Switching your focus
Athletics Weekly|March 26, 2020
FIVE-TIME OLYMPIAN JO PAVEY TELLS EUAN CRUMLEY WHY IT IS IMPORTANT TO FIND YOUR ADAPTABILITY IN TIMES OF UNCERTAINTY
EUAN CRUMLEY

THE coronavirus pandemic has affected every single aspect of our daily lives – and it’s no different for athletes. The last time Jo Pavey can remember anything vaguely close to this was the foot and mouth outbreak of 2001, during which the closure of places such as Bushy Park and Richmond Park merely made life a little uncomfortable for those training in London.

The current situation is on a scale which no-one has seen before, of course, and rarely has the 2014 European 10,000m champion felt more fortunate to live in rural Devon, surrounded by space and room to run – for as long as government measures allow, at least.

Yet, like anyone who had a training plan in mind this year, Pavey is having to think again. Her bid to reach a sixth Olympics is now on hold, while a more immediate goal had been the Antrim Coast Half Marathon which was due to take place on March 21.

It has since been rescheduled to mid-September and has provided at least something of a foundation around which to build a long-term plan. In the middle of constant uncertainty there is something resembling an anchor point and a new focus.

It is the ability to find flexibility and quickly switch focus towards new goals, says the 46-year-old, which is likely to be of greatest use during this time when so many people are looking for clarity, as well as a reason to keep on training.

It’s why Pavey believes that those who have had their spring marathon aspirations pushed back to the autumn are, in fact, the lucky ones.

“We’ve all got to replan and make new goals,” she says. “A lot of events I was excited to be involved with have all been postponed or cancelled but we’ve all got to face these challenges.

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