Panicking and Covid-19
As the Covid-19 pandemic spreads across the world, many people seem to be in a panic. There is one group that seems to be navigating these tough times with ease. My fellow endurance athletes don’t seem to have missed a beat.
We Are Happy
While other people panic, I have continued my training. My friends that I have been training with seem to be happy and even-keeled. We are spending our time, riding, running, swimming and hiking. Even if the race we were training for is canceled, we are still out there training and working towards goals. Engaged, and working towards a work toward a solution.
I spend almost all my time around endurance athletes.
Training with my friends, we are all smiles, even when we have to social distance on our bikes. As far as I can tell, everyone follows the guidelines without a hitch or complaint.
It turns out the more you push your physical limits, the more you improve your psychological ones. According to Kelly McGonigal, the world-renowned health psychologist writes all about it.
Endurance sports cultivate a growth mindset. She “recognizes the natural human capacity to grow during times of stress,”. Her book, The Upside of Stress, supports my assumptions. Training stress helps athletes manage life stress.
Stress – It’s Out There
Being happy doesn’t mean we don’t care. My fellow athletes and I still have concerns. I think participating in our sport we are able to manage the stress in the stress and manage it.
Watching Instead, I am going to continue enjoying staying healthy, training outside. It appears I am am not alone and there is even science that backs up how endurance athletes manage stress.
Stress is something bad or should be avoided according to some people. McGonigal says that we should learn how to embrace it.
According to McGonigal, one of the best ways to get good at stress is practice and endurance sports.
Training and racing offer many opportunities to do test your limits. “Through endurance sports, you are learning to see yourself as someone who can choose to engage in difficult things, get through them, and evolve in consequential ways,” she says.
When someone signs up for an event, they are signing themselves up for adversity. Anyone who has ever trained or raced knows things go wrong. The longer you train or the longer the event, the more that can go wrong. This morning I had a brick (bike/run/ick) planned and I forgot my running shoes. Not wanting to miss my run, I ran in socks. I figured it would be a good way to focus on my run form.
I am not alone, there is am an endless list of things that can go wrong. The longer you participate in endurance sports, the more of these things you’ll experience. Riding this morning, a friend, and fellow cyclist joined us for our intervals today. Cheryl wrecked laster year, was in the hospital, then long term care, and finally back home and back on her bike. She wasn’t able to go fast, but she was able to enjoy the ride.
Even knowing that there is a potential for things to go wrong, it doesn’t stop endurance athletes. I don’t worry about what bad things can happen.
According to McGonigal, “The most toxic thing about stress is not stress in and of itself,” she says. “But rather, stress avoidance and the subsequent angst and rumination of always trying to avoid stress.”
McGonigal says, if “you build the inner resources to deal with stress, confronting it can lead to personal growth and add meaning to your life.”
“Through endurance sports, you are learning to see yourself as someone who can choose to engage in difficult things, get through them, and evolve in consequential ways.”
Managing Stress Hormones
In The Upside of Stress, McGonigal points out important the stress hormones cortisol and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) are in play with endurance sports.
These hormones are not good or bad, they are part of what helps the body train and recover.