Training and COVID
Good morning skiers,
As I write this note, I look at the rain-soaked greening grass and notice that the leaves are about to burst on the trees in our yards. This means that we have found our way to May which is the auspicious month when the 2020-2021 ski season begins. And, as we know, skiers are made in the summer. This, contrary to what some might think, does not mean that in May we begin logging hundreds of hours or doing intense rollerski intervals. Quite the contrary. It is the month when we begin slowly, gently and ever so carefully refilling our buckets. It is a time to take long adventures on your crust skies, running shoes or hiking boots. It is a time to train mostly alone so that you can listen to the most important voice, the voice of your body. If your body tells you that it is enjoying and appreciating the hours, then it may be time to spend a little bit of time rebuilding your strength in T, Th Zoom core and yoga sessions and training once or twice a week with a training buddy.
The challenges of returning to team training this year are something that none of us have ever had. None of us, coaches included, have all of the tools to handle the COVID-19 pandemic without flaw. However, we are lucky. We have the capacity to understand the microbiology behind disease transmission and we have good governing bodies, such as the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC), to help. Only days ago the USOPC published a document that gives us guidelines for slowly returning to organized practice. To say that this is “team practice” is not quite true in the traditional sense. We will be following these guidelines in order to add one practice each week. This practice will be on Wednesdays and will be offered at 3X each Wednesday. Each one of you who plans to train with us on those days will need to select one of the three below training times / groups. Now here’s the clincher, once select your group, you have to stay with it!! So, select wisely. You need to Signup here so we don't have too many people in a group.
We will all stay 6 feet away from individuals with whom you have not regularly been swapping microbiota. And also remember, it’s most important to observe this distance with the people most at risk. Below is a graph that shows who is most at risk. To personalize this, we could say that Little Nathan has almost no risk; Matt, Silas and nearly everyone else have very low risk. Coach Bryan and Nathan have higher risk; Coach Rachel has higher risk than Coach Nathan and Coach Christi has higher risk than Coach Rachel. Finally, Mamma Watson has the highest risk. And it’s important to note that Rachel and Christi would like to be able to continue to see Mamma Watson. Now we don’t know if, in practice these individuals would actually manifest with severe symptoms if infected. In fact, it is possible that Coach Christi and Rachel already had COVID. Remember how sick Christi was before Nationals? However, right now the antibody tests to determine if someone was infected are inaccurate. Therefore, the information we have below, is how we have to determine our behavior. [*Please also note that age is not the only factor determining risk. Pre-existing conditions also play a large role and so does gender: https://informationisbeautiful.net/visualizations/covid-19-coronavirus-infographic-datapack/]
A big part of the need for healthy people like us to social distance is to avoid giving the disease to someone who is at high risk.
Something fun to consider: If you are craving a group with which you can socialize closely (e.g. closer than 6ft), one option to consider is to choose to only see one another and make that commitment. So, for example, if you choose a group of 5 training buddies and you all commit to seeing no-one at closer than 6 ft for 14 days, you can then all come together, have dinners, cuddle etc…. However, if one of your buddies is cuddling with a buddy outside of that group, than remember that you are all essentially cuddling with that outside buddy and no longer safe.
As we move into May, I will say once again, that just like the trees that are slowly, ever so slowly budding leaves, your training should unfurl that slowly. Each day, you should feel stronger, healthier, more rested. If you feel any pain, exhaustion or have any negative training responses, slow it back. May is a good month to log only good hours and it needn’t be a high hour month. However, it does have to be a building month. You need a strong foundation on which to support the demands of June!
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