Running Motivation: How To Get Your Mojo Back During Coronavirus

Are you a runner who has had your spring race cancelled or delayed and you are struggling to get your running mojo back?  In this episode we are talking about how to run and train safely during this COVID-19 crisis with our Special Guest, Steve Carmichael who is founder of Runbuzz Pacebuilders online run coaching and running community as well as the host of the Runbuzz podcast.

In this episode within the Healthy Runner Facebook Group, Steve shares running tips for the following questions:


1. What are some things runners can or should be doing to continue to train in a safe manner?


2. What are some things runners can work on if their race has been cancelled or delayed? How can runners adjust to the situation we find ourselves in?


3. How can we stay motivated to run when many of us find so much disruption in our lives from being physically isolated or job loss.



Click the video below to watch the LIVE interview with Steve within the Healthy Runner Facebook Group


You can also listen to the audio version of the Q&A I had with Steve Carmichael on the Healthy Runner Podcast…now available on your favorite podcast app!



Here is what other runners are saying about the podcast



Here is what Steve Carmichael from RunBuzz had to say about the following questions:





1. What are some things runners can or should be doing to continue to train in a safe manner?


Don’t be driven by fear, just be smart.


There is a myth that runners can’t be impacted by this because we are healthy but  I personally know someone here in Ohio who was hospitalized for 6 days, 2 in intensive care. She is 41, a runner and had no known previous high risk factors. We are generally more healthy (as an overall community) and are in a lot better position than most, but don’t have a false sense of security thinking you are invincible either.  She in fine now, but she has been running for 8-9 years and took fitness classes. I think for most of us, I would like to think we would get milder form but runners do come from all kinds of backgrounds and fitness levels so it is best to be safe.



I think there is a lot of debate around ‘social-distancing’ when running.  I think this could be something to address. For example, is 6 ft enough?  There is no real known answer but 6 feet is definitely the minimum we keep hearing. There is that Belgium study that says 6 feet is not enough due to a runner’s slipstream, but from my understanding it is not a peer-reviewed study and only a computer simulation. I think it makes sense though. I personally do not feel 6 feet is enough, but that is only opinion on my part.



Are there opportunities to avoid crowded running trails for your training?  Yes, you can run in neighborhoods and take up trail running so maintain social distances while you train to run!


One aspect of running safely, is taking care of your immune system.  Runners should be aware that too much running may negatively impact their immune system. We know running can boost it, but there is evidence showing that it can weaken it at higher distances or when over-training.  I don’t have a specific answer since I am not an expert on immune systems, but I am advising people to stay at low/moderate distances in the near term to be safe and I am closely watching those runners I work with to ensure they aren’t over training.



2. What are some things runners can work on if their race has been cancelled or delayed? How can runners adjust to the situation we find ourselves in?


Making adjustments to your training goals as a runner is important during these uncertain times. I think now is the PERFECT time to take a break from races and work on other areas that you may be weak in as a runner. In fact, other than the monetary losses of losing race fees, I have actually embraced this time as an opportunity to work on areas that I am weak in. Here are a couple of areas you can focus on as a runner that you may have been ignoring during the “normal” race season.


Strength Training (especially home workouts)


Core and quad isolation exercise for runners


Strength TRAIN to run instead of running as your form of training or exercise.  Have you been frustrated in the past that you’ve taken up running or you started a new training cycle and you just get injured and had to stop?  Check out this previous blog & podcast episode in which we talk about how to strengthen your muscles to train, to run!  Click THIS LINK.



Just Because You’re Home…Doesn’t Mean You Can’t Workout
This is how SPARK Physical Therapy is helping our running community out during these difficult times. We get after it every Monday,Wednesday, and Friday at 6AM (different exercise program each day of the week)

For the 20 community members in our SPARK Fitness program they are able to catch the replay and get their real-time workout either during a lunch break or after work so they can feel stronger and healthier as a runner for less than $3 a workout

into our community for the month of May…only if you want to continue moving forward with your health goals for 2020 (even during a global pandemic)

TEXT “SPARK FITNESS” to (203) 376-6514 for availability. Spots are limited, get yours before they ‍♀️ away!  For more information on the program CLICK HERE.


Speed Training



This is best done when you are NOT race actually!   This will allow you to work on pace without having the pressure of building distance for a race at the same time.  For more in depth information on training healthy as a runner check out the 5th principle of the SPARK Blueprint by clicking THIS LINK for the blog article on training smart with proper progression.


Another tip for running mindset is to avoid the ‘race’ only mentality –  I think for many runners, we fall into the “race is all we train for” mentality. We get caught up in running to race. I like racing too, but it is not my WHY when it comes to running.  Racing for me is the reward. Training is the journey. I feel some runners race too much and then wonder why they never get better. When we always train for races, we often are trying to get faster at the same time we are trying to run further.  Training both at the same time can work very early on in your running, but over time, the training effect gets diluted.  Use this as an opportunity to get better in one area and you will see a bigger outcome in that one area of your running when we CAN go back to running races. Because if running for you is ONLY about the race, or running races… Then I think you will be frustrated for awhile.  If you are into racing, or need those medals, then virtual races can be a nice option right now.


