Gill Bland, whilst longing for some real world results, runs through the runners ‘A-Z of lockdown’


Actual Races

Oh for the days when we spent our earnings on entries to races so that we could stand in a queue for the loo, stand shivering in a starting pen, curse the people in front of us for slowing us down, curse ourselves for going out too fast, cross the line and curse ourselves for not pushing harder, say it was “just one of those days”, swear never to do it again and then sign up for the next one that night.


There’s not enough jeopardy in our lives at the moment. Obviously there’s the chance that we might catch a world-crushing virus when we step out the door but that’s just not the same as a 5k is it? Where’s the adrenaline? We’re so bored.


We will NOT search instagram/strava/twitter to see how other athletes are coping and then constantly wonder if we should be crushing virtual races or taking quality recovery time or getting in touch with our inner motivation more.


We’ve never done enough drills. Now is the time we will work on our running drill and form. We will never miss out on pre-run drills because we’re sneaking out on a run in our work-from-home lunchbreak and realised just after we got changed that we had a meeting sooner than we thought and have to get those 8 miles in if we’re going to hit our target for the week. No, never.


Why is everything so hard? No seriously? Why?
Also, we will use this time to learn to run to effort and not be a slave to pace on our watches. Ok, we’ll use the next run to do that – we just need to try and hit pace on this run.

Foam Roller (See also Drills)

We will foam roller EVERY NIGHT because let’s face it, we’ve got nowhere better to be. We’ll do it just after we’ve fed our sourdough starter and watched the next episode of Normal People. It’s quite late now though and the science isn’t exactly there (at all there) so maybe we’ll stick to static stretching instead. Or was that dynamic stretching?


We had them. Once.

Hugh Brasher

The man who holds 30+ thousand hopes and dreams in his hands


Where we go to look at other runner’s running routes and wish we lived somewhere more picturesque / flatter / with more hills / near a track.


View this post on Instagram


Today’s @teamrunderwear #60daychallenge (x3).. Because nothing says ‘excercise’ like slipper socks 🙈

A post shared by Gill Bland 👟Bland On The Run (@blandontherun) on


We love how many new joggers, eh-hem, runners there are out there these days.


When we used to race in real life we had something called a kick, now it’s that acceleration you put in when you round a corner and see dog walker rapidly approaching your 2 metre boundary.


The upside of only racing against yourself is that you can’t lose. Unless you bother to check the leaderboards of course, but then obviously they had better conditions and a slight downhill.

Mood Swings

You know what, this is actually really good for our running. We’ve got time to work on things we’d normally neglect and no pressure of racing. Yes, this is great because we’ve finally got time to really re-connect with our love of running. What’s the point though, there’s nothing to aim for and we can’t have any club camaraderie and the world is coming crashing down so what’s the point of training at all.


Now that we have to do all our grocery shopping online and can’t just be nipping to the shop, this is a great time to get to grips with our nutrition. We can even meal-plan so that we have the right fuelling balance for our training and not be tempted by those office snacks. Of course it has been a particularly hard week and it’s important to have balance so let’s just add that tub of icecream to the order. Oh and Jo Pavey has said she used to have a glass of wine with dinner even at peak volume so that’s ok. Those cans of craft beer will make excellent dumb bells too.

Online shopping

It’s important that we keep the economy moving and that discount code that came through on the email this morning isn’t going to be around forever so we should probably order those shorts now. Motivation is hard at the moment and a new running vest would really help get us out of the door. Now that we’re mixing it up and focussing on short sharp speed sessions instead of the marathon-build up we should probably invest in some more lightweight shoes. If we’re going to make the most of this situation (see abs, core, drills) then we need the right tools so we should probably order those kettle bells before they sell out again.


All over the place. One minute we’re running massive PBs in virtual races and the next minute we need three strong coffees before our previously ‘easy’ pace actually feels like anything better than threshold.

Quality time

With no racing we can spend more quality time with our family. We may even run with them. Oh how we miss racing.

Rest days

Same old problem, different reason. We know we should take rest days but we’ll take one tomorrow. When we were training hard we didn’t want to lose momentum so we just kept going. Now we can’t bear the thought of being cooped up all day so we’ll just go for a little run.

Social distance sandbagging

J: “Yeah let’s meet for a run, we’ll keep two meters apart”, S: “oh well that won’t be a problem, I’m so slow I’ll never manage to get within two meters of you”. J then spends the whole run being chased down by S and having to bust a gut to stay the required distance ahead. Names have been changed to protect runner’s identity


After seeing countless runners sweating their faces off on Instagram we couldn’t think of anything we wanted more. Then the one-a-day limit was lifted and now that turbo is making an excellent doorstop.


These are unprecedented times. Just in case you hadn’t noticed.

Virtual Vertical K

If you run up and down your stairs X times you’ll be able to complete a virtual K. You won’t miss Chamonix nearly as much, you’ll have quads of steel and your neighbours will hate you.

Work From Home

If we have our work phone on us while we’re out running then technically we’re at our desks, yes? Note to my boss if you’re reading this – I am at my desk 9-5 every day and strict about only having an hour for lunch. I may have jumped straight off the treadmill into a meeting but it’s not smell-o-vision so that’s perfectly acceptable.

eXtra races (you try finding a good word starting with X)

With all this virtual racing on offer what’s wrong with doing a 5k on Friday and a 10k on Saturday and a relay on Sunday? It’s not the same as if they were real ones.

Your Why

This is the time to re-learn how not to be driven by external validation and discover our “why”. We will remember why we first started running, we will find internal motivation and connect with the true joy and purity of running just for itself and we will…..wonder what Hugh Brasher is going to say in his next announcement.


See you in Central Park?

Are you a fan of Fast Running? Then please support us and become a patron. For as little as the price of a monthly magazine you can support Fast Running – and it only takes a minute. Thank you.