After what can be described as a turbulent, unsettled and bumpy couple of years, it's at last looking hopeful that Events will be returning to "normal" this year. (touching wood)
Although we can't get complacent, the signs are encouraging that we can once again enjoy taking part in mass participation events - without fear that (Covid) restrictions will affect our preparations.
But with so many of us having spent the last 2 years in the Events wilderness, it is totally understandable to feel a little apprehensive and nervous about "getting back on horse" and lining up next to thousands of other runners / cyclists once again.
So, here are two of the common reasons for the anxiety and how to deal with it.
Running or Cycling (safety and successfully) with hundreds or even thousands of other people is a skill.
Training by yourself on a bike, in the gym or out on the open road is very different compared to the nuances of mass participation events. Having been "out of the game" for a couple of years, it can be hard to recall and remember all those skills and hacks needed to keep you safe and to perform well.
The best way to deal with this - is acceptance.
Accept that Covid restrictions have put you out of practice for a couple of years and that due to circumstances beyond your control, you're just not going to be quite as skilled at the nuances of racing as you were.
And that's fine. Really.
Use your first Event back to ease yourself back in. Avoid the temptation to try and smash your PB and pick up where you left off before Covid affect Events.
That's not to say don't give it your all, but simply to be mindful that you might be a bit out of race practice and to give yourself a break if things don't quite go to plan.
There are many more races to be entered this year and for years to come - so use your first event back as "dipping your toe back in the water" and use it as a (re)learning experience.
Work, family and social pressures over the last couple of years have, at times, been challenging. Long may the days of home schooling be behind us..... :-)
Although some people have had more time available to exercise and build fitness, many have struggled to find a routine - and as a result have lost fitness.
Once again, the best way to deal with this is.... Acceptance.
No one "enjoys" the feeling of entering an Event out of shape, or being in worse shape than they were the last time they did the race, but by accepting the reason(s) why, it will help you put it into perspective.
Accept where your fitness is NOW - not what it WAS.
As mentioned right at the top this article, it has been a turbulent, unsettled and bumpy couple of years.
We have been through so much and our lives turned inside out in so many ways, so give yourself a break and don't beat yourself up for been less fit and less well prepared for your chosen event than you were "pre-Covid"
As Forest Gump once said "S**t Happens!"
Thankfully, the S**t that Covid put us all through seems to have passed.
So let's get back out there, take our place on the start line of our favourite event and regardless of how fit we feel - just enjoy the experience of running, cycling or trekking with thousands of people once again.