Get Over Your Nagging Injuries


Working on calf mobility to heal foot and ankle pain


This does NOT usually mean stopping running.  To find more about recovering from nagging running injuries click THIS LINK  for a previous blog article on this topic.


3. How can we stay motivated to run when many of us find so much disruption in our lives from being physically isolated or job loss.



Have patience,  have grace with yourself. Slow down and enjoy the quiet time we have right now in some areas of our life.  Watch some running documentaries on Netflix or Amazon, or even YouTube, listen to podcasts on running or nutrition, or strength training.  When you immerse yourself into something, you will slowly change your brain to think/act on those things. There is a thread in the RunBuzz community Facebook Group right now actually that has a ton of suggestions from our community members. Maybe start a thread like that if one doesn’t exist already in the Healthy Runner Facebook Group. Manage stress to the best of our ability.  These are uncertain times, but stress wears us out and kills willpower. Running will help with that if you can just get moving. Even if you don’t feel like a run, go walk.



Seek out accountability partners or seek coaching – something external to you.  If you are fortunate to have a job right now,  shift the money you would normally spend on race fees to coaching. Being accountable to someone whether that is a coach or a friend can do amazing things for staying motivated (or at least following through on workouts because, let’s face it, not everyone is always motivated)


Turn your mindset from something we can’t control to something we can. We can’t control what is happening right now, but we are IN CONTROL. Maybe is starts with schedule your workouts. Like at a specific time on your calendar. Then set an alarm on your phone, just as you would when you wake up.  For many of us we have temporarily lost the structure of a normal life. Now is the time to put some of that structure back into areas of your life where we control things. If you used to take a class every Tuesday, schedule a workout at that same time you would have normally taken a class.  For tips on getting back on your normal routine during COVID-19 check out this previous SPARK blog article by clicking THIS LINK.


Seek help, if you need it. These are challenging times. Don’t be afraid to do so. Seek out mentors, coaches in areas you want to work on and even counselors if you think you may need help with all this added stress, and anxiety.  Now is not a time to deal with this on your own. You had Irene Bosco on, last week and she spoke to a lot of this and is a great resource.  Check out the podcast and blog article from Irene’s interview HERE



I have this mantra #stopowncommit.  It keep me focused.   Whenever, I feel down, or feel like slacking off, I put those 3 words in my head.  STOP – we have to interrupt the negative thought or feeling.  We have to OWN the feeling – like it is OK to feel this way, but it is US who can change it. We don’t blame the situation, we own it. and then finally COMMIT – what are we going to do about it?  We have to act on the COMMIT part.   If you feel yourself resisting, you repeat those 3 words.  STOP resisting, OWN – it is ME, my brain putting in false narrative of why I can’t go run right now,  and then COMMIT to just take the next step towards the desired outcome.   I’m actually writing a book around this mindset and running because it is an area I have been studying for a few years now and have been gathering data and research and interviewing some sports psychologists on this idea  and how coming up with our own form of STOP OWN COMMIT and other techniques can change the way we behave.  Of course, I am the worlds worst writer and sometimes procrastinator so it may be awhile…


Finally, It is easier said than done, but change perspective. This is an incredible opportunity if you choose to take it.  This is your off-season in terms of running races!  In all sports, real gains are made in the off-season, not during the season. This is the time to not only revisit fundamentals, but to have your biggest gains. You guys are all athletes! You can choose to either waste this time, or use it as an opportunity.  I allowed myself to feel crappy about losing my sprint goal race for about a day, then realized I could feel sorry for myself for something I have no control over, or I could do something about it. I hope for those of you tuned in and listening, that you find whatever that is for you.


In this blog article, Steve Carmichael from the runbuzz pacebuilders online run coaching and running community as well as the host of the Runbuzz podcast shared some actionable tips with us to get us through this difficult time of social isolation while still running.  I personally thank Steve for his time and wisdom in helping us to run and train safely during this coronavirus crisis.


Thank you for taking the time to read and stay active, stay healthy, and just keep running!


Stay safe,


– Duane


Duane Scotti, PT, DPT, PhD, OCS



Connect with Steve Carmichael

Connect with Steve at Runbuzz to get access to training plans, run coaching and access to 100’s of blog posts and podcast episodes covering topics in running, training, strength training, nutrition for runners, fitness mindset, runner lifestyle topics and more:

Check out the Runbuzz full training plans: https://runbuzz.com
Facebook: Runbuzz Community Group
Instagram: @runbuzz
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCeu6DKyievYKzUnloXJ4lpg


Do you want to know more about our SPARK Physical Therapy running injury clinic or our healthy runner evaluation to get you on a specific plan to PREVENT any running related injuries as you ramp up your miles for 2020?



Click THIS LINK for a FREE 20 minute phone consultation and let’s chat about some of your injury or running struggles and see how I can help you with virtual Telehealth sessions.⠀⠀
⚡️SPARK Physical Therapy
We Help Active Adults Be Able To Run Without Aches and Pains So You Can Feel Good About Yourself Again…
[Even If You Are Stuck Inside During A Pandemic]



Other COVID-19 Topic Related Resources For Healthy Runners:



Have you been worried about your health or the health of your loved one’s during this whole COVID crisis we are going through? In this episode we are talking about how we cope with this new world we live in during COVID with our Special Guest, Irene Bosco who is a Clinical Social Worker Specialist at Nutmeg Counseling Services in North Haven, Connecticut.


