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Finding Motivation and Joy in Quarantine

by Chris DeSousa

When everyone left school in March, I think it is safe to say that we were looking forward to a week or two of virtual school because we thought it would be a nice break from the madness of our school days--wake up early, class all day, practice after school, home late, quick dinner, and hours of homework. No one would have thought that we would still be out of school two and a half months later, no one would have thought that online school would be as frustrating as it sometimes can be, and certainly, no one would have thought that our spring track season would be canceled. After a great cross country season and a winter track season where we had our eye on Outdoor Track, the cancellation was a disappointment. My junior friends and I had plans for a big spring season but knew that we had to look to the future and not dwell on what-could-have-been.

Chris enjoying Radix with his teammates

Because we have not been together, some people may be finding it difficult to train. There are two options: stop running altogether or continue to train. Would anyone honestly know if you took a few months off? Maybe not. The first cross country meets are not until September, at best. I guess someone could start practicing again in July and be ready for a fall season. However, the other members of CBA XC and I continue to train and find motivation during times like this. Running has become part of who we are and is a needed outlet during this quarantine. Small things, like meeting up with a teammate to go on a (socially distanced) run or having a virtual team meeting, can get you through a week and keep you connected.

I have also found that this time is a good time to focus on other areas of my fitness to help my body perform better. My nutrition and sleep habits have improved and have made a huge difference in how I feel on my runs. During the school year, I would average around 7 hours of sleep each night. I needed to be up early to commute to school and usually would not get to bed until 11 or so after finishing my homework. During my long school day, I would try to eat three meals, but breakfast was often rushed and lunch could be at 10 am or 2 pm, depending on my schedule. During the quarantine, I have been getting 9-10 hours of sleep a night and have learned to prepare healthy breakfasts and lunches.

Part of training alone has been learning to know when to push it and when to rest. When we were training as a team, I was in a group and ran at the group’s pace and on their route, but I have been basing my training on a day-to-day schedule. For example, if I feel sore the day after doing a workout and lifting, I may shorten a run to 45 or 50 min because doing too much can affect how you feel later in the week.

DeSousa (author) crushing a run at Radix

I am still training like I would during Spring Track season. A week of training during quarantine: Monday workout (usually 1k’s with 200’s at the end), Tuesday recovery (50-60 min), Wednesday normal run (60 min), Thursday normal run (60 min), Friday speed workout (400’s and 200’s), Saturday long run (75-85 min), and Sunday rest and recovery (usually consisting of a full day of fishing). The most important thing to ask yourself when you are training is: are you having fun? It can be easy to have little motivation and lose sight of having fun when you find yourself running alone. I have managed to keep motivated and have fun by finding many different trails, parks, and towns that are great to run through that I had never known about. Although I miss having the camaraderie of my CBA teammates, I have learned how to adapt and find joy in running alone. Until I get to run with my team again, I am making the best of the situation.

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