Covid-19 or the Corona Virus is rapidly spreading around the world and our lifestyles have drastically changed in a matter of days. Advised to stay in isolation and abide by social distancing measures, working from home and now ALL sports events have been cancelled – from underage GAA matches to the Olympics (devastating but necessary). What do you do? How do you keep yourself from going stir crazy?
To all the athletes: you have been training all season, with many sport seasons ready to kick off and now you find yourself wondering “Will I get to compete this year?”, “Is it really going to be a 72 week winter block?”, “What’s the point?”. It’s important to make the most of a bad situation and our Olympians and aspiring Olympians are leading by example.
Ciara Mageean (Athletics)
“2021 it is! An extra year to wait for the honour of representing my country on the Olympic stage once more. We will face the next few months of uncertainty together yet apart"
Carolyn Hayes (Triathlon)
“Tokyo when you are ready, we will be ready. The date may have changed but the goal for every athlete remains the same. Right now, we have to do what we can to help one another. We need to play our part by staying at home and beating this virus”
Sanita Puspure (Rowing)
“It’s like cancelling a long anticipated birthday party, it sucks, but you know that when it happens it’s going to be bigger and better! Now let’s get this covid thing under control."
Michaela Walsh (Boxing)
“The dream remains the same #2021” - Michaela Walsh, Boxing
Take the time as an opportunity. Whether you find yourself away from the pitch, the pool or off the water, there are many things you can and should do at home. Use this time to your advantage and come out fitter, faster or stronger than before.
Improvise. So you aren’t in the gym with the equipment you’re used to using? Ciara Mageean and Team New Balance are using bins as a squat rack. Others are filling backpacks with books to use as weights. Use the couch or a chair for split squats, tricep dips, incline push ups…and so much more! Look around you, get creative and get motivated. There are so many online resources too – YouTube workouts, companies offering online classes and more.
Get out. Go for a walk, run or cycle (observing social distancing). Don’t let this get on top of you. Get out, get some fresh air and you’ll have a whole new appreciation for things you typically take for granted.
Catch up with your team. You’re used to spending 4, 5, 6, 7 days a week with the same people. Now there is no routine, your sister is driving you up the wall and you can’t watch any more Netflix. Call your teammates. FaceTime allows one person, WhatsApp allows up to four people, Google Hangouts allows 10, Star Leaf allows even more! Your teammates probably have withdrawals from you too. You don’t have any news or anything to gossip about? Sick of talking about isolation? Do a workout TOGETHER – it’s easier and keeps the motivation up. If you really want the virtual team training experience, get your coach involved too!
Include exercise in your routine. Plan out your day and set yourself up for success. Adding structure to the day will help you achieve what you need to do and keep you focused.
Don’t underestimate the benefit of exercise on your mental health. Although you may be thinking of the physical benefits of exercise and training, taking for granted the mental benefits, you will realise it now. Exercise and working out is an outlet, relieving stress and promoting positivity, whether you realise it or not. It gives structure, keeps you sane and releases endorphins, triggering a positive feeling in the body. Whether it’s a 15 minute walk, a YouTube yoga class or 30 minute circuits, you’ll feel like you have accomplished something and reap the benefits.
We’re all in this together and will come out the other side. The medals, cups, national titles and awards will all be there for the taking. You will hit your targets. You will get those PBs.
Remember: Stay inside. Observe social distancing. The quicker we get this virus under control, the quicker you will be back in the pool, on the track or on the pitch. With your teammates. In person…