We’ve been instructed to avoid group exercise, and for good reason. Social distancing is a critical tactic in our fight against the spread of COVID-19.
As an athlete this new reality could be disruptive for you, but these strange times might also have a silver lining. If you can train alone on your daily journey — and be content while doing so — then you’ve mastered an important tool that will help keep you active and athletic forever.
Turn Your Focus Inward
One of my secrets to a being a lifelong athlete is my ability to persevere quietly and privately, avoiding the froth and FOMO of too much data and too much sensory overload (much of it from social media). By turning my attention inward for a couple hours during a workout, I become a better person, husband, coach and partner for the rest of the day.
We learn new things about ourselves while training solo. We begin to understand the nuances of “perceived exertion”, and are rewarded and penalized as we explore the wide range of our capabilities without the influence of others. It should be no surprise to learn that many of the world’s greatest athletes conduct much of their training alone.
Unplug and Test Yourself
This past Tuesday, I rode by myself from Tucson to Sonoita: 134 miles of freedom! No buddies, no GPS, no music… just lots of calm thoughts. Without the constant distractions of speed or watts, I cycled by feel and experimented with my effort. No disrespect to my training pals, but it was my favorite ride of the year. I returned home tired but centered, inspired and motivated from my session.
Who knows how long this pandemic will continue? As we march though these difficult times, embrace your solo training. Let’s nurture our strength as endurance athletes by [re]discovering the pleasure of going it alone.