April 5, 2020

Positivity is contagious

Like every one of us 7.53 billion I’ve had plans change, work change, life change; everything has been thrown into the blender, is being spun around a good deal, and it just keeps on getting faster. That said, I am privileged and fully acknowledge that for me the adjustments of the covid-19 lockdown have not been too painful.

Sure I’d like to be running about in the mountains, wandering in the Highlands or the Alps and entering into social situations (gasp!) without the now ingrained distrust of ‘the outside’.

But that was then; this is now.

How we cope with the new normal will be different for each of us, but a challenge we all share is how to maintain positivity and motivation.

Here’s what I’m doing to keep the psych:

Start every day with a sun salutations/ (small) workout routine 

No matter what I have on or how I’m feeling, I find starting the day with 5-10 minutes of exercise is incredibly grounding, calming my thoughts and setting me up for the day. I‘ve found the following to make for a nice morning lockdown routine:

Plan how to maximise the one bit of daily outdoor time

Having only one form of outdoor time per day has put a huge imperative on making my runs count. So I try to get 3 key sessions in each week - speed work, hills and long runs, supplemented with good old recovery plods on the other days.

Given that traditional commitment devices such as running with a friend or training with a club are mortifyingly social, I’ve found writing down these sessions at the beginning of the week to be an effective substitute. It’s incredible how strongly a piece of paper can hold you to account!

Weekly plan... plods are key sessions too!

Maintain objectives

With everyone’s races and events cancelled ad infinitum, it would be easy to feel a bit directionless, leading to a vicious circle of sluggishness and feeling a bit (if not very) down, but keeping some objectives in mind can help combat this.

Firstly, does it actually matter that the official event in question is no longer going ahead? It’s possible to enjoy going for a run/ cycle/ other form of exercise without having a race in mind. I fundamentally see training as an end in its own right, not just a means to the end of a race/ competition.

But if just going for a run isn’t enough, social outlets such as Strava can provide good motivation:

https://www.strava.com/challenges

Or how about a virtual race?

https://www.virtualrunneruk.com

Home workouts

There are heaps of resources for excellent daily home workouts. I’ve found 15-30 minutes to be a realistic time to commit to one per day, providing a welcome respite from screen time, but also sustainable to keep doing every day and not feel overwhelming.

Inov-8 send out daily workouts via email; they’re sometimes a bit simple, but still provide some nice ideas (most importantly, every day!):

https://www.inov-8.com/home-workouts

Training for the Uphill Athlete also has a huge bank of workouts available free online (slightly less user-friendly and harder to follow, but effective):

Free At Home Strength Workouts

Good food

Nourishing food, taking the time taken to appreciate it, and sharing it with others has always been one of the key tenets of my lifestyle; now in lockdown it’s taken on an even more important role.

I’m finding it both fulfilling and empowering to search out new and interesting recipes, fine-tune ones we’ve tried before but never got quite right, and take the time to share with others (both recipe ideas and the fruits of our labour with neighbours).

Rye and spelt sourdough loaf

Appreciate non-adventure thoughts

Lastly, but perhaps most importantly, I’ve been finding it liberating to devote time to things that aren’t about getting outside, trails to run, routes to climb or places to go. So much of my life is normally spent obsessing over these things, planning the next adventure, re-planning and then planning some more, it’s been liberating to break away from this.

I’ve particularly been enjoying the following:

And for those moments when I find myself wanting to escape and get inspired for the next adventure:

https://www.ukhillwalking.com/news/2020/03/lockdown_-_free_films_from_the_hills_to_keep_you_sane-72259

Time to cut the cake...