Lessons learned in lockdown
As we approach the end of ‘heavy’ lockdown and enter the next phase of déconfinement I’ve been reflecting on what I’ve learned during the last 8 weeks.
1. There will always be people who think they are above the law.
The best thing to do is ignore and/or unfollow these culprits to avoid seeing their illicit ‘adventures’ on social media platforms.
I’m still learning this one.
2. A 1km radius from home is way better than nothing.
It’s also all I needed. I am so thankful I live right in the middle of Route de la Plagne and the Dereches/Parc de Santé. It means I have access to both a road running and trail running option. I have kept my runs varied by alternating the side of the road I run on, whether to do trail then road or road then trail, to go left or right, over that bridge or the next one etc. However, there has also been something mentally rewarding about eyeing up the end of Route de la Plagne and trying to run as fast as I can up there, with my tunes blaring and supporters clapping or smiling at me as I pass. Honestly, I’ve seen regulars along the road who’ve recognised me out running for the umpteenth time and have shown me encouragement; it’s been awesome! I’ve learned these routes and used them to my advantage depending on what I want out of my session, and it’s been more than enough.
Having said that, I’ll be glad to go elsewhere.
3. Laps, repetition and consistent training result in improvement.
I kind of know this, but lockdown has really hammered it home.
I wrote in my last post that I needed to remember it was still only March and that normally I would just be building up kilometers under my feet without trying to kill myself. Well, I’ve been running about 30k a week on top of my bike rides and classes. I’ve completed 8 weeks of the most consistent training I think I’ve ever done, following a programme delivered to me by Amelia through Training Peaks. It’s given me focus and ensured I wasn’t doing too much or too little (I’m not sure the latter was ever going to be a problem). Repetition of the same laps and types of workouts consistently has enabled me to monitor my progress more accurately. It’s been addictive, motivational, educational, and kept me occupied.
I hope to continue some of these workouts into the summer and be stricter with the quality of them.
The irony is though that I’ll be spending the next three days, and the first two of déconfinement resting up, freshening my mind, body and soul. Thankfully the weather forecast doesn’t look too great.
4. To rest.
So yes, I am taking a few days to reset but I’ve also appreciated being off my feet between sessions, taking baths, foam rollering before bed, getting my 8hrs of sleep as much as possible, and reminding myself that I can perform so much better by pulling back before going forward again. ‘Train hard, race easy’ isn’t necessarily true and taking the time to still exercise, but at a lower intensity, is better than going hard all the time. In the end we want to go our fastest on race day, not just get a Strava Personal Best on a Dereches segment every run.
5. Turbo training isn’t so bad.
I was dreading getting on the turbo. Joe, Amelia, and latterly Russ, have kept the sessions interesting, varied and challenging enough to keep going for 8 weeks! I gradually added resistance to the trainer and I’m looking forward to tackling the roads, hopefully fitter than I normally would be for the first ride of the year.
I’ve also learned the importance of turbo sessions and the ability to focus on quality intervals. I will look to incorporate one session a week in to my training.
Needless to say Hugo is looking forward to less whirring on the balcony, and I’m looking forward to actually cycling somewhere.
6. Teaching classes online is great.
No one knows if you haven’t showered between classes. There is minimal chit chat. Depending on which medium you’re using your class participants are silent, or you can mute them.
Connection failures aren’t soo great. When you ‘freeze’ on participants screens, the result can be less than favourable. I’ve taken to sharing screenshots of potentially less than desirable ‘poses’ on my Instagram stories for viewers to have a giggle.
7. Teaching online is also quite lonely.
I mean let’s face it, I’m really just talking at my phone screen with my face on it for up to an hour.
Lia has LOVED seeing herself in the camera screen and I think it’s fair to say she’s lit up all our days! 💛
8. The Internet is one of the most dangerous things in the world whilst simultaneously being one of the most incredible inventions to have existed.
