How to Deal With Deferring a Marathon

Tips for Postponing Your Race

Whether it's due to injury, a race day conflict, or some other reason, deferring your marathon to next year can be a heart-breaking and devastating decision. You've invested money, time, and months of physical and mental training into this huge endeavor, and now you feel like it's all for nothing.

Here are some ways to deal with the stress and grief of deferring a marathon or other major race:

Get the right treatment.

man talking to doctor
Juan Silva

If you're injured and you haven't already seen a doctor or other health care professional, try to find someone who has experience with running injuries (ask running friends for recommendations) and make an appointment. Recovering from an injury may require more than just taking a break from running - you may need some physical therapy. Being proactive about your recovery and thinking positive will help you be at peace with your decision to defer.


Front plank exercise
Cavan Images

Try cross-training activities, such as swimming or cycling (as long as they're pain-free), so that you don't lose your hard-earned fitness. A break from running is also a good time to work on a weakness, such as core strength. And staying active is a good stress-reliever.

Look toward the future.

Training schedule
Christine Luff

You already did a lot of the training, so you'll be more prepared and know what to expect when you train next year. You'll start your marathon training much stronger physically and mentally. And crossing that finish line will be even more meaningful because of everything that you had to go through and overcome to get there.

Pick another race.

Woman on computer
Photo by Tripod

When you know when you can run again, pick another race (a shorter one) that you can safely train for, and put it on your calendar. Having another goal to focus on will take the emphasis away from the deferred marathon.

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