For so many of us runners this year was going to be the year that we tackled “that race” or “that goal”. Being the beginning of the year, many of us were well on our way to working towards the achievements we had set ourselves when COVID-19 hit our world.
BANG. WHAT JUST HAPPENED?
At first we thought it would be just a little blip in our lives, but we have soon come to discover that it has had a major impact on not only our everyday worlds but our racing landscape in Australia.
So many events have been cancelled or postponed and so many running dreams shattered in an instant, for competitors, and the organisations that stage the events that we love.
But do these dreams really need to be shattered? Is there some way to keep the embers burning towards them at this time? I think there is.
We are staring down the barrel of at least six months of impact at the moment. That means many of our events will be crammed into the end of the year…with so much choice on offer. Some of our events have pivoted and instead of cancelling or postponing are offering virtual events with the medal and merchandise to be won as prizes for completion.
These are all options to us and we should all consider them. We won’t go down lightly. So many of us have trained and trained over these last few months and to have all that training wasted would be sad, so perhaps consider using what you have built to take part in one of these virtual events, around your local area whilst of course practicing all the rules of social distancing that is asked of us.
Some people have even gone that extra (and somewhat seemingly crazy) mile of running ultramarathons in their own backyards or around the perimeter of their homes. Whilst this isn’t for everyone, it certainly brings a bit of fun and light-heartedness to our current isolation situation, and also highlights the community spirit of our running community as people encourage and cheer each other on.
So what things can we do to keep active during this time if running and training for a big goal isn’t something that we want to do right now? Now is the time to mix it up and do more of those 1%ers that we always wish we had time for, or should have focussed on. Now is the time to:
With less mileage on the calendar, either due to isolation or motivation, now is the perfect time to get into the home gym or grab the weights or whatever you could use around your house to get stronger. Set yourself a program of once or twice a week adding this to your routine. There are so many guides that you can follow online, or even check out some of the workouts that are being posted by some of our PT RMAs in the closed group at this time. You don’t even need weights. You can use your bodyweight for strength training. Lunges, squats, planks, burpees. The list goes on. Imagine how much stronger we could be if we added strength to our programs during this time for when we return to our normal daily lives?
Building mental resilience
I’m not sure about you, but I think that being held in isolation in our homes with kids is as much mental resilience as one can handle, so we should use this opportunity to harness that, or you can create more. Along with handling that day in and day out – our workloads and home-schooling, make sure we create space to practice our mental strength in other ways. This could be setting ourselves a little challenge for the day/week and even when it is hard, sticking it out and getting it done. It could be as simple as “I’m going to aim for 50 pushups every day”, or “I will run X amount of laps of my yard”. Whatever it is, give yourself a goal or challenge to work towards that may strengthen you. Make it a little hard, so that you build that mental resilience. When isolation is over, you will be that little bit more resilient to tackle whatever comes at you.
Gaining a space of calm
When so much of our world seems like it is out of control, sometimes doing any of the above can be hard. And it isn’t for everyone, so you could add in, or replace that with gaining a space of calm. This means taking time out for yourself every single day and practicing some mindfulness. Being present in the moment. You might like to take a walk every day where you just switch off and listen to music. You might like to sit and meditate, you could do yoga or stretching, listening to your breath rise and fall in a darkened room, you could sit and read in the sunshine. If you live near the bush, or the coast you could walk along the landscape admiring its’ beauty. Get up early and watch the sunrise, or sit outside and watch the sunset, sleep in… You could journal and reflect on what you are learning through this season. Allow yourself a space of calm every day. Give yourself the mental break and allow peace to fill your soul and replace those thoughts of anxiety and panic that surround us.
It is sad that it takes a pandemic for us to realise what we are truly grateful for. It’s like it is only when we truly get to ‘stop and see’ that our eyes are opened to the things that we are really grateful for. For so many of us, we have been consumed with an end goal, be it a race or a specific training goal, and now that those things may have been stripped away have we truly realised just what running means to us. The fact that we are actually blessed with a healthy body that has the ability to move and connect on that level with our soul and nature is simply incredible. We should be thankful for that every day. It is this vehicle of running that can sustain us through this time as we engage with it on a deeper level. We run because we love to, that is the bottom line. If we don’t love it, then our relationship with running will be fleeting. So use this time to practice gratitude and re-connect with why you chose running in the first place. What does it do for you, what do you learn about yourself? Where did it take you? What memories of good times do you have? Where do you want it to take you in the future, and what can you do with running RIGHT NOW to connect you with those feelings and appreciate it even more in your life?
Now, more than ever we have a choice and chance to stay connected. For some of us it might be the most precious thing we have. Isolation can come at a price. Connection every day with those that lift your soul is of utmost importance. Some people might not know how or find it difficult to reach out, and now is the time to make sure that those in our sphere are okay. Reach out to them. Message them, text them, FaceTime them, hold zoom parties and virtually run with them. Join in conversations in the facebook group, join in the strava challenges, share your daily highlights and find the beauty in your situation and share it. We need each other now more than we ever had. Imagine how strong our team will be on the other side of this?
Alone we are strong, but connected we are a mighty force.
For more connection and advice, or just a good laugh, head to our facebook group and join if you haven’t already. Let’s get through this together.