Keep your chin up - 2020 Pandemic note

Wow. We are in the midst of a once in a lifetime (hopefully) event. Things are not the same. Everything has been cancelled or shut down. All your normal routines have been disrupted, you are potentially out of work, and you're anxious about going shopping at your local grocery store.

It is not business as usual. How can we keep our heads about us during a time like this?

Number one is to listen to the scientists right now. Keep your social distance. Wash your hands. Disinfect frequently touched surfaces and keep your fingers out of your nose. Wear a face mask when you go to the store.

Numbers two through whatever: Do your best to stay patient with your co-habitants. Do your best to stay calm and find those quiet moments to help you get through your day. Take your days one day at a time.

If you're fortunate enough to be working from home, be grateful. If you work in an industry where you are exposed to other people, do everything you can to stay safe. Don't take chances.

Regarding exercise and training. It's unlikely we'll see large scale events anytime soon. This puts quite a damper on goal setting! So you need to focus on the health and long term benefits of formalized training. If you stay fit now, it will make returning to an actual peak and taper program significantly easier.

In the short term, it really may help you stay motivated to sign up for some virtual events. A number of organizations have set up races that you can participate in.

You can use online cycling programs to set up trainer workouts with your friends and your new virtual buddies.

I have personally found yoga to be very helpful managing anxiety and stress right now, let alone the physical benefits. There are a bunch of good yoga videos out there, and you can do these in a live class with your local yogis as well.

Keep to a routine. Don't let yourself fall into a slump. Wash your face and brush your teeth!

If you have children at home, do your best to help them manage. You are now a teacher's assistant, a parent, and their go-to playmate. The CDC has resources that can help.

If you are personally having a hard time, seek out specific ways to maintain your mental health, and don't be afraid to find personal counseling if you need to.

Don't be afraid to reach out to your friends to set up online happy hours. It's great to be the strong, silent type. You can still do that on Zoom. :)

We hope you and yours are healthy and stay well.

To all our training and racing friends: We miss you!

Marty Gaal, CSCS, is a USA Triathlon coach who lives in the Triangle area of North Carolina. Marty has been coaching endurance athletes since 2002. You can read more about OSB coaching services at

One Step Beyond is the producer of the Powerstroke®: Speed through force and form freestyle technique DVD, intended to help new to intermediate triathlon swimmers become faster and more powerful in the water.