This was the reality for British shooter Sophie McKenna who had balanced her dream of Olympic glory and working as a nursery officer and gym coach for years.
Her work with the local police makes up most of her income and serves as an ideal distraction for her sporting career, even if things get hotter from time to time.
“We are like guards,” she told CNN Sport. “If people start, we’re dealing with that, so it’s an interesting task.”
The nature of the work required that McKinna keep her cool during some test situations, but this is a challenge that she enjoyed as her throws continued to increase.
“You come in and every day is different,” she said. “You don’t know what you’ll get.
“I really enjoy my work which gives me this void off the track and field.”
The recent closure only confirmed how important this distraction was for Makina, who has temporarily moved away from her role to keep herself safe from the virus.
She was able to continue training in her garden but is struggling to live, sleep and exercise in the same place.
For this reason, McKenna chose to refuse to fund from British Athletics earlier this year, a move that led to her rejection of £ 15,000 annually and an opportunity to become fully professional.
What seemed like a strange decision was quite logical for McKenna, who decided that he wouldn’t bother her preparation before Olympia.
“If I became a professional athlete, my brain would become brittle because I would be too close to it,” she said.
“I learned it in isolation because I am on top of where I train […] So as not to get that spark or buzz that I usually get.
“If I become a professional athlete, this will be realistic every day and I don’t think I will cope with it in particular.”
McKenna had secured her seat on the plane until Tokyo 2020 this summer before the scene was postponed amid the coronary virus crisis.
She had already covered the qualification distance required for the Doha World Championship in 2019 and just needed to finish in the first two places in the British championship – which is good within her capabilities.
Acknowledging her initial reaction to the delay was a disappointment, and she soon put 25 years into the record.
“It was painful and the immediate reaction is to think that there must be some way forward,” said McKenna, who has worked tirelessly for 12 years to reach her enviable location.
“Sports are very important in my life, but people lose their lives and their loved ones. It is more important for me than throwing the ball as much as I can.”
Although the sport was apparently her destiny – her grandfather was a professional footballer and director of Norwich City – her first throw was not.
Instead, it was the attraction of the most glamorous enemy that caught her eye first, and her talent was clear for vision at the local level.
Despite a bunch of boycott medals, she knew that she would never storm the world’s elite as a runner.
In fact, it was her mother who persuaded her 13-year-old daughter to throw her.
When I was a typical teenager I said “No, I’m not doing it, it’s not great, there’s no chance.” “Obviously, I did it because I paid for it, and I will run into trouble if I don’t.”
Within eight weeks of that first session, McKenna finished second in her age group in national championships and soon realized her potential.
You haven’t looked back since.
Last year saw her best age at the World Championships in Doha, where she was met with a moment of pure ecstasy and a festive run across the track.
It was the pitch that confirmed its place in Tokyo, an experience that will now have to wait until next year.
Meanwhile, McKinna had to deal with virtual contests via video calls.
She and several other British athletes have so far participated in two hypothetical competitions where amateurs from all over the world are encouraged to photograph themselves as they throw everything at their disposal.
The initiative also raised funds for the British NHS as it continues to fight the epidemic.
“It is something close to my heart and I want to share it,” said Makina, whose sister is working in the hospital.
“It also has to do with throwing the bow in the foreground. You don’t usually see a shot on TV; it’s usually running events, so it’s nice to be the only event.
“It is really nice to see. People were drawing chalk circles on the floor and running.”