Unless you’ve been hiding under a very big rock (and I hope you haven’t!), you’ll know about the COVID-19 pandemic. Because the virus that causes COVID-19 is easily transmitted, somewhat fatal and there’s no vaccine, governments around the world have implemented various social isolation and “social distancing” measures to try and slow the spread of the virus, to keep it manageable and save lives.
Here in Australia, the social distancing measures are changing every few days, progressively tightening restrictions as time passes. At the time of writing, pretty much all public events have been cancelled, and there is no organised sport. Training in groups is no longer feasible, due to the need to keep people apart as much as possible, and police and local bylaws officers have the power to enforce the rules. These restrictions are necessary to maintain public health and protect the more vulnerable members of society, but they are also an impediment to training and maintaining fitness
At this time, I am still able to get out and train, provided I don’t meet up with a large group. Training alone is a preferable option (from a health point of view), but informally training with one or two others is OK, provided I maintain at least 1.5 metres distance from others at all times. In the open spaces I need, that’s a simple matter. As I am now effectively out of season (with no meets at all in the foreseeable future), I will also be doing my longer runs. Traditionally, that was the Parkrun (5k) and short cross country runs. With social distancing, this now means finding someone with no one else around and heading out for a run of up to 5km. Being in a city surrounded by bushland, there’s plenty of options for solo trail running.
The worst case scenario is a full lockdown. If this comes to pass, there is some space here that can be used (with lots of laps!) for middle distance and longer runs, as well as starts. The only workouts lacking are speed endurance and top speed, where the tight space will make it impossible to do. However, I don’t really need to worry about those sorts of workouts for a few months at least.
A major issue is strength training. I would normally be starting in the gym at this stage. However, as you’d expect, gyms are closed due to the pandemic, which leaves me with a few dumbbells and bodyweight exercises left. Plyometrics, which are of great benefit to sprinters are also an option. However, I am getting in some external (online) guidance and monitoring for my strength development, to keep me on track under what are normally difficult conditions for me. In the meantime, I am in the post season rest phase.
Another issue is my yoga, which I will be looking at online options for over the next few weeks. I have extended WiFi coverage so that I now have reliable WiFi in the backyard for using portable devices, which will allow me to use online services while training, and without using mobile data.
I am also considering purchasing some equipment to help with training, to get around what I can’t access. That will be considered on a case by case basis.
However, training and sport aren’t all there is to life. The other area severely impacted is social connection. I am one of those (apparently a minority) of social autistics who like to catch up with others regularly in reasonable numbers. I would normally attend coffee and other social groups of a few to a few dozen people. Again, this is not an option, with the need to keep physically isolated. Also, cafes are closed, to prevent people congregating in large numbers, to avoid spreading the virus. The lack of social connection is a potential mental health risk
Fortunately, in my struggles to overcome social isolation (back then due to undiagnosed autism) in my late teens and early 20s, I already had acquired the tools I needed to maintain a sense of social connection, as well as have other activities to occupy my time. Back then, my first solution was CB and later amateur radio to connect to others with common interests. So now, I am bringing my amateur radio station online, and have been spending time ironing out a few issues that have cropped up due to recent neglect. The local amateurs have also organised on air “nets” to regularly check in with each other and have a chat. These have been very enjoyable, and it’s been great to rediscover an old hobby of mine that perfectly fits the times. I have also been participating in online meetings using Zoom with other local club members.
Another old hobby back in the 90s was dialup bulletin boards. These were independent message and file stores that allowed users on most of the time, but shut down in the wee small hours to exchange messages and files with each other via modem. The modern BBS no longer uses modems, but uses the Internet instead. The Internet allows the systems to be accessed anytime from anywhere, and mail/file transfers occur immediately after messages are posted around the clock. While the BBS scene is nowhere near as active as it was in the 90s, it’s still a lot of fun. I’m fortunate in that I am able to chat to a large number of people without leaving home, thanks to my hobbies.
So here I am, still able to do some training and also remaining well connected to other people, without having to go near anyone. The government is saying that these measures will need to be in place for several months at least, and I now feel that I am able to use my knowledge and experience to not only survive, but thrive, and come out physically and mentally stronger on the other side of this. A couple of weeks ago, I had concerns - both physically and mentally, but now I am fairly confident that I have enough means in place to ride out this crisis and make progress, while adhering to the necessary social distancing and isolation measures.
Stay tuned to see how this pans out.
- Tony via Tumblr https://ift.tt/39lLWsg