those fixed.”

A waiting game

“I’ve got many friends that are in limbo, not knowing what is going to happen with races and especially the Olympics,” Dixon says. “Personally I can’t see them going ahead as planned.

“The first three Diamond League meetings have been postponed and the early season USA track meets have been cancelled, so athletes are struggling with qualifying opportunities.”

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