article by Taylor Thomas
It goes without saying that the current Corinavirus pandemic is on everyone’s mind. It’s altering our daily lives in ways that many never imagined. Schools are closing, work is being canceled, sporting events postponed, and so much more. As athletes, we often see the world through the lens of our training and racing. With the world of endurance sports adapting to the current outbreak, what does it mean for us? How should we respond and adapt in a way that ensures we’re being safe and responsible, while also maintaining focus and motivation? While the circumstances around us are changing rapidly, there are things we can do to stay centered, healthy, and happy amidst this crisis.
How to Adapt Your Training
Closures, cancelations, and postponements are becoming the norm. We’re being forced or advised to stay inside and away from groups, and for many athletes, this has caused a major shift in how their training looks on a daily basis. Access to gyms is becoming limited and thus consistent strength training may be more difficult.
The good news is that it doesn’t take a full gym to get in a good workout. There’s a lot you can do at home with bodyweight exercises. Simple movement requiring no equipment can help you maintain strength, mobility, and get your heart rate up anywhere you have space at home. Luckily, for many athletes, an at-home training environment has become a staple. Stationary bike trainers and treadmills are a part of many athletes’ arsenal of training tools. Now is the time to utilize these tools.
Focus on quality over quantity in your training. Instead of your long group rides, join a Zwift group ride or run, schedule an interval workout, or add more at-home crosstraining like strength and yoga. Group activities are a great part of endurance training, but now may not be the time to continue to show up to that track workout or Saturday morning ride. Use this time to focus on your individual needs as an athlete. Hone in on your limiters or areas where you can look for improvements like bike handling skills, climbing, and descending.
Adjusting Goals and Expectations
It’s hard to imagine a scenario where most athletes won’t be impacted in some way by this pandemic. Whether it’s canceled races, gym closures, group events, etc., we’re all going to have to make adjustments. With so much invested in our goals, it can be hard to know where to turn when plans change.
While races are important benchmarks on our path to success, they do not define us as athletes, nor do they define our progress or potential. If your race is canceled, all is not lost, and there’s still plenty you can do to move forward. Think of it as more time to build your fitness. You can always come back to building a strong foundation, developing limiters, and strengthening your strong suits. More runway is never a bad thing, and the work doesn’t stop just because an event is removed or moved.
While the health and safety of the general population are top priority, you don’t have to minimize any frustration you’re feeling because of altered plans. It’s okay to be upset, disheartened, or frustrated. Your emotional and physical investment in your goals is what makes you a great athlete. Allow yourself the chance to process that disappointment, but also be sure to use it as a tool to refocus your sights on the future.
Most people reading this are healthy and fit individuals. That makes us very fortunate. Health and fitness play a large roll in your lifestyle and that should remain unchanged. Maintaining your training and commitment to fitness is a critical part of your self-care regiment. By staying strong physically and emotionally you’re creating an environment that’s safer for you, your family, and those around you. So, while races may be canceled and plans may change, staying focused on your overall physical and mental health is still vital.
Work With Your Coach
Coaches are great at helping their athletes achieve race day fitness. However, the essence of the coach-athlete relationship shines when things don’t go as planned. Now more than ever, that relationship is vital to help athletes navigate these dynamic times. If your training progression has changed due to race cancelation, it’s important to know how to proceed. Where does the focus go, how should your time be spent, what are your options? Coaches are there for the highs and lows, and these are questions that can be navigated easily when you have a coach in your corner.
If there’s been a dramatic change in your regiment, now can be a great time to diversify your fitness. Your coach knows your strengths and weaknesses and can help outline how this time can be spent such that it’s productive and enjoyable. When things don’t go as planned, creative solutions are necessary to maintain perspective, motivation, and progression. The great thing about taking an individualized approach to your training is that there’s no one size fits all answer. All of the pieces are movable and there are tons of ways to structure your training so that you can feel productive, regardless of what the outside circumstances are. Dynamic times call for dynamic solutions. Make sure you have someone in your corner to keep you heading in the right direction.
In times like these, it can be easy to lose sight of our personal objectives. Athletes are resilient by nature. We adapt, adjust, and deal with setbacks as part of the pursuit of our full potential. Navigating COVID-19 is no different. We’ll adjust our expectations, and set our sights on how we can use this time to maintain our health and commitment to our goals. Stay the course, stay healthy, and stay happy. We’re here to help!
Coach Taylor is the Founder of TEC and a lifetime endurance athlete. For more information on coaching services, or to schedule a free orientation call with an expert coach click HERE.
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