You can’t really overcome it, you just have to strengthen your inner resolve not to engage with it…

The Current Situation

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit the globe and we have all been affected in some way or another. We may be on the front lines in healthcare, handling sick patients or at drug stores dispensing medicine to those that need it. These people are today’s heroes. More likely we are at home or at an empty office trying to do what we have to do to keep our professions going an the paycheck coming in. We might be out of work because our jobs have been closed down. We might have a house full of people – all trying to get things done, both old and young – on top of each other and maybe a little tense. It is not convenient. It is a sacrifice for the greater good. We need to stay away from each other to make things pass. In some states, it is now a misdemeanor crime to be out of your house.

What Are Runners Thinking?

In the running community of course we are so social – running groups, running teams, running Facebook pages, running group selfies (my goodness, the selfies!), running apps, running races…… Yes, some people do like to run solo already, which helps during these next weeks, but much of what we do is social!

I have seen a lot of complaining and whining about races being canceled. A lot of finger pointing has happened on who is to blame. Just think – it’s not just you. It’s everyone. There are no races anywhere for the foreseeable future. There are no group distance runs. There are no group track workouts. So what are you really missing out on? Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

A Casual Handshake

Our “triathlete Ironman bowler” friend John Mormando was at the bowling alley on March 1. One casual handshake…. and a few days later he was fighting the COVID-19 virus full on at the local hospital with severe chills and huge temperature spikes. It was one of the hardest things he’s ever had to face – and he was a breast cancer survivor. Thankfully he was released and is the first NJ resident to have lived through the virus (see interview here). Here is a guy who has done an Ironman – an athlete with multiple 300 bowling games – and the virus did not skip over him. How was he supposed to know that just 20 days ago we had to already practice social distancing? Being alive is much more important than the next race or the next group gathering. Hugging your family is more precious than getting that finishing medal.

Stop Complaining!

So to all runners now – stop complaining! Take this time to run solo. Enjoy the generally unseasonably warm weather and do some routes that you have never done before. There are some virtual races around – find them and, most of all, do them by yourself. Enjoy the time with your families. Enjoy this break that we have been given to SLOW DOWN. This is the time to nurse our nagging injuries. This is the time to do those core workouts that we have been neglecting. Maybe try a solo bike ride (on a real bike) to get some other exercise in. Play with your kids. Play online chess. Read a book. If you need a ‘night out’, order out from a local business to support them.

But still, I get it – the struggle is real, we cannot run like we want to (for now) – but every day is a step forward and we will get through this as we always do. There will be races again!! You will see people and run with them again. I promise!

Trials of Miles – Coach Nick

Nickolas Joannidis
Nickolas Joannidis
I have been running for over 35 years, having done practically every possible racing event or distance from the 100 meters through the marathon. I competed in varsity high school cross country and track at Saddle Brook High School in the mid-1980's, varsity cross country and track at Division II Pace University and finished well over 200 road races since then, including 20 marathons with a lifetime best of 3:14:50. I was the president of the Hoffmann LaRoche corporate running team for 7 years, growing the team from 25 to over 90 during his tenure. I coached many of these runners to achieve their goals, whether they were beginners or advanced. In 2011 I was an assistant coach for the Fair Lawn Recreation track team, helping the 10 to 14 year old group. I am currently personally coaching dozens of runners, from beginner levels to advanced levels and getting them to be prepared to meet their goals.

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