I knew this already, but I believe this time in confinement has highlighted the Internet’s place in the world. The trick is managing our usage and then using it to our advantage. We have learned how we can connect, work and function virtually, more so than before. Scary, but also extremely clever.
I think many of us have learned to manage our internet usage more wisely and advantageously during this period.
9. Abs scare me.
Odd, I know. Let me explain.
So, everyone has a six pack. It’s the way your abdominal muscles form underneath however many layers of fat you may have. Imagine a quilt with stitching between the squares, that’s what your tummy muscles look like.
Abdominal muscles present themselves when there is less fat to cover them. The bigger the muscles are too, the more they’ll protrude. Getting a ‘six pack’ or a defined stomach is actually quite a challenge. Diet and exercise need to be on point.
One summer, a few years ago, I challenged myself to try and get the most defined abs I could. This didn’t end so well. I was pretty miserable and suffered with what is known as RED-s (Relative Energy Deficiency in Sports) or the Female Triad. I basically wasn’t eating enough for the amount I was doing. Getting my abs came at a cost, and my periods abandoned me for nearly a year. I thankfully caught myself before it got too bad. You can read more about that time in a post here.
Needless to say it is was a bit scary. I sort of knew what was going on, but also was in a weird headspace as to how to deal with it. I was offered Cognitive Behaviour Therapy by the doctor, but was due to return to the Alps for the winter season (I was living in London). I took it upon myself to get better. I read books (especially by Renee Mcgregor), listened to educational podcasts and immersed myself in work and play.
Over the course of the last 2 months, when there has not been much to focus on but exercise and food, I’ve found balancing both quite challenging (I’m sure I’m not alone!). Abs have returned, and more defined than they have been for a few years. Great! But with that comes the reminder of that summer and I’ve been questioning whether I’ve been eating enough, the right foods, at the right time, whether I’m still healthy, whether my energy levels are high enough, and most importantly whether my periods will stay consistent.
The lesson learned? Well, it is that I’m scared of abs because they bring back those memories and demons and that they’re still there, even though I thought I was doing so much better. However, I’ve also learned that I’m actually mentally stronger now, more educated and more goal driven towards performance than aesthetics, and this is healthier. I’ve come up with ideas to eat better this summer and hope this will all aid towards a summer of strong and solid training leading to some good races in the autumn.
I also need to get out! To think about other things, to eat socially again and not get wrapped up in this whacko conversation I have incessantly in my head.
10. I really do like cooking.
And that cooking really doesn’t need to be that complicated to get some healthy nutrients inside me. I’ve tried out a few new recipes and I’m proud to have expanded my repertoire so hopefully I’ll eat a more varied diet. For the next few months anyhow!
11. Hugo can bake!
I’ve learned though he doesn’t find it de-stressing, in fact the opposite and finds it quite stressful! Even more so with cooking. Or maybe he’s just putting it on…🤔
12. Sourdough isn’t for me.
But it is for my mum! She has smashed her sourdough bakes.
13. I don’t like calling people.
Regardless of having more time on my hands to call friends and family, and with the discovery of Zoom, I still don’t like spontaneously calling people. I hate the feeling of intruding on someone’s time and prefer to organise a chat. I realise the recipient can choose to not pick up or call back later, but then you have to wait for that call. And what if they then call you when you’re busy?
So I’ve still not spoken to as many people as I should have caught up with, nor as regularly as I have had the time to. But that doesn’t mean I don’t love you any less! I’d just much rather see you in person.
NB. Calling is still way better than messaging when it comes to clear communication with the ability to convey tone of voice, which is just SO important.
14. Hugo and I can live together.
Yep, he moved in for lockdown and is still here to this day. I’ve learned more about our relationship than maybe I would ever have done. Excuse the cliché, but thankfully Covid-19 didn’t break us but made us stronger. He makes me laugh and giggle so much, whilst still annoying the hell out of me, as I do him, but he is just a wonderful human being to have in my life.
15. I’d rather not survive without a hairdresser, a masseuse and someone to thread my eyebrows.
Sounds shallow, I agree. But honestly, I cannot wait to have all three of these next week – a haircut, a massage and my eyebrows threaded.
