During the current COVID-19 pandemic, every athlete in the world has been put in the same situation, with competitions cancelled and training becoming much more difficult. Now, more than ever, the advice of experienced athletes is vital in overcoming these testing circumstances and continuing to achieve your training goals. Here are some top tips from three winter Olympians who were Athlete Role Models (ARMs) at the Winter YOG to help you to adapt.
It goes without saying that training and keeping in shape has become much more challenging during recent weeks and months, with the spread of coronavirus forcing athletes globally to make changes to their regimes. Nevertheless, the Olympic spirit has shone through with dozens of Olympians showing innovative and creative ways to exercise at home and in isolation.
In these tough times, it makes sense to look back at advice offered by those who have had to go through similar situations, be it through injury or other enforced breaks from training. John Morris, Hong Zhang and Patrick Chan were all ARMS at the Winter Youth Olympic Games (YOG) Lausanne 2020, and they had some words of wisdom during their Chat with Champions sessions during the YOG.
Trying something new
Thanks to the sport in which he competes, Canadian curler and two-time Olympic champion John Morris is used to having long breaks from action.
“In curling, we don’t have ice in the summer, so we have to have a break,” says John. “We do different types of activities like yoga, biking or going for runs. It’s still training but it’s not the same and helps prevent burnout.”
Are you sure that is one meter!! 😆 https://t.co/H5iPeDcu1u— John Morris (@johnnymocurler) March 21, 2020
While the situation will differ for almost every athlete globally, trying out different sports and exercises can be a great way to keep your fitness up and build motivation for a return to your main sport.
“I find that when I come back, I’m refreshed and I’m really keen to get back to curling.”
Staying mentally fit
The other athletes took questions on how important the mental aspect of sport is when unable to practise for large amounts of time. Chinese speed skater Hong Zhang and Canadian figure skater Patrick Chan had advice to share.
For Hong, focusing on the present is the way to succeed. By zeroing in on the short-term, it is easier to stay inspired and build towards a goal.
“The way to stay motivated is to think short-term rather than long-term,” she says. “Don’t think in terms of months, seasons or years, just take it day by day. It’s important not to look too far ahead.”
When Chan was younger, he went through a period of being alone, too, as he left his home country to train on the way to becoming one of the most recognisable figures in his sport.
“I experienced training by myself when I left high school in Canada to go and train in the United States,” he revealed. “I was training in Florida for two years, and as a figure skater in Florida there’s no one there, so it was very hard.
“It’s not easy, but with the technology available these days you can watch what other competitors are doing to try to keep yourself motivated.”
And one final tip from the three-time Olympic medallist? Play the right tracks!
“Have a good playlist as well. Choose music that pumps you up!”