Obviously, I’m about as much of an expert at mentally dealing with COVID as the next person, but, here are my thoughts on how to cope with no live obstacle course races.
Some have turned to new hobbies (cycling, rock climbing, etc.), some have completely fallen out of their fitness routine and lost motivation, while others have been busy planning, re-planning, and making their own mini-goals. We’ve chosen the latter, and it seems to be really helpful so far (though there are certainly more days where we lack motivation than there have been previously!)
OUR PLAN B:
In the beginning, we made sure to stay on track with our normal training routines because we didn’t quite know how long this would last. We were hopeful it’d be in and out quickly and life would just resume normalcy. Boy were we apparently all wrong.
Since we didn’t have access to a gym, we sorted through the numerous Palmer Shape programs we’ve accumulated over the years (luckily, we’ve always been the people to print them off and organize them into manila folders) and we got to following a new kind of program. The one that consisted of staying as close to our normal program as possible but making substitutions for things that required equipment we just didn’t have at home and couldn’t modify to a slight degree.
We have also done these travel workouts A TON (and we temporarily offered them to you for free, too!) This has been so helpful because they were literally written for the specific purpose of when you have little to no equipment or space to work out!
We also signed up for virtual race after virtual race in an effort to give ourselves mini-goals and support businesses in the industry at the same time. We did the Savage Race Anywhere I and II, Bonefrog Tier-1, Rugged Maniac’s 5k option, Spartan’s Trifecta weekend, one of Aravaipa Running’s virtual events, the Hot Chocolate 15k virtual race, and…since all of this is still ongoing, we’re about to sign up for another Bonefrog and Tough Mudder’s latest “challenge” option. See, we’ve been busy!
THEN PLAN C:
But, the virtual races also took a toll on our minds after a bit and we transitioned to our other hobbies: hiking, biking, swimming, etc… We’ve taken just enough of a break from virtual races that now I’m starting to miss them and looking forward to doing a few more.
I have learned that during COVID life, there is a huge mental toll on my mind. Maybe yours, too. I have good days and I have days filled with anxiety where I break down, sometimes more than once, crying. I’m certain that maintaining fitness has helped alleviate some of these days, allowing me to have more “good” days than not.
But, even with all of these things, it hasn’t necessarily been enough because we’re typically so active. We normally train 6 days a week, oftentimes twice a day (pre- and post-work).
So, what else can you do to keep your mind at ease and your body active?
- Take the time to properly recover if you’ve been injured! If your gym is open, this is exactly what our postseason training program is for! It is meant to rehab every tiny fiber in your body in order to prepare to be able to intensely ramp back up training, but you’ll need some equipment available.
- Set other goals that aren’t necessarily race-focused, but align with something that can help you out come race day. For example, we’re working to drive our mile pace per minute down by focusing on crushing a 1-mile timed trial. All the work that goes into the timed trial is beneficial all around to your overall pace per mile. We recently started offering 100% custom running plans, and even offer a free, downloadable Couch to 5k plan.
- With summer here, go for a swim! If you have access to a pool, set a goal to swim a mile and then work to shave your time off each session. You might have to work up to the mile, but this helps keep your cardio up and is a great option if you’ve been battling injuries that are worsened or caused by impact. Plus, swimming is enjoyable and can take your mind off of dealing with COVID life.
- Do more virtual challenges if you need to! They really are very motivating. Some offer free options, and most offer paid where you also get swag! If you can (and want to) afford the paid versions, this will help our OCR race brands stay afloat so we have a sport to which we can return!
- Download OCR Buddy to discover the latest races –live and virtual!
- Grab a workout buddy if you didn’t already have one. You can help keep each other motivated. Incorporate bodyweight exercises if you don’t have access to weights. You can also use odd objects to substitute for weights (make sandbags, carry reams of paper, use frozen water bottles, etc…)
- Start a new training program that lays out a schedule and exercises for you. There will be a natural motivation to stay on track if you feel you have to complete a task each day (make sure you have access to the equipment and space you need first though!) The training programs we offer do just this… hint, hint!
- If nothing else, go for a hike, family bike ride, or walk. Walk your dog more. Take your kids around the block.
STAY MOTIVATED, STAY SANE.
In order to stay motivated and sane, the biggest key is to just keep moving and keep setting goals for yourself (and involve your kids if you got ’em!) Take it day by day and try not to get overwhelmed with not having anything specific to train for. When you’re ready to return to racing, do so. Hope to see you out on the course sooner rather than later!
What are you doing to stay active, keep moving, and keep your mind right? How are you dealing with COVID life?