Running On Hope

On January 26th when I got on the plane in San Diego after my first race of the season, I had no idea that this would be likely the last race of the year because of the looming pandemic. The word COVID-19 was just starting to be discussed. I saw extra precautions being taken by airport staff on my trip home, but I never phathomed what was to come from this virus. However on March 11th, COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic and it was soon after that the impact of the virus around the world was starting to be seen. In a matter of days we went from our world being a “normal” state to everything stopping around us. Throughout the chaos I was thankful for being able to get outside. As a competitive athlete it was hard at first to come to the realization of competitions being placed on hold in addition to being laid off like many others around the world. There are a few things I tried to do during the first few months of COVID related closures (and I still do them today!) to add some order amidst the chaos, but I also found them to be beneficial for my mental health.

  • I focused on moving outdoors for at least 60 minutes everyday -  whether it is running, walking, hiking, cycling, just get out and move! Of course while doing so, keep in mind your area's physical distancing protocols. I was able to find some great trails and quiet side streets by my house where I was able to get some great mileage without the worry of running into others. Sometimes, I would call a friend, listen to a podcast or just simply enjoy the beauty of the outdoors.
  • Home based gym workouts! There have been several small/local gyms that have been offering either home-based workouts on Instagram (or other platforms) or are now offering virtual memberships.
  • Even now with some order back into our world, I try and spend a few minutes each morning to relax and reflect on what I am grateful for - initially I found this difficult when the COVID related closures began, but as time came this was something I started doing without having to prompt myself. 

Even now as the world cautiously begins to reopen, following these points have become a foundation in my life. Being able to go outside and either walk, run or cycle during these past few months has been critical in supporting healthy mental health habits in my life. Although I started these because of the uncertainty during the initial stages of the pandemic, I think these are now critical points that I will carry with me from now on.



Running with Balega



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