Click THIS LINK to hear Irene’s 3 tips that we can all implement during social isolation to help keep our families healthy.



Are you a parent who is feeling like you are juggling 3 jobs right now? Employee, mom, and teacher 24/7?  Are you struggling to keep your children active right now?…  Are you wondering what the best practices are to motivate your children to stay active during this coronavirus isolation? I know this is going on in my house and I had the pleasure of interviewing my cousin who is an expert in this area.


In this episode, we are talking about how we can help and keep our children active during this crisis with our special guest, Brett Yarris who is founder and instructor at BioKinetiX a movement company in New Canaan, Connecticut.



Click THIS LINK to hear Brett’s 3 Tips to help get your children more active!



What 3 tips did I learn during these past 3 weeks of being home social distanced from my world? How did I stay active and fit and maintain my sanity?… “I feel so out of control and with all the chaos going on in my house … how do I stay fit without going to the gym?!” Have you thought this to yourself?


I know I have! Personally I’ve had this issue this past week trying to balance life, family, work, and staying active. We all had big goals for 2020 and spring races, now that the plan has changed we can’t let ourselves dip into a place we don’t want to go! In this blog article, I got you covered on how you can stay active and fit with these 3 tips I learned during the COVID-19 crisis.


Click THIS LINK to learn about my 3 Tips to boost your confidence with your home workouts during this difficult time.



Are you in need of some mental relief (like me) and are looking to get in some exercise during this time of social distancing?


Are you a runner who wants to stay healthy now more than ever for the benefits of your immune system while we try and prevent the spread of this virus ?


Click THIS LINK to learn how to “just keep running” during social distancing.






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“I don’t have enough words to express my gratitude towards Duane Scotti and the Spark Healthy Runner program. When I started working with Duane, I had been dealing with chronic shin splints/posterior tibialis tendinitis for almost a year.

I had worked with multiple other coaches and physical therapists with little success and was at the point of almost giving up on my love for running. Duane is so kind, thoughtful and knowledgeable as both a physical therapist and running coach. Our first virtual meeting lasted two hours because he was so meticulous in his assessment. His strength and running program is progressive and created so that you can continue to build strength and mileage as you heal. His strength program is unique, effective, and fun.

Additionally, his warm-up routine is awesome and includes drills that over time have made me a more efficient runner. His training platform is easy to use, and he is always readily available to chat when problems or questions arise.

Over four months of working with Duane, I have built back to five days a week of running and am almost back up to my pre-injury weekly mileage and long run distance. Whenever I have flare ups or setbacks, Duane reassures me and makes necessary adjustments so that I can continue to progress in my running journey. I have had so much success with him so far that I have signed on for four more months so that he can help me to continue getting stronger as I train for the Dopey challenge in Disney World.

If you are struggling with a running injury and are feeling hopeless, you have to reach out to Duane Scotti. Of course, you will have to put in a lot of hard work, but with Duane by your side, you will be able to achieve your goals and more. Thank you Spark Healthy Runner for bringing the spark back to my running!”

Dipti Pandya

You can teach an old dog new tricks!!!  I have never considered myself a runner and I knew I needed to be smart about it because I am no spring chicken. Spark preached getting strong and healthy to be injury free and they practice what they preach.  I am soooo glad I made the investment in me!  I finished my half marathon last weekend and couldn’t be any happier!  The program fed me all the steps I needed to essentially learn how to run long distance, build strength, nutrition help, a forum of other runners and probably most important was the 1:1 coaching.  I had no idea how to tackle training for a 1/2 marathon and this program broke all of it down, had it individualized for me and we tweaked as we went to make sure I was staying healthy and strong.  I had so many questions the week prior to my race and Coach Cat was always there for me and answering all the questions and issues I had-and believe me there were a lot!  The biggest benefit I think I got was the strength. I am strong and fit. But most important was what I gained emotionally.  I built confidence and strength I didn’t know I had, even at my age.  Honestly could not have done this without Spark Healthy Runners!

Gina J.

My Healthy Runner journey started after I had battled bilateral achilles pain for a few months and was frustrated how it affected my running. As soon as I talked to Duane I knew I had made the right decision. His positivity, enthusiasm and genuine care are infectious. The training plan that was tailored to me included specific exercises to rehab my injury and I was so excited that I didn’t have to stop running. It took patience to only run slow for a few weeks but I trusted the process and it got me me to where I am now: running pain free. We made adjustments to the plan throughout whenever needed having someone in your corner that is always there with guidance and support throughout the process was invaluable.

I just ran my second half marathon, both with Duane’s coaching, and PR’d by over 9 minutes! I got all choked up in the last mile when I realized that I felt strong and could still kick it up a notch.

I’m so thankful for the Healthy Runner program, community and the entire coaching team for all the support!

Katja L.

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