fitness · training

Endurance tips for life these days (2 of 3)

Hi readers! As part of our continuing coverage of life in these unusual times, we asked our bloggers to comment on their experiences of long-term training and long-term projects. What is it like to be immersed in a process that’s important, for which the outcome is uncertain– in terms of time and what it will be like? How do you manage the discipline, the repetition, the discomfort, the uncertainty?

We’re posting their replies this Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 2pm. We would love it if you would add your comments and offer your own tips from your training experiences. How are they helping you (or not!) during this time of sheltering and isolating in one place? We’ll post those comments in a separate post next Monday.

If you want to (re)read Monday’s post, check it out here.

Here’s what Emm has to say about endurance from a weight training perspective:

Resilience in weightlifting looks like sticking with it for the long term–consistent, hard work week after week, year after year, in order to get results. I’ve been lifting for about 5 years now, and research suggests that it could be as much as 5-7 more years of consistent training to approach my personal, genetic potential.

So, how do I keep at it, especially when the public conversation is about quick transformations? I focus on what I’m doing in the moment and the immediate benefits I am getting from it, not my long term goals and aspirations. In the moment, while I’m lifting, I focus on what I’m doing, how it feels, and how I’m benefiting. It feels good to use my muscles, to feel strong and capable, to be able to do a little more today than I could yesterday.

The lesson from this for my current situation is to focus on small, immediate successes rather than the long term. Right now, I will benefit from staying present and taking the time to enjoy and appreciate what is working for me. This will help me reinforce these helpful decisions and may also reduce any stress from thinking about all the unknowns of the future. As I’m making breakfast, I appreciate that I’ve taken the time to make a balanced meal that will give me energy for the hours ahead. I notice the smell, taste and appearance of my breakfast, and I avoid multitasking while I’m eating it. Gold star! I’ve accomplished breakfast! Now, on to the next task.

A little girl in a Wonder Woman outfit, with a big gold star. Photo by Gabriela Braga on Unsplash.
A little girl in a Wonder Woman outfit, with a big gold star. Photo by Gabriela Braga on Unsplash.

Next up is Cate, talking about running and grit:

For me it’s about the grit piece — reminding myself that the hard parts are momentary and there will be ease in another kilometre, or that I can get through things that are very difficult. When I was running marathons and was facing a hard mile or the last tough 10 minutes of a run I would tell myself “you could run 10 minutes in a nightgown with a fever — you can do this.” I probably wouldn’t use the fever analogy now (!) but the notion of reminding myself that I have the fortitude I need right now is really important.

When I typed in "fortitude" to Unsplash, this came up. It's a picture of Mister Fitz' ice cream place-- the building is bubblegum pink! I hope Cate likes it. Photo by Handy Wicaksono on Unsplash.
When I typed in “fortitude” to Unsplash, this came up. I hope Cate likes it. Photo by Handy Wicaksono on Unsplash.

Finally, here’s Bettina on navigating the ups and downs:

So far, I’ve been dealing with the lockdown better than I would have anticipated. I won’t lie, as bad as this is, it’s catching me in fairly ideal circumstances: I can do essentially my entire job from home, we have a big flat with enough space for husband and I to work without getting on each other’s nerves, we have a beautiful terrace, and we can still go outside to exercise, we don’t have children or parents to care for. Plus the weather has been gorgeous, which has definitely helped. We are incredibly privileged.

Even so, I had one day last week where I was irritable in a way I don’t usually get. Mostly, I was annoyed with colleagues not reading their email and sticking to instructions properly. It wasn’t helped by back-to-back videoconferences from 10am to 5pm. At the end of the work day, I was the grumpiest. Then I went out for a run, and it was a complete game changer. It really helped me calm down and get back into a more balanced outlook on things.

Overall, the ups-and-downs remind me of my half-marathon training last year, but also of writing my PhD thesis. The bad days are like a bad long run that you slog through, or like an 8h-day of transcribing interviews. The good days are like a day where the running just flows, or a day where you get so deep into the writing zone that the words just flow.

A staircase, which goes both up and down. Gorgeous photo by Stefan Steinbauer on Unsplash. Geometric lines of the stairs and a wallpaper railing going up and down. Colors: sea blue and soft light green. Two windows.
A staircase, which goes both up and down. Gorgeous photo by Stefan Steinbauer on Unsplash.

Dear readers: how are you putting your physical training or other long-haul experiences to work these days? We’d love to hear from you, and will post your comments next week (let us know in the comments if you prefer not, which is fine).

2 thoughts on “Endurance tips for life these days (2 of 3)

  1. Thanks for collating this, Catherine — I appreciate the strength in every one of these voices.

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