2020 SUMMER OF COVID-19 CHALLENGES
SUMMER PLANNING: SHOW-HOLES, SCHOOL-HOLES, TRAINING-HOLES
WHAT ARE YOU DOING ON YOUR 2020 SUMMER OF COVID-19 VACATION?
The 18th and last week of the Half Marathon + ‘SAINTS DAYS’ Training Plan, which spanned January to mid-May, has been completed. Participant runners and walkers will have accomplished their long-distance goal race and should be in recovery mode for 2-3 weeks.
After finishing a long training plan, initially I tend to be elated and relieved, only to experience a subsequent let-down. This feeling is comparable to the sadness of a “show-hole”, the slang term said to have been invented by Amazon Fire to describe the sense of emptiness that follows the ending of a favorite TV series.
‘Training holes’ can occur upon the completion of multi-month programs designed to prepare for big competitions like ultras, triathlons, marathons, half marathons and obstacle course events. Both show-holes and training-holes and are nothing to laugh about (well, maybe just a little). They are periods of time in which our schedules are in some ways uncomfortably uncluttered and there no longer is a programming slot or a daily workout to which other weekly activities are anchored. As much as there was to complain about, the absence of such commitments creates a void.
WHAT’S NEXT FOR THE SUMMER OF COVID-19?
Many elementary school children and their parents must annually deal with a ‘school-hole’ at the end of the academic year, and faced with a wide-open summer. Some break up the long stretch between June and the end of August with a variety of music, sport, or theater camps. Or schedule stays with distant relatives. High school and college students take summer classes, enroll in travel-abroad study programs, or secure jobs to earn needed funds. Friends and families break up the roughly 15-week period with weekend trips and vacations, both spontaneous and advance-planned.
Not his summer. Training holes are the least of our problems.
Daily test-positive infection case and death counts remind us that straying from quarantine recommendations may jeopardize health. The layering on of global health emergency-generated stay-at-home orders with government mandated restrictions on schools, businesses, restaurants, organized sports, and entertainment has compounded feelings that attempting to enjoy the summer of 2020 might be a lost cause.
We’re not sure what activities, other than virtual, will be allowed or safe. There is cautious hope that scattered attempts to re-open the world are successful and further easing might be possible. However, we are warned the situation potentially can worsen as fall approaches! Uncertainty about the immediate, near, and distant future saps strength, enthusiasm, and motivation.
In normal times, adults without children at home might not feel the need to construct a summer fitness activity schedule for themselves.
However, at any age lack of planned fitness activities can lead some to experience anxiety about exactly how to enjoy these “carefree” days and how not to miss out (FOMO); even mental health can be affected. Spontaneity isn’t easy; it can be stressful to come up with novel recreational opportunities on the fly.
At a normal summer’s end there’s potential for even more disappointment to set in when, retrospectively, nothing fun, exciting, or even mildly awesome took place that would help write that classic elementary school report, “What did you do on your summer vacation
In this abnormal “2020 Summer of COVID-19”, it may be critical to physical and mental health to establish a season long plan and follow a routine for exercise.
In previous non-COVID years Earned Runs has suggested that to fill an ordinary ‘training-hole’, activities that ‘challenge’ old routines should receive top consideration,
In the “2020 Summer of Covid-19” Earned Runs believes it is especially important to motivation and morale to change exercise activities that were used to fill fitness needs in the first months of the pandemic shutdown.
For example, if you walked or ran without a goal achievement or training plan in the first months of March-April-May you might:
Rather than expecting to test yourself over months with a grueling challenge, take it easy this summer. Expend enough effort to feel you are routinely physically active and not losing fitness ground, but frequently enough that you are able to tally multiple regular sessions in a log (or on a free Earned Runs Competition Bib). In September you’ll enjoy looking back at a season’s accomplishments, and write that report (“What I did on my summer vacation”)
Follow a relaxed but firm, no-cheating schedule that allows you to enjoy the time you are active. Consider injecting a bit of learning into virtual event efforts by ‘exploring’ the special locales in which they ordinarily would be held. Search for virtual events in small scenic towns as well as big famous cities around the world.
Another way to shake-up the summer might be to simply change the time of day in which you work-out, if possible, given that work schedules have been disrupted by the pandemic.
Attempt to become a morning exerciser if previously hitting the gym or road after work in the late day or evening. Take strength workouts outside to the beach or park in the early hours of the day before the crowds arrive. Bring a few different resistance bands or dumbbell weights, and use benches and picnic tables to perform various exercises.
Earned Runs will highlight several 2020 SUMMER CHALLENGES that might appeal to the kid in you that still wants this stressful summer to be special and magical. There will be a follow-up post to help planning. Check the RESOURCES page for materials.
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
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BRIDGE TO PHYSICAL SELF
Running, walking, and fitness activities enable us to experience our physical selves in a world mostly accessed through use of fingers on a mobile device.
EARNED RUNS is edited and authored by me, runner and founder. I began participating in road races before 5Ks were common. I've been a dietitian, practiced and taught clinical pathology, and been involved with research that utilized pathology. I am fascinated with understanding the origins of disease as well as health.
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