What Endurance Athletes Can Teach us about Getting Through the Pandemic

Many people see sport as a microcosm of life itself.

How we compete, how we train, how we handle winning and losing — what we do in our sport is a reflection of our how we manage the rest of our life.

And it works the other way, too.

More, sport gives us a chance to develop new skills, both physical and psychological, that can carry over into the rest of our lives.

For most of us right now, dealing with COVID-19 has upended our lives, both physically and psychologically.

And now that dealing with COVID looks more like an ultra marathon than a sprint, the New York Times suggests that we may want to ask, “What can Endurance Athletes Teach Us about Getting Through the Pandemic?

The lessons are simple.

You don’t need to be an endurance athlete, or an athlete at all, to ponder how the ideas that propel those athletes can help us endure the pandemic.

Read the article (linked above) for more details, but the gist:

  1. Patience — Like an ultra race, dealing with the pandemic will take a long time and often be unpleasant. Knowing this in advance (and planning for it), can make it easier to tolerate and get through the tough times.
  2. Pacing — In a long race, you don’t want to go out too fast only to falter at the end. In the pandemic, how can you do the same?
  3. Process (instead of Outcome) — Break things down into smaller parts that you can focus on and over which you have some control. Pay attention to the little things along the way rather than the overwhelming big picture.
  4. Purpose — Know why you are doing what you’re doing. In the case of the pandemic, acting in a way that benefits others may be the best “reason why.”

If you’re an endurance athlete, what other lessons have you learned from racing that can carry over into these challenging times?