Shelter In Place Day 7 has come and gone, but not without a lot of time contemplating how to navigate through this.

Each day it becomes more apparent than this is not going to be a two week stint. No, as the stats come in it is looking more like a few months of serious restrictions on where we can go and what we are able to do. China is ready to lift it’s restrictions on Wuhan where the COVID-19 first took hold. That came after a two and a half month lockdown. Are we going to get through this in 14? I don’t think so.

Situations in life like this where challenges appear that can seem daunting usually get me reflecting back on how I managed moments of a like kind in racing. On the surface, they may seem completely different.

This is a global pandemic where nearly every citizen on earth is going to have to pitch in to get it under control without things getting completely out of control. A race is basically me against a host of challenges that, depending on how I manage them, can mean the difference between a good race and a poor one. But even in the worst scenario, a bad day on the race course isn’t going to put my life or the life of anyone else at risk.

But here are the similarities. Both have dynamics that are affecting how the journey unfolds. I had to manage Shelter In Place Day 7 with life at home and a whole lot of opportunities wiped off the calendar. A race doing downhill is quite the same. The dream of victory can turn into a struggle to finish.

The strategies we employ to address the specifics will be different. But from racing I learned a key tool. It’s something I am now using to bring as much grace and peace to the daily journey of pandemic management that I can. And here is what it is.

The only thing I could change in a race when I found myself wanting to come up with a reason good enough to quit were the thoughts I was telling myself. It was too late to ask myself if I should have done more training or less training. It was too late to undo whatever got me in that bad predicament. But I could swap my negative thoughts for positive ones. I could exchange mental chatter for internal quietness.

So I went to that space today. I just got my mind to be quiet.It’s pretty simple to do actually. Just take a deep breathe, then exhale with a little extra force. Now hold it out for a few seconds before breathing back in. Okay, there it is…quiet.

And when I did that something came to me. It was a thought of what to focus on during this time that will become my go-to mantra as much as needed during this unfolding and ever changing situation. Check out this video. It explains what that guiding thought is. Enjoy!

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About the author Mark Allen More information on the author

I am the Founder and CEO at Mark Allen Coaching. I am proud to have been voted in an ESPN global poll "The Greatest Endurance Athlete Of All Time." During my multi-sport career I won the Ironman Triathlon World Championship six time, the inaugural Triathlon World Championship at the Olympic Distance in Avignon, France, and at one point in my career I won 21 straight races across every derivation and distance. It was a great career, but that's all it would ever be unless I was able to share all of the experience and methodology we invented long before smart watches, power meters, and flashy uniforms. That's why I started Mark Allen Coaching, as a way to return to others at least the part of the gifts I received.

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