Our athletic world has been turned upside down in the past month. On March 7th I had the pleasure of watching one of my athletes, Will Huffman, win the Clermont Continental Cup on his journey to try to make the US Olympic team. Just one week later the next race was cancelled and within days the entire season was postponed until a hopeful June restart. I think all of us athletes have a story that we can talk about with races or events being delayed, but we must move forward.
In addition to the events being cancelled, pools and gyms have closed and outdoor group exercise is limited. We can no longer meet up with friends or training groups and in general staying indoors is smarted than going outside in most areas of the country. So, how do we move forward?
I look at this as a three-pronged approach.
- Set up a good indoor training space. Set up your bike or workout gear in a space that when you go there it is for working out. This will give you the same mentality as going outside for a workout or heading to the pool.
- Write out your motivation and goals. With cancelled races and changed goals it is hard to move past what has happened, but instead shift your focus. Find a new race in July/August or later that you want to do. Get outside and try to set a 5km personal best on your own. But the most important part is to write out your goals, post them on your refrigerator and in your workout space. Keep yourself motivated to go after your goals by identifying them.
- Hold yourself accountable. We normally meet up with friends for a workout, but now we cannot. Instead, create a group training page on facebook to share your training with others. As humans we are social creatures, but now we have to find a way to create a new social setting. A lot of people are using online racing programs to help them stay motivated and this is a great tool. This also is a great time to find a good coach to help guide you, they will keep you accountable.
One thing not to overlook is that these times are very stressful. You might not realize all the stress you are carrying, with working from home, trying not to catch an invisible virus, having kids trying to learn from home, trying to find food, and on and on. Your body reacts by creating stress hormones, so trying to find the time to exercise, walk and be outside will be helpful in staying healthy.
Two great tools to lower stress levels are to create a to do list and to create a schedule. If you can make a schedule for yourself and your family it will help you stay on task and create a framework to work in especially since for all of us our schedules have been turned upside down. It is also important to make a to do list. Writing things down and crossing them off will help you mentally feel better about your day.
Ideas for workouts: Luckily a lot of us are used to working out indoors, but with the increased stress and trying to stay away from others it is important to focus on being efficient when you get your workouts in. Focus on short hard intervals. Also make sure to focus on recovery, working out very hard can lower your immune system, so it is important to try to be smart about how hard you work out.
Try this bike pyramid workout:
6 rounds of:
15 seconds hard/15 seconds easy
30 seconds hard/30 seconds easy
45 seconds hard/15 seconds easy
1 minute hard/1 minute easy
While indoors focus on quality over quantity. A harder 90 minute bike ride is better than a slow 3 hour bike ride on the trainer. Add in stretch cords to mimic swimming a few times a week. Try to stay motivated by setting goals and writing out those goals. Finally, stay positive, try to reduce stress and away from other people as much as possible.