I should also mention that Hugo has been a total gem and massaged my limbs when I’ve asked (the foam roller only goes so far!), but neither of us have allowed the other near each other’s Barnets (or any other bodily hair for that matter!).
16. Mum and Dad
Mum and Dad aren’t a lesson learned but I don’t really know what the lesson to express is here, just that I appreciate them more than ever and I should never take my relationship with either of my parents for granted. My Mum especially has been there (at the end of Whatsapp!) on days when I felt crap, to virtually cook with and well, just chat to! She really is one of the closest people to me. That’s not to say my Dad isn’t ace too, but in different ways. He doesn’t want to deal with his crazy daughter all the time!
I am really looking forward to sharing their physical company again next week, having my long awaited hug, and of course seeing Olive!
It’s also their 34th wedding anniversary today, 10.05.2020 ❤️
17. Shopping in confinement is stressful.
We’ve been taking it in turns to have a trip out and hit the social hub that is Carrefour Market Saint Jean d’Aulps. Shopping for ourselves has been ok, but when my mum asked me to do a big stock up shop for them I left the supermarket exhausted and somewhat traumatised. My mother, bless her, had written items in the order that I’d find them in the supermarket. This massively helped, but sadly I didn’t always pick up the correct items first time. The stress as I then had to shamefully replace the touched item back on the shelf got my heart rate pumping and and my hands rather clammy. I also ended up running around the supermarket as we neared midday and the lights went out trying to locate the final items on the list.
Needless to say unpacking our smaller shop rather than my parents was rather soul destroying!
18. I didn’t have to learn a new skill.
A lot of people have used this time to be super productive, be creative and learn new skills. It’s brilliant! I felt this pressure at the beginning; the need to better myself, acquire a new skill, maybe a new qualification, but I just couldn’t muster the motivation. The winter had ended abruptly and I was in a funk. I was angry, sad, a bit scared, overwhelmed and didn’t know what to do.
I’ve learned that there is no need to progress myself in a quantifiable way, that taking these two months to just have some time out is probably exactly what I needed. Consolidate rather than progress.
I’ve made a promise to myself to not look back in the coming months on this period of confinement and berate myself for not having used this time to do x,y & z. Hopefully this post, along with photos will remind me of all that was achieved.
19. I think I know myself a little bit better.
We’ve all had to spend a little bit more time with ourselves and our thoughts. As I’ve highlighted this can have a negative impact on us, as well as a positive one. Being able to sit with our emotions, acknowledge them and deal with them is something I’ve not always been very good at. I’m still not very good at it now, but I think I’ve made some progress in addressing my emotions, finding the route of the problem (requiring honesty with myself!) and then working out the best way to manage them. I think this has also helped me with my relationships with other people, I hope!
I also know more of what I like doing and what I’ve really missed. To be honest, enjoying the time to read, listen to podcasts, write, cook, do jigsaw puzzles, watch films, stretch, practise my headstands, sleep in, has all been pretty pleasant. To the extent that I’m a little bit anxious about lockdown being lifted and my little bubble bursting. There’s no rush though and I’m lucky to have the liberty to gradually resume life beyond my flat. (And get back to earning some money!)
20. Everything will be ok.
As a natural do-er and go-er, I have had to slow down. I’ve not needed to do much or go anywhere. I’ve not had to adhere to any fixed timetable, apart from teaching a class once a week. I can prioritise and not overwhelm myself with a lack of time and have done things at a time to my pleasing. It’s highlighted to me that I need to prioritse more what’s important right in the moment and to be present. This doesn’t mean when things go back to normal I can take my sweet time over everything, and some things will need to be dealt with within a time frame, but taking a deep breathe to clear my head and organise myself is really important.
The world will keep spinning and everything will be ok.
Finally, two months really isn’t that long. How long will it take us to forget this time, to resort back to our old ways? Or, will we embrace what we have learned, make improvements and changes to better our lives?