The title of this article suggests a psychological study, an in-depth scrutiny of methodology and language to ease the pain and stress of unparalleled times. While I'm sure that serves a wonderful purpose, in this article, we're going straight to first-person sources to learn how some of Texas' track & field athletes have maintained themselves through a season in disarray. This is a human-interest angle and not a research-based analysis.
Athletes were asked to respond to two very simple questions, of which they could reply with as much or as little as they felt compelled. The two questions and their answers are below.
How have you trained to say in shape - physically - during the pandemic?
With school now transitioned to eLearning, what have you done to maintain an emotional and mental balance while sheltered at home, away from friends and school functions?
---Adam Clark, The Woodlands, High Jumper and future Arkansas Razorback
With the pandemic going on, myself and a couple of teammates have been working out with things out of our comfort zone. With me being a jumper, it's hard to get the work I need in because we are technically not supposed to use the high jump pit at our campus, but I have found a way to get what I need to do in. Usually just the basics of 2-step approaches and working my form, just so I stay comfy going into the college level next year.
I tend to spend a lot of my time now online with my friends on video games and Zoom calls. After my school work is complete, I will work out and share what I did with my friends, and we will have little competitions. But I am mainly with my family making memories as the time passes by in order to keep busy and to keep my mind off of the season that my teammates and I have lost.
---Jose Garcia, Harlingen rising Senior
I have spent a lot of my quarantined time working out by running around my neighborhood and doing lots of innovative home workouts so I can maintain my physical shape and hopefully be able to get better for next season, given that my resources are limited
I have been staying in contact with close friends of mine, but the biggest thing that has helped me stay emotionally sane is my family. I have lots of brothers, and we all get along really well, so it's almost like I have friends at home, too.
---Bailey Goggans, Marble Falls rising Senior
I've been training on my own, and since there is a golf course in my neighborhood, I've been using it for most of my runs.
It has been pretty tough not being able to go to school and see my friends, but I've been spending lots of time outdoors and with my family, which has helped a lot. I've also been trying to keep myself busy by trying new things such as baking.
---Brynn Brown, Denton Guyer rising Senior
Training: Personally, I've been looking at this time as a huge opportunity to get in some good work. Without school and other stressors, I've been able to take my training up a notch, which has been a game-changer. I've been running, cross training and lifting to fill the long days of isolation. Really just using this time to truly learn what enjoying the process means. And it's safe to say, I'm loving it! Lastly, I've been using this time to improve my nutrition, sleep, recovery, mobility routines, mindfulness, and all the miniscule things that add up to pay massive dividends down the road.
School: I'm someone who craves routine and structure, so online school is a crucial outlet for me during these times. I've also been using all the extra time to prep for upcoming ACTs and SATs in the fall. However, I do miss my coaches, teachers, classmates, and teammates, and can't wait to sit in a physical classroom again.
Mental balance: As someone who is introverted, I at first loved the idea of social isolation. But I've come to realize how important building relationships and social interaction is. I still train with a small group, and find that going on runs with them is often the highlight of my day. I've gotten some quality family time though that I usually would get when my days are heavily occupied with my studies, training, clubs, etc. This unprecedented time has made me realize how much I take the littlest things for granted. Running is also a fantastic stress reliever, so I'm super grateful we can continue to enjoy running outdoors!
---Michael Parrish, Dallas Bishop Lynch rising Senior
During this pandemic, I have been working out 6 days a week 2 times a day. One workout is dedicated to running and agility, whether it is resisted sprints, or using the parachute, and one workout in the weight room focusing on strength, muscular endurance, and explosiveness.
Zoom has been a big help for me during this e-learning time, and it has helped drastically being able to communicate with all of my teachers. Although I am stuck without being able to see people, it has made me realize what I need to focus on-which is school and then track and field.
---James Ware, Humble Summer Creek and future SAGU Lion
Yes, sir, I've been staying in shape running around the neighborhood.
With school, if it's a subject I'm struggling in, I would look up learning videos on YouTube. Also with friend/coaches, the Zoom app helps us stay in touch.
---John 'JD' Brice, Newcastle senior and future West Texas A&M Buffalo
It's been pretty tough not being able to work out with my teammates during all of this, but I'm lucky to have a job that requires a lot of physical activity, whether it be fixing fences or catching a calf that gets loose. It's also nice to have a twin to puch me to do home workouts later in the evening. A lot of the workouts now are more geared toward endurance rather than strength due to only having some dumbbells and doing bodyweight exercises.
I've gotten to spend a lot more time annoying my family than I normally do due to school being online, and being able to take a break from schoolwork to play with my dog has made things a lot more enjoyable. I've still been able to keep up with all of my friends through social media, and we still kind of get to compete together by teaming up together on video games.
---Ashton Chiakpo, Fort Bend Travis
Regardless if we're in season or out of season, maintaining a balanced and healthy diet is important. Everyday I try my best to get 4 miles in, whether it's just walking or a mixture of running and jogging.
With school, now that it has been transitioned to eLearning, the way I maintain an emotional and mental balance is by praying. Without putting God first, nothing is possible. Also, listening to music definitely plays a role. It's keeping me motivated and keeps me sane.
---Brenna Bottoms, Nevada Community, rising Senior
I've been doing ab workouts and running a few times a week.
I'm making sure I'm in touch with all my friends and family I can't see right now.
---Kenondra Davis, Fort Worth Trimble Tech, rising Senior
I have been going to the track, practicing social distancing, keeping a distance from others, and if I touch anything, I make sure I use hand sanitizer right after. I've been training five days a week, three days following the workouts sent by my high school coach and two days with my private coach. I'm blessed to be in a situation where my school and private coach work together to assure I'm ready to go when the time arrives to compete again. I don't have access to weights, so at home I've been doing a lot of body-weight training.
Well, our online learning is basically on our pace; as long as you stay on track, you're good. You could get ahead if you want. Some people have actually finished some of the courses. I plan to get ahead and finish early, as well. So, I haven't been having a problem at all with schoolwork; it has been a breeze. I just really miss the school environment. I didn't think I'll ever say this, but I really miss school!
---Destini Jeter, Wylie East and future Oklahoma Sooner
In the beginning, it was difficult because I was prepared to have the best season of my high school career. I understand the severity of COVID-19, so I stayed focused on my online studies, part-time job, and personal workouts.
I maintain balance through friendships by calls, texts and also social media.