by pro triathlete & coach, Jarrod Shoemaker
This year has been something that nobody could have predicted. We never could have seen the changes to our routines, to our everyday lives and our recreation. For months we were told to stay home and stay safe, pools and gyms were closed. Now as we start to get back to normal, we approach everything in a new light.
It is important to realize that what has changed will take a long time to go back to normal and it is ok to accept those changes. We hosted a race March 7thand 8th without a care in the world and by the next Friday everything was cancelled. We all had no idea how quickly things would change. As we now start to reconcile this new normal, we can start to get ready to train and race again.
First step is to refocus. Understand that there is a lot beyond your control, but focus on what you can control. Focus on the training that you can do, being outside in the fresh air and that moving around can be the best therapy. Focus on achieving the goals in training, so that when you are ready to race you will be ready to go.
If there are no races, put together a hard session to test your fitness, a 5k run or 20 minute bike TT are both great options. Once you get back into the pool, do 100 yard or meter tests. Focus on the little things you can control and be ready and excited to race when you have the chance.
Make Small Goals
Most athletes use races as major goals for their seasons, but now that races are questionable, it is time to make smaller goals. Instead of big races, use the small local races that might be back first as goals. Also, create goals in your training that you want to achieve, whether they are performance goals or workout goals, it is important to have a plan on what you want to do. Training without a purpose will quickly make you lose focus and interest.
Work on Limiters
Unfortunately, we cannot use this time to work on swimming, but you can work on bike and run form and also work on the little stability exercises that you normally would not have time to do. Some suggestions: On the bike, work on pushing and pulling through the pedal stroke to engage all of the correct muscles, not just your quads or hamstrings. On the run work on good foot strike and pull back engaging your hamstrings.
There are lots of strength exercises you can that do not require heavy weights. Take a towel and work to scrunch it up with your toes. Do glute and low back strengthening exercises, or work on your internal and external shoulder rotators.
Less Can Be More
One of the worst things an athlete can do now is just try to train as much as possible. In a normal season, for all athletes, whether professional or age group, the season has ups and down. We focus on building a base, doing some strength work, doing some speed work, racing and then recovering. We now are missing the last two pieces of that, racing and recovery, and of those two, recovery is the most important to remember.
You do not need to go out and train twice as hard because you have the time to do it, you still need to focus on the plan and getting faster. Focus on nailing your hard workouts and recovering enough to nail the next hard workout. If you train too much in between workouts, especially if you are not used to it, your hard workouts will suffer. So, train hard, recover well.
You are not overwhelmed, it is Warning Fatigue
Almost everybody in the world is feeling overwhelmed, but remember you are not alone. Currently we are being bombarded with news and more news and bad news. However, what we keep hearing about the coronavirus, societal unrest, and the economy are all warnings. Remember to take in, process the information and realize that the more you fall into it, the harder it becomes to process it.
Take a deep breath and reset your goals for this year. Take the time to set smaller goals and refocus on your important workouts. Remember to process the information coming in but not focus on it too much. Most of all remember to enjoy the process and have fun when you are able to step out and train.