We live in uncertain times. The coronavirus pandemic is sweeping around the world with incomprehensible social, health and economic consequences. In the grand scheme of things, the cancellation of athletic events is really no cause for too many tears, but having spent months gearing up for the big day, it’s a hard pill to swallow
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I feel your pain.
I had two A-Races this year: Ironman Lanzarote and Ironman Wales. After a few years of consistent poor luck, 2020 was going to be my year and I was revved up for it. But Lanzarote has been postponed to 2021 and Wales is looking highly unlikely.
Events are being cancelled or postponed on a global scale leaving athletes disappointed and frustrated. Unfortunately, these circumstances are largely out of our hands and the only thing we can control is how we react to such changes.
Vent your frustration
Currently, it’s unlikely that any events will operate until October at the earliest, and may off the cards for the rest of the year, depending on size of field and logistics. So, a lot of us will be impacted.
It’s important to give yourself a moment to recognise the loss and get your head around the disappointment. You’ve been working towards a goal that suddenly isn’t there. That’s hard to deal with and it’s ok to be gutted. Being gutted shows you care.
It’s ok to be angry. Let it all out. Then move on
Get frustrated, wallow a little and feel sorry for yourself.
But once you’ve done that, get some perspective.
Get some perspective and gratitude
I saw a quote online earlier which helped give some perspective:
“Remember, our grandparents were asked - told, often - to go and fight in World Wars, the chances of returning from which were slim. We’re being asked to stay at home and watch Netflix. You can do this”.
It’s really important to be grateful for a body that does what most of ours can. We’re able to swim, bike, run and explore the great outdoors largely without constraint – a privilege which shouldn’t be taken for granted.
At times like these, gratitude should feature highly. Gratitude is a powerful emotion and will:
- Reduce depression
- Increase happiness
- Boost self-esteem
The gains from gratitude aren’t just mental. Being gracious also:
- Lowers blood pressure
- Improves sleep quality
- Lowers stress and anxiety
- Increases longevity
Your event has been cancelled, but let’s keep this loss in perspective
Another great quote today stated:
“Right now, we’re all forced to re-evaluate what’s important to us. There’s no ‘it won’t happen to me’ – it’s happening to all of us.
Right now, we’re forced to accept that we shouldn’t take our freedom, our family and our lifestyle for granted.
We’re forced to accept that we only have one shot at life and that it’s a short one.
We’re forced to accept that we and our loved ones are mortal.”
So, remember, we’re not being asked to go and fight in the trenches
Act for the good of society
Few of you reading this will fall into the coronavirus ‘at risk’ category: 70+ with a long term medical condition like heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, cancer or have a weakened immune system.
Turn your attention to those more vulnerable than you. What can we do to protect ‘at risk’ people from coronavirus?
Most reading this will be fit and healthy and not too worried on a personal level. Even if contracted, most of us aren't going to experience anything too painful or protracted and certainly in the vast majority of cases it won't be life-threatening.
But it’s with the former group in mind that we must decide how to ride this wave. It’d be irresponsible for gatherings to continue to take place with younger, healthier populations believing they don’t need to practice social isolation because, well, ‘it’s not really going to affect me’.
That’s not acting for the greater good of society.
Coronavirus spreads easily meaning that older people are at risk even if it’s just younguns who are not social distancing. Symptoms can remain hidden in the early days so, even though you feel fine when you visit your grandparents, you could transmit it to them. Thus, ask yourself:
- Do you really need to go to that party?
- Do you really need to go the cafe for that full-fat half and half decaf mocha cappuccino with vanilla syrup and extra cream? Actually, I can't imagine many of you order those!
- Do you really need to bicep curl that 25kg dumbbell in the gym?
- Do you really need all that toilet roll?
Avoid public gatherings – the reward just isn’t worth the risk
Coronavirus cancelled event tip #1: Do you own race
As we describe in this goal setting article, it’s all about taking charge and owning your goal. Uncontrollable circumstances may have resulted in your original goal being changed, but you’re still in charge of your destiny.
A lot are entering virtual races or even running the same route on an alternative day. If you were gearing up for a really big challenge like an Ironman or marathon, what about still building towards that date but for a bit of a lesser event?
Instead of an Ironman, I’m thinking about racing a metric Ironman: a 2.4km swim, 112km bike and 26.2km run, all at a hard pace to see where my training is at and give myself something to strive for.
Coronavirus cancelled event tip #2: Switch to fitness maintenance
At this stage, we can be fairly confident that events due to take place in June, July and August will be cancelled or postponed. That means you’re likely left with a rather open calendar for the next few months.
Shift gear into a maintenance phase – keep the fitness but don’t stress yourself too hard or you’ll burn out (and your immune system will weaken)
Everyone will choose their journey, but I personally think that continuing on your current trajectory is probably not the best method. Personally, I'll aim to continue building fitness, but not at the same volume or intensity as if I were aiming to peak mid-May. If I did that, I’d get to May at peak fitness with no event in which to ‘show’ it.
I don’t see much point in that.
Better to simple maintain fitness, or build but at a much slower rate than originally planned. This means that once new event dates are set, I’ll be ready to crank things up a notch to peak for that new date.
Coronavirus cancelled event tip #3: Spice it up
Grab this opportunity to do something different. Don’t treat this like an off-season because the second half of the season, at this stage, is still all to play for.
But, like an off-season, the pressure is off. Keep the ball rolling but invest time learning new skills or partaking in cross-training activities you’ve always wanted to try. Particularly considering the self-isolation recommendations, what about yoga, pilates or calisthenics to inject something a little spicy into your routine?
Coronavirus and event cancellation - conclusion
Anything we can do to keep healthy right now is a good idea. Alongside social distancing and optimal cleanliness practices, nutrition also plays a huge role. One spoonful of Ultimate Daily Greens is all you need to give your immune system a boost
We are highly adaptable and we will overcome coronavirus. It’ll be Christmas before we know it and we’ll be watching The Year In Review recollecting what’ll then seem like a (rather large, granted) blip in the distant (he says, hopefuly!) past.
For now, let yourself be hacked off at the disruption but realise the big picture and recognise what good is in our lives at this time.