Reading Time:

  • 7 minutes

Main points

  • Personal impacts of COVID 19
  • Adaptations to my Marathon Training
  • My Marathon Motivation

Liam Walker is a GB triathlete who - until a few weeks ago, was gearing up his training to the Manchester Marathon. Instead of his planned piece on adapting your training in the lead up to a big event, he writes for KYMIRA on dealing with the disappointment of a changing deadline and the positives in cancellations.

So, the Coronavirus, it’s kept us indoors and as given us new phrases such as self-isolation, social-distancing and family time (ok I joke on the last one). 

We all have a strong part to play in limiting the impact of the virus and protecting our communities up and down the country. As such my day to day training has changed dramatically – even ignoring that my Marathon goal has moved  

This was supposed to be a block on my Manchester Marathon training preparations on April 5th and honestly with the current situation I haven't even thought about the delayed Manchester Marathon, because it seems completely irrelevant at this moment in time. We are very lucky in the UK and I believe we are in a privileged position to still have access to outdoor exercise once a day. 

Marathon Preparations:  

My preparations had been going extremely well. I was getting into great night mileage and recorded a half marathon PB of 1-hour 11 minutes and 43 seconds in wet conditions - albeit calm and surprisingly not windy unless you have been living under a rock during this winter you’ll know that has not been the norm. 

A couple of weeks ago I trapped a nerve in my hip which had to be rested, upon returning to training it resurfaced, affecting my ability to walk. Fortunately, I was able to hop on a bike and after pretty much 3 months of not cycling I’m largely back to where I was. 

Because of this I took the opportunity to increase my cycling base fitness early and introduce running at a later stage. As no competitions are likely this year (I don’t personally believe that the Manchester marathon will go ahead in October) I have decided not to have a particular set plan of training over the next couple of months, I’m planning to use the time to enjoy being outdoors. My plan therefore is to get my base fitness in place with some good mileage and intensity sessions, using Strava segments as the basis of my interval training which has absolutely nothing to do with my competitive nature 

As a self-coached athlete, I believe it is completely necessary and important to switch off for a while like you would during the off-season. It gives you time to switch focus to the little things you’ve been putting off whilst appreciating life in a different way. This being said I stepped back on the time trial bike (mainly as the day was beautiful) this week and pretty much obliterated many personal records (even against a slight headwind) – the rest can be beneficial!  

This has also been the same more recently whilst feeling rather tired, I have been able to surpass PB's, record KOM's even in crosswind conditions (even against some incredible cyclists). Hilly long distance running with intervals directly transfers over to cycling very well, it’s great not to have lost any cycling performance while specialising for running! 

Being able to put in the miles on the bike has meant my hip has had time to recover without much impact on my training, I am reluctant to run on this for at least another week (I'm certainly keeping fit cycling and no longer have a deadline to work to).It would have undoubtedly impacted upon on my time my target time for Manchester Marathon, but I would have still been on the start line and even if I had to limp to the finish line! 


Even though I am immensely competitive my reasons for doing Manchester marathon were bigger than personal goals and hitting target times. My Grandad Brian passed away due to Terminal liver cancer last November after a short battle with the illness. This was utterly heart breaking and I had no idea his condition would deteriorate so quickly given he was fit and healthy - still cycling at a late stage. Manchester marathon was part of the fundraising events I had planned this year which I now need to adapt and will continue into next year.  

It is situations like these which really put the government’s instructions to self-isolate in proportion. Health really is so fragile and can be taken from us at any moment and should never be taken for granted.  

Yes, my training plans race season has been completely derailed; but that is the last thing on my mind at the moment, as I continue to run or cycle once per day. If we all stick to the government guidelines we will hopefully return to normality sooner rather than later! 

March 30, 2020 — Liam Walker

Leave a comment

Please note: comments must be approved before they are published.