Whether we like to admit it or not, we runners are regimented creatures who thrive on routine.
All of us undertake the activity for our physical, psychological and/or emotional health.
Routine plays a central role in helping to foster this sense of well-being and any disturbance to our regular pattern will inevitably throw us off balance.
All of us the world over are now having to navigate our way through unchartered terrain. We in the running fraternity face a peculiarly First World predicament.
The competition schedule has been indefinitely suspended, we cannot currently train with our treasured training companions and many of us cannot access our most cherished training locations.
For an athlete, the biggest challenge which this poses stems not from present deprivation, but rather from the uncertainty as to when exactly we will be able to resume our pursuit to its fullest.
For the past number of weeks I have tried to impart two pieces of advice to every runner I have been in contact with.
The first is to be grateful that you can still get out of bed in the morning and lace up a pair of runners, as there are many people across the globe that do not possess this luxury.
The second is to view this unprecedented period as a unique opportunity to prioritise your long-term development as an athlete.
A central challenge in the current climate is to successfully wed routine with variety. This applies not only to running but also to life in general.
While forward planning may be notoriously difficult right now, this should not distract us from focusing upon what is within our control.
Try to continuously adhere to your usual weekly structure, by training at the same time of day and on the same days of the week if feasible.
However, beyond this, try to make things as varied as possible so as to stay motivated and to stave off monotony. Spice up your individual sessions as much as possible, vary your training routes to the extent that you can and set yourself small yet frequent challenges.
Very rarely as athletes are we ever provided with the opportunity to take a complete step back and work on the attributes that will make us improved athletes in the long-term.
The events schedule will inevitably return, albeit possibly in a stepped fashion and initially in a slightly different guise than what we are used to. Until such time as it does, we should embrace the opportunity to sharpen some of the skills which we may have previously overlooked, and in the process make ourselves more rounded and more fulfilled athletes. View yourself as an artist presented with a fresh canvas with which to apply your paint.
Mike Carmody has set up a free WhatsApp group where he is posting daily run/circuit/turbo sessions for the duration of the Covid crisis. If you wish to be added to the group then e-mail your name and phone number to email@example.com
For more of Karen's columns see www.limerickleader.ie or use #LLSport on social media