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Staying Motivated During the Coronavirus Pandemic

March 25, 2020, 1:24 p.m. (ET)



No one likes the situation we're in, but we're here and we need to make the best of it. A number of events have been and will be rescheduled in such a way that they might as well be a different event. It is very likely that large events through May or June will not be held, and potentially the entire summer season.


I would not want to take a shot at predicting any further, but it will all depend on if we as a world are able to contain, cure, vaccinate, and eradicate, and what the timetable for all that is.  Suffice it to say, the spring and summer seasons appears glum with regards to large scale athletic events. I am hopeful that things are under control for later summer and fall events.


What does that mean for you?  While it will be personally disappointing to have to miss your planned events, it behooves you to maintain your healthy life and exercise routines.


One part of having a strong immune system is being fit.


Another is getting good sleep.


A third revolves around a healthy diet and post workout nutrition.


Lastly, avoid stress (bad for your health) and panic (bad for your mental state). There is a large piece of mental health involved with long periods of social isolation. Read more here.


Regarding training, my coach advice is to continue to train as if your event will not be cancelled, as well as possible. Make your race day a virtual event that you finish regardless. If it was a spring Ironman or 70.3, you could afford to shorten the actual distance somewhat to mitigate the impact on your immune system. For sprints- and Olympic-distance triathlons and shorter running events, go ahead and complete as planned. Don't let this disruption stop you in your tracks. Things will return to normal. We will win.

We are going to face serious challenges regarding access to pools, gyms, and even group workouts. If you live near a lake, prepare for a lot of open water swimming. Now is a great time to organize that home gym you've been talking about. Equipment like TRXswim cordzkettlebells, and exercise balls (video links) can carry you through.


As endurance athletes, we have the mental fortitude to do quite a bit, or all, of our training alone, so you're ahead of the curve on this one.


Don't get discouraged or depressed about things that are beyond your control. Do the best you can, and keep on keeping on!


Stay safe, stay healthy, stay positive.


Marty Gaal, CSCS, has been a USA Triathlon coach since 2003 and is the head coach for One Step Beyond, based in North Carolina. You can read more about services at


The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and not necessarily the practices of USA Triathlon. Before starting any new diet or exercise program, you should check with your physician and/or coach.