Athletes during COVID pandemic

“Marathon is like life. We have many courses in the world-flat courses, uphill and downhill. This period of Covid-19 is like an uphill course, where we need to live in a slow way, in a positive way, in order to finish the race well”, says world marathon icon Eliud Kipchoge. Who better to look up to than the idol himself.

Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge, the marathon world record holder, celebrates after a successful attempt to run a marathon in under two hours in Vienna, Austria, October 12, 2019. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

One may have come across a number of athletes announcing their early retirement. On the other hand, there are so many athletes who have managed to keep their dreams alive in the face of this global pandemic.

Global lockdown and social distancing have forced athletes all over the world to revise their daily practice routines. With games and tournaments in a quandary, it can be difficult to motivate oneself to train. It is also very hard to train due to the many restrictions. The discipline one would see on the track is extremely difficult to replicate at home. Training in isolation can affect an athlete’s mental wellbeing, and possibly their desire to exercise. Hope in these times can be really hard to find.

But we’re all in this together. It’s not just you and me but the whole world is fighting through this. We as humans have a choice to many of life’s impositions. These choices help us navigate through it. It is that ‘choice’ that we have to make right now. The motivation comes from not looking at this pandemic as a setback, but as an opportunity to change and just get better. There is more than enough time now to get bigger, stronger and faster. Sports teaches you to be adaptable and flexible. Athletes don’t normally work from home. But even Olympians have found themselves training in not-so-state-of-the-art facilities—often their living rooms, their balconies, or even their backyards.


Our athletes training indoors

There is still a lot you can do to stay fit, active and sane during these trying times even if you don’t have exercise equipment. One should make an exercise routine and pledge to start exercising regularly at home. There are plenty of exercises that can be done in the safety of our homes. Online platforms or streaming services are loaded with a variety of free and low-cost home workouts for all fitness levels and workout preferences. Being in an organised team environment surrounded by those with similar goals pushes one to train harder. Athletes should stay focused by encouraging balance in their daily lives.

We all need to find creative ways to push our limits and stay in top form. Everyone else is going through this as well. One gets more motivated and excited looking at all the other athletes from around the world and the different ways they’re adapting. It’s not about the medals, it’s about the culmination of a dream. Athletes should look to the future, to a time when Covid-19 has regressed. It might not be soon but they know they’ll be ready.