If we can’t actually be headed out on Spring Break this weekend, Mother Nature has at least been kind enough to give us glorious sunshine for a lockdown consolation prize! What a beautiful weekend we’re having. I hope everyone is able to enjoy it one way or another.
Running this week. As long as we continue to be allowed our daily exercise, I hope you’re finding good ways to use it. We are not posting routes, as you know, so that we don’t inadvertently set in motion our own WRW traffic jam and social distancing disaster! In addition, since we’re all coming from different directions rather than starting at Barclays, and every run needs to be a loop that gets us back to our homes, it makes more sense to have us each plan our own. But if you need some inspiration, you could have a look at “Where we Run”– our standard routes posted on our website. If you have been out for a run lately, especially when the weather is fine, you know that it can still be pretty crowded, especially in the parks and later in the day. It’s a great idea to go early if you can, and some runners have reported that city street-based routes have been less busy than any park routes. Whatever route and time you choose to run, please take good care of yourself by giving plenty of space to anyone who hasn’t quite gotten the hang of social distancing yet.
“Running this Week” now means something entirely different than it has in the past. In the present circumstances, every run, every walk, every positive decision to do something for yourself, is a milestone. If you are feeling down or overwhelmed, know that you are not alone (even if we are, actually, physically alone)– everyone is dealing with some level of anxiety or other mental stress at the moment. And many studies have demonstrated that a higher-than-normal stress level can significantly affect one’s physical stamina and ability to recover from exertion. So if you are feeling extra tired, and you don’t understand why you can’t run the way you could just a few weeks ago, try to go easy on yourself. It’s a very normal physical response to mental and emotional stress. Running, walking, or any kind of movement should be a great way to help us stay physically and mentally in good shape during the lockdown– endorphins can be such a help! But running should not be something that adds another level of stress. Celebrate whatever activity you can do, but don’t condemn yourself for what you can’t! And reach out to your running friends if you need support– we are all in this together.
On the flip-side, if anxiety is making you a running junkie and your mileage has shot off the charts in the last couple weeks, take care of yourself! Enjoy the endorphins and the outdoors, but pay attention to your body and don’t break yourself! Rest is also a good counter to stress.
Training Notes. Either way, whether you are sitting more than usual, or running more than usual, your body could benefit from some extra stretching and cross training. Try some yoga or pilates along with a generous amount of stretching. There are so many options available online or via free apps right now, I won’t even attempt a run-down, but here is a link to a top-ten-free-online-workout list that came out earlier today. Or you could actually try doing one of those hilarious throwback workouts that are circulating all over our WhatsApp chats right now (don’t forget your leg-warmers and headband)!
Shoutouts. So many of us have done milestone runs this week– whether that means 13.1 miles, some other distance, getting out for a first solo run, or covering a new distance after an injury. Congratulations and so very well done to everyone! It’s a pleasure to see all the photos– and especially when they also feature children or a spouse out running alongside us!
A special shoutout to our ex-Beginners, the class of 2020! It is SUCH an achievement to make the transition to being able to run even without the pack, and yet many of you signed up for the Plan B Challenge and completed 10k runs this week. Congratulations! We cannot wait to start running with you whenever this pause is over. I’ve gotten special permission from ex-beginner Kelli Novak to share part of a note she wrote to the Beginners’ Group coaches, because it shows the incredible attitude these ladies have had through this experience, and it’s a reminder of how lucky we are to have running and this community in our lives:“I know you guys thought you were training us for a half marathon, but in reality it turns out that you were training us for something much more important, difficult and longer than a marathon; you trained us to dig deep, notice our resilience and provide us with a level of fitness that will not only God willing keep us all healthier through this, but mentally able to better withstand the onslaught of change and attendant anxiety when the world turned on its side for a while. How empowering to have these skills and this physical ability at this precise moment in time. Moreover, you provided the opportunity for us to connect with each other, which is now a bedrock of solace and community at a time when it is so desperately needed.”
I hope you are all finding laughter, comfort and encouragement within our community, wherever you find yourself physically residing for this time. Sending WRW love all around the globe. Stay well!