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  • Writer's pictureDion Finocchiaro

How I've tried to stay sane during lockdown

Ok, so I recently did a challenging speed session and realised an hour or so after that I had zero thoughts of the world of Covid-19. So, it got me thinking.

Being based in Melbourne, Victoria, I’ve been one of many who have experienced more than 200 days in lockdown, missed countless opportunities to race, been unable to see friends, family or work for long periods. It has been a challenging 18 months personally to feel motivated, keep a positive outlook and continue working on any goals. Working as a remedial massage therapist has been up and down to put it nicely. One month I’m able to work, the next we are back in lockdown and paid work becomes a distant memory.

What are some ways that I’ve been able to cope with the ever-changing environment?

Goals in life are the biggest motivators that I have. Whether it’s a fitness target or lockdown hobby, I’ve managed to find a few joys that keep the fire inside burning from day to day. Some hobbies I’ve taken up include making a courtyard garden, learning about the power of compounding in the stock markets and most importantly, starting up Evolve Run Club.

I honestly don’t know how I would have coped through 2020 and so far through 2021 without the amazing community of the Evolve family. Running with many of the team throughout the weeks and months while seeing so many progress has given me so much joy. It really has become an incredible community.

Some of the running goals I had were to do a 100km run, which I did in June 2020. Another was to do a 50km race around an athletics track with 3 other friends in an attempt for one of us to break the Australian 50km record, which I did in a time of 2hrs 50mins and 49 seconds. Other goals have been to run in new locations when I’ve been able to travel more than 5km from home, try to get some big mileage weeks and lastly some Strava segment CR’s and Strava Local Legend status’s.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve struggled on and off multiple times. I’ve had days where I didn’t leave the house at all and just watched Netflix all day feeling sad and disappointed about the state of the world. Many people will find life challenging at some point through covid and that’s fine.

There is no right or wrong way to deal with the uncertainty of the world right now. At the end of the day, we just need to find something that gives us the spark each day to keep our internal fire burning for the day when life can somewhat resemble the way things once were. Simpler times when we could travel across town to see our friends and family, go on a holiday after working hard for months on end, sending our children off to school knowing they won’t be sent home with their books to be home schooled for weeks or months off no notice.

For me, I’ve really enjoyed the feeling of pushing myself to train everyday and strive for some structure in my day. It involves waking up and getting my main run for the day done, then resting throughout the daytime and doing some online coaching, then getting to the afternoon and doing an easy recovery run. I’ll aim to do 2 or 3 hard interval sessions and 1 or 2 long runs per week. The feeling I get during these runs is where I totally drift off in the moment of being one with my body and mind. Sensing my heart rate, how my legs feel on the day, are my lungs are responding or listening to the trees, wind and birds. Sometimes I’ll chuck on a podcast or music playlist of my favourite artists I’ve built up over the years, some days I feel like I could run all day listening to music.

The latest session I did around a 1.5km loop at Elsternwick park was 3km at 3:17/km, then 5 x 400m at 3:00/km and another 3km at 3:14/km. A total distance of 22km at 4:02/km. I had no company, music or thoughts beside the urgency of getting through my interval and holding my pace. Once I finished each interval my goal was to walk and lower my heart rate as much as possible before the next rep started 60 seconds later. It was the kind of run where I finished and hours later realised that I had totally forgotten about the covid world we are in. It was amazing.

I often feel like this during and after my long runs too. Especially the ones where I run a little bit faster and add in intervals throughout. I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea but for me it keeps me going.

Aside from challenging runs, I’ve really enjoyed been able to focus on my recovery. From foam rolling, stretching, sleeping more, getting regular massage, strength and conditioning or getting into my NormaTec boots. Not one of these alone are the secret answer to being a resilient athlete, but they won’t do you a disservice that’s for sure.

I’d be interested to hear what keeps you going and some learnings that you got from reading this.

If you’d like some guidance with your running and have more structure to your running, reach out to myself or one of the coaches at Evolve Run Club.

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