Racing and Training: How to Cope with the Coronavirus Anxiety

As the coronavirus spreads, more and more endurance events all over the world have either been cancelled or postponed. Travel restrictions have also been put in place in heavily-affected countries.

Here is a list of some endurance events in Asia that have been affected:

  • Tokyo Marathon: only elites were allowed to race.
  • 5150 Tagum-Philippines: moved from February 23 to May 3, 2020
  • Ironman 70.3 Davao: moved from March 22 to May 10, 2020
  • Clark Animo International Marathon: Moved from March 8 to May 10, 2020
  • Challenge Taiwan: Athletes coming from China, Hong Kong, Macau, Korea, Japan and Italy were told to defer their entry to 2021 race.
  • WTS Abu Dhabi: March 5-7 postponed to a TBD date.
  • Ironman Taiwan: Cancelled its March 2020 race
  • Super League Bali: moved from April 4-5 to June 13-14, 2020

Amidst the scare, some events in countries with low number of reported cases have managed to stage their events, biggest of which is Ironman 70.3 Bangsaen in Thailand. Around 2000 participants joined its February 23 event. Smaller local races in Philippines and Malaysia have also went on in holding their races on their original dates.

Organizers have also put on measures like alcohol and hand sanitizer stations all over important race central venues. They also encouraged those having flu-like symptoms to stay home and rest.

With all the anxiety, fear or panic, what would an age grouper do to cope with all of these?

It is perfectly normal to feel anxiety about this emerging health scare. The coronavirus (COVID-19) can be a deadly disease, but with the facts from medical experts, we also know it is most likely deadly to older people and people who already have a weakened immune system.

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The mortality rate is 2.3%, lower than SARS (around 10%) but higher than the common flu which has a .01% (according to US CDC).

From sciencenews.org:

The death rate also varies by age, with children, teens and young adults rarely dying, the case data from China show. Older people, especially those with heart disease and other conditions are more likely to die. Middle-aged and elderly adults are most likely to contract the virus, while children and teenagers rarely get infected, but can spread the disease.

credit: from sciencenews.org

With this information, how do we move on in our daily lives, and manage training and racing amidst the health scare?

Here are some practical tips:

  • Athletes engaging the multi-sport lifestyle have generally robust immune systems. Be wary though of over-training, and the period after a grueling race or training block- this is the period where all athletes’ immune system are compromised. Make sure to follow proper recovery guidelines.
  • Keep your immune system in check. A healthy immune system is a balance of having a balanced diet and getting the the right amount of restful sleep.
  • Self-hygiene is a must. Always sanitize your hands by thorough washing with warm water and soap or use alcohol/sanitizer. When travelling to race or in airports, carry a small alcohol bottle/hand sanitizer with you (under 100ml is usually allowed), and always use frequently and generously in sanitizing your hands.
  • If you are racing, avoid contact through handshakes or hugs.
  • Ask the organizers to put in hand sanitizing stations if they did not mobilize.
  • If you are feeling sick, or having flu-like symptoms, it is best to DNS that race or rest at home instead of training. You will be adding to the scare if you keep on coughing at public places. If you are sick (with common cold or flu), wear a mask to protect other people from being infected by you.
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Do not add to the scare and anxiety by inflating the risk yourself. When you over consume the news from media organizations, and over share them in your personal social media accounts, we become part of the problem. Worst is sharing hoax and fake news.

Scientists and public health officials are working overtime to mitigate its impact. Put trust in their efforts. Disease outbreaks like this occur throughout the world from time to time. As with any fear, scare or anxiety, if you follow common-sense precautions and also focus on mindfulness, we could move on with our daily tasks without additional stress brought on by this crisis.

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