Virtually Running Nowhere

The West Highland Way Race was my only race booked for 2020. I had been injured and needed something to keep me focused and to look forward to. I got the green light end of Jan to run the race from the physio, and by mid March I was starting to get close to pre- injury fitness. I bagged a week long holiday/family visit/training camp in Spain with several mountain days and squeezed a 32 mile run in just days before the country went into full  lockdown.

I kept running and training as the race was not cancelled, but as soon as it looked like it would be my motivation flat-lined and training tailed off. I have not run once in May and gained about 3kg in 2 months. I have also really been struggling with lethargy and feelings of despair and emptiness the past month. I miss going anywhere beyond my village the A roads around it, miss my McGowan family who, due to my work commitments with my job and WayOutside, I have not seen since October and miss my friends. I was particularly gutted when I realised I would not see my best friend during her pregnancy. However, I know how lucky I am, I have Max and a home, a garden, my family are well and safe and we have access to beautiful stunning views.

After I did not leave the house for 3 days and without my day job I may not have even got dressed, it became clear I needed to do something. Having the new freedom to go out more than once a day had helped massively. So I when I read about the Centurion Running #onecommunity virtual event I was sold. Not the 100 miler I was hoping to do, but this was perfect. Each runner has 7 days to complete their chosen distance with the clock starting with your first run and ending on your last to reach that distance. I am also really lucky to know some amazing and supportive female runners and athletes who have invited me to their WhatsApp group so we can support each other through the week.

So I planned my week, knowing that risk of injury will be high upping my volume like this after a month off alongside low activity in general and weight gain. The plan is to walk a lot of the miles and run/walk 2-3 times a day. I have also booked an annual leave day on Wednesday so I can get a 20 mile hike in and have a rest day Thursday. Unlike in England, I do not have a bank holiday tomorrow.

I had my plan down, all walking and super easy running. Then the West Highland Way Race organisers announced two days ago they have a virtual race too! This one is 95 mile in 9.5 days just 12 days after the centurion one ends. The key difference here is the clock stops between runs. This means running most the miles in 5k or 10k stints at pace is of benefit. Therefore, totally different running to the Centurion event. On top of this I cannot run 9 days straight, in fact I will probably need two rest days, plus its later in the lockdown so work patterns will be changing in unforeseeable ways. Also we will be allowed in the mountains again in a week and I cannot bare to miss a chance to go hillwalking to run flat pavement for a fast 10k so this will affect my weekend mile plans.

A lot to consider, but the key question, as always, is WHY AM I RUNNING?

  • I need an external stimulator to get me out of this low I am in
  • I want to get my fitness and confidence back so can enjoy the hills (and not embarrass myself at mountain rescue training)
  • be part of a community
  • be focussed again on me and what makes me feel good about myself


Goal 1 – Centurion Race

Screen Shot 2020-05-24 at 19.32.22

Goal 2 – WHWrace

Screen Shot 2020-05-24 at 19.36.42

In between these two events I need plan, I will dial back the volume, add in strength work and cross train on the bike as well as get some hill days in weather permitting.

For those interested here is my Centurion Running Plan. I have not made the WHWrace one yet.

Monday – 8 miles am, 3 mile walk lunch, 4 mile run pm.

Tuesday – 3mile walk lunch, 6 mile run pm

Wednesday – 20 mile hike

Thursday – 3 mile walk 

Friday – 11 mile am, 3 mile walk lunch, 4 mile run pm

Saturday – 15mile run/walk

Sunday – 20 miles walk





3 thoughts on “Virtually Running Nowhere

  1. mahailia says:

    Hi Stacey, Love your openess in your writing, and your level of self motivation. Really enjoyed reading.. I am not a runner, but a big believer in the importance of making the time to do what makes you feel good. thanks for sharing 🙂 xxx

    Liked by 2 people

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