March 17, 2020

What COVID-19 means for the 2020 WIAA Track & Field Season

What's going on?

4 days into the 2020 WIAA Track & Field season, we got the news that there would be a pause on the indoor season due to the spread of the Coronavirus, COVID-19.

At first, it seemed like it was going to be just a short 2 week precautionary break to stop the initial spread of COVID-19 and we’d be back at it to finish up the indoor and outdoor seasons. But it quickly became apparent as one athletic association after another began to cancel their spring seasons, that the WIAA was vulnerable to a similar fate.

Within the first few days of the precautionary break, the suspension was pushed back another couple weeks. Then, on March 11, the World Health Organization officially declared COVID-19 a pandemic.

On March 17, Governor Evers enacted “Emergency Order #5”, prohibiting any and all mass gatherings (10+ people) in the State of Wisconsin. Item 4 of the order states:

Effective at 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, March 18, 2020, all public and private schools and institutions of higher education in the State of Wisconsin shall close for instructional and extracurricular activities at 5:00 p.m. Such institutions shall remain closed for the duration of the public health emergency or until a subsequent order lifts this specific restriction.

What this means for the season?

NOTE: I would like to acknowledge that this is a serious global event. So, the cancelling of a sports season is the least important thing right now, but it is important to think through and plan how we should prepare/respond right now in-case the pandemic resolves itself sooner than expected.

There is a real possibility that the 2020 WIAA Track & Field season will be cancelled. In order to be able to hold and compete in the Regional, Sectional, & State meets, the ban would need to be lifted with enough time to meet the minimum requirements.

  • There must be practices on a minimum of seven different days before the first competition may be conducted. Since we only had 4 days of practice before things got shut down, we would need at least 3 days of practice before the first competition. (source)
  • You must have four contests that you play, in order to be eligible for the tournament series. So, we would need at least a week before Regionals starts to get those meets in. (source)

So, with 3 days for practices + 1 week (5 days) for meets, the ban would need to be lifted by May 15th in order for there to be a 2020 season. Otherwise, the WIAA would have to add exceptions to the regulations, or push back the season dates. Either way, it now comes down to how well our country can prevent further spread of the virus.

What this means for athletes?

You have two choices.

  1. Keep training.
  2. Stop training.

If you choose to stop training, well, you can stop reading this article now. Go relax, turn on Netflix and enjoy your break. 👍

If you choose to keep training, below are some tips for you:

How to get through the coronavirus as an athlete (and a human)

1. Don't Panic

Even if this pandemic was extremely deadly, panicking would NOT be helpful. The best thing you can do is stay calm and informed and take each day as it comes. You can't do anything about tomorrow's problems, only today.

2. Stay informed

Almost certainly, impact from the pandemic will increase dramatically in the coming weeks. This will likely affect your current training plan, but if you are staying informed, you will have the ability to adapt your training to the new restrictions/limitations.

3. Set goals

During times like this, it's very easy to become aimless. If you don't set goals, it's likely that you will naturally slip into a state of complacency and skip workouts or other "non-essential" activities because it "doesn't matter". But this is when putting in work matters most, because when nobody else is working, you're getting a step up on them with every run, every jump, every throw, every lift you do. So, when it comes time to compete, you'll be ready.

Set a goal date for each goal as deadlines have been proven to increase the likelihood of accomplishing a task.

4. Create a plan

A plan is basically just looking at the big picture of your goals, and breaking them down into smaller goals.

"You don't set out to build a wall...You don't start there. You say, 'I'm going to lay this brick as perfectly as a brick can be laid. You do that every single day. And soon you have a wall."

-- Will Smith

All you have to do is start, today. Small, consistent effort is the key to all success.

5. Be grateful

If you're reading this article that means that you're alive. And that is one incredible thing to be grateful for. Keeping a positive/optimistic mindset is crucial to handling every situation in life, especially uncertain times.

Every day, try to think of one thing that you're grateful for. Write it down.

So, what's next...

If you choose to continue training, there are some things you should keep in mind while doing so.

  • Avoid training around other people.
  • Get outside. Take advantage of the sunny spring days and get out of the stuffy house and get that fresh air.

Runners World also has some helpful tips for how to safely train during this coronavirus pandemic 

Find your why

We need intrinsic motivation to keep us going. If you have a Why you can deal with any How. So, as this pandemic progresses, and we continue to be isolated, we will need to find our own internal motivators. If you do that, you will be able to successfully navigate every situation.

So, to help you get hyped, watch this Track & Field motivation video.

Go Lady Panthers. 💪

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