Updated: Nov 2, 2020
Who were you?
Were you the person who took the opportunity to refine your culinary / barista skills, or the one who resorted to the safe and familiar company of a deliveroo/ uber eats and coffee shop takeaways.
Or did you make the best of both? Either way, was it a good choice? Lets apply the concept of takeaways (the ease of it... taking something away from something else), and reflect upon what we may have taken from this current period... These are some of my takeaways from the last month or two, some of which you may have seen crop up in our newsletters. We will also look at how loneliness and honesty have been integral factors at play.
Make things easy for yourself.
Why wouldn't you? Don't make things harder than they need to be.
Don't underestimate routine
One way of making things easy is having a good routine... this takes away a lot of decisions that you'd usually have to make and allows you to be in the moment and focus on the things that matter most.
This is one of my biggest take aways from lockdown.
Having a good routine has kept me going, doing and getting things done.
Simple things like getting up at the same time every day, having the same breakfast, or just the same breakfast routine, sets you up for the day ahead. A lot of people do this subconsciously... just being aware of it can be enough.
For me, having set times to do things such as sessions or work helps a lot with structuring my day. For example, I've taken forward my usual training schedule pre lockdown into lockdown itself to keep a sense of normality.
Simplicity can be your best friend
Again this comes down to making things easy for yourself. Break things down into manageable chunks. Don't overcomplicate or over think things that don't need to be.
Simplify things down to the bare bones and you'll be a lot happier, less stressed and able to cope with the day / week / month / year ahead.
Purpose is key
Everyone achieves in a different way...
Some people have to get things done there and then, throwing themselves at activities and appear to be doing a lot. That may not actually be the case, but that's what makes them feel as though they are achieving and that could be the most important thing at this time.
I tend to spend more time planning and less time doing, but what I do I feel satisfied with and that's what's important to me.
Other people achieve through acquiring knowledge, or playing a video game... everyone has their own version of achieving and being purposeful... Find your way of doing it and make it as effective and purposeful as possible.
Don't think you're different, or that anyone else is. People get a sense of achievement through different things... but at the end of the day, we are all looking to move forward.
It makes us feel better when we have done something to progress forwards.
It's human nature.
Coping Mechanisms are essential
Everyone copes in different ways to different situations. A common trait of athletes for example is to throw themselves into training to give themselves purpose. It can be seen as a form of escapism.
Everyone does this differently.
We have learned what we value
Friends, Family, Loved ones, activities, food etc.
They say you don't know what you had until you've lost it. Thats certainly been the case. Acknowledge what you're missing and make an effort to appreciate it when you have it back in your life.
Swimming isn't all its cracked up to be.
Having had restrictions eased, we are now able to get in some open water. Although this has proved to be both the best and worst thing. When the weather is horrific, its a horrible experience and just not worth my time, and quite the opposite when its nice.
I've also found that a lot of people I've spoken to that have kept a decent volume of training and practice throughout lockdown haven't found the return back to swimming too difficult at all. The aerobic fitness from the cycling and running translates nicely over to the swim.
The turbo isn't so bad... But outside is still better
Numerous hours have been spent on Zwift and similar. We are more than capable of putting in decent shifts of up to 5 hours at a time (some more mentally deranged than others...)
That being said. Returning to the outdoors has been very welcome. Being cooler with the wind in your face, being able to meet up with others and travel from A to B is an incredible sensation and shouldn't be underestimated.
Running is hard
Running still isn't easy. People within our household have taken up a bit more running over the past three months improving every time they head out the door, picking up niggles and getting hungry!
Nothing has changed. I'm much the same as I was pre lockdown. It's still tough, I get hungry...
Needless to say it's a great form of escapism.
Make time for yourself
You can build this into your routine or completely break out of it.. but make sure you take time for yourself to 'be in the moment' and appreciate what you have... as after all, hopefully you're healthy and able to go about your day to day life, even if it isn't quite the same as before.
We have better mental strength than we give ourselves credit for
At the end of the day we have managed to adapt. Change our mindsets, find that purpose and get through this incredibly tough time. Don't underestimate how tough it has been for yourself and others.
Use what you've learned wisely going forward. It's not a time to forget.
Now... All of the above are great learnings... but it didn't detract from the fact that there was a sense of loneliness throughout. I mean, we all attempted to facilitate this through the likes of webcam orientated chat rooms and such, but at the end of the day it didn't replicate the environment of being surrounded by colleagues, friends and family etc.
It wan't until I met up with Iestyn for a ride that I realised how lonely training and life had become. This is by no means detracting from the great company of the Morris'!! But at the same time, the process of 'going to work' and meeting your colleagues for a hard day's graft is something that I missed. Doing it by myself wasn't the best environment for getting the work done.
We are now in the process of returning to a training environment that will reinforce our lockdown progress and reinvigorate us for the next phase of training and racing!
Honesty is something that has been drilled into me from a young age. My parents were strict enforcers of the truth.
Have I always been honest with myself? ... NO.
Am I working on it? ... yes.
This is my biggest failing at current as an athlete to date. I have never been truly honest with myself and my abilities. Being self aware and honest with yourself is an unbelievably difficult skill... and definitely when a coach comes into the picture.
It's a common mistake to believe you are better than you are, capable of things you are not... But at the end of the day, it is the ability to be honest with yourself, the ability to set constraints and do what is best for you at that current time that will give you the best results. This could apply to anything... your functional threshold for example... Everyone wants it to be better than it currently is, which is where the issue may lie. It's like lying about your height, or your shoe size... giving yourself that extra inch... it's going to do you no good in the long run, and could quite literally wreck your run!
What I'm working on is being honest with how tired I really am and when I need to take a break. My body can take an absolute beating and be ready to fight again the next day without a problem. That being said, I, like any other, get tired and can sometimes get irritable... If this happens on a reoccurring basis, that will be my signal to ease off a bit, take the foot of the gas, and recover... I can't however do this all by myself, and working with my coach is an essential part of the process as otherwise I'd trooper on into the abyss.
What, if anything, do you need to be more honest about?
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