Corona Times Training
This is a long read , but not about anything you have already read or when we are going to Re- Open, so it might be worth the few minutes.
I coach many different type of personalities and athletes. All different ages/ levels and several of you living in different parts of the country. Obviously this makes it pretty complex to coach everyone the right way and figuring out what works for everyone at times like this.
We are now in the 5th week of Corona Times and I am making observations, adjustments and decisions based on what I see from all the different behaviors. This is something no one has ever experienced before, so like I said a few weeks ago – everyone will react and handle this situation in many different ways and over time minds change naturally as well.
So what’s the right thing and what’s wrong thing to do ? Not sure if there is really a straight answer for this ?
By now we all have a safe routine in our own minds. It has worked so far ,,so it must be working ? Right ?
The biggest thing here is not to let your guard down. The panic, anxiety period has soften , so it is very easy do one more thing that you did not do 4 weeks ago , but you should not ! Stick to your original rules or even tighten them and do not budge. It’s all very basic.
My job is too keep you :
– Make smart decisions
– Maintain fitness
– Work on physical weakness
– Mental strength
– Stay motivated
– Help you be time efficient and have effective workouts
– Many more things …..
Health : Key here are once again are all the things we learned when all this started and before . Wash your hands, do not touch your face , no contact with people outside your home, only go to grocery stores when you really need to and wear a mask when you do go. When or if you ride or run outside do not stop anywhere and keep a safe distance from people. 6 feet is just a suggested thing ,, more here is better.
Health is of course also exercise, recovery, nutrition, hydration,, and most importantly sleep. Maintaining a strong immune system is really the main goal , not peaking for a race on May 1st.
My take : I think everyone is pretty set on staying away from people more so today than 4 weeks ago. Everyone is freaked out about going to the grocery store , which is good and bad.
Good – you will not go there that often.
Bad – you have to go ! Make sure to have a plan when you do . Make a list , stay calm and get it done . There are a lot of things you can get online and / or do not really need right now .. we all have figured that out too.
Safe: All the above is part of this,,, but Training also has to be safe .
If you ride or run outside, time of the day is still a factor,,, less cars , but more people out at certain times.. a lot of Corona Walking going on.
Where , some roads and some trails ( if still open) are different level of risk. How long you are out there. If you ride 2 hours versus 1 = 50% more risk. The risk to get infected exercising ,, I think is relatively low if you think about the above points and of course where you live… but of course it is still a risk … do not take this lightly …we are playing with Fire here after all.
The real real risk is to get hurt , as we all know cycling is a dangerous sport , but I have also fallen numerous times running , just saying.
My take : I think everyone have this in their back of their mind and we THINK a lot more about what’s a reasonable risk.
Some days feels a lot more stressful going for a ride or run than others ..almost a guilt , a bit of a mental roller coaster . A Trainer and a treadmill is a good safety net , can be effective but everyone hates it of course specially now when the weather is nice.
Some feel a mix of indoors and outdoors is a safer option and it’s kind of like NOT eating ice cream every night.
I personally feel the same and try to find a mental balance for you but also for myself, specially the ice cream part. More on this ….
Making Smart Decisions: Well all the above thighs into this of course too.
Key is to think about what you are ABOUT to do !
Bombing down a hill on a road or on a trail , riding a drop on the trail , running in the dark , on a rocky rooty technical trail, riding or running in pouring rain or wind etc ….is just a few things not to do.
Staying relaxed, calm and focused , not thinking that you will crash into every pot hole you see is key …you are doing something you have done millions times before .. remember, but t’s not always all about you ( me ) , think outside the box. That “ outside the box “ is the ER and other people , health care system etc..
My take : I think not being overly cautious, not meaning in a bad way – we all should be careful and cautious at times like this.
It can scare / stress you out and make you more tense that necessary. This again can lead to bad decisions in your mind and lead to not being relaxed which again can lead to silly mistakes on the bike or on your run.
Some feel bad or “ should not have done that “ after and questioning your own decision which again leads to other things … mental roller coaster … I know this is a very stressful situation in many ways ,, but stability and less can be more at times like this.
Maintain Fitness: Yes that is the goal. This will help with all the above.
Ready to move on when we get the green light.
Mental health and calmness. Yes we are addicted to what we do and if we get a ride , a run or a workout in we are satisfied and good for the rest of the day.
Some (or all of us ) can actually build fitness , strength and work on things that would not have been possible if we were racing every weekend right now. Recovery,, no commute , school at home and eating several meals a day more sleep , flexible hours . A lot of positives here.
My take : Will we be ready to race when it starts back up and when will that be ?
Maintaining is sometimes a lot harder than gaining or loosing fitness. For you to gain (in most cases with elite athletes ) you must be willing to loose some first , correct ? This is kind of the time , even it’s a small window. This does not mean you have to loose base / structure /strength fitness,, not by any means. That is by far the hardest to gain back.
Loosing race fitness is ok , that will come back very quickly if you are fit, strong and not injured. The longer you work on base / structure / strength the deeper you fitness will be … as long as you do not burn out mentally or physically .. so once again what is enough and what is too much – remember the balance.
If you you are all dressed up now and the dance is not until September you might not look so good by then . Better to pick the dress now and look at it periodically , plan to be ready when it counts .
A happy medium and variation .. sustainable.. listen to your body and mind. That’s why we use training cycles. Some weeks you do more and some less ,, a lot of times this happens naturally and not always according to the plan ,, even a day off is perfectly fine , that’s how life works in general.
Physical Weakness : In endurance sports strength is probably the number one physical weakness for most. Why ? Because all we really work is on endurance at the end of the day.
Yes we need strength to go fast , but why do we get slower with age ? We loose muscle mass and have muscle imbalances, less agile / mobility / flexible because we are weak. Less snap the list goes on and on. Yes we are going to get weaker and slower as we age , but the goal is to slow down that process. Another of my sayings “ try to maintain what you have “ It is surprising how many people can’t stand on one foot and touch their toes or do a box jump higher than their knee.
My take : This has always been a fact , “I rather go ride 3 hours than do a strength workout because I will loose fitness otherwise “
Specially right now , this is the time to shift your mind set. A good balance/ stability/ functional strength workout is surprisingly hard.
There are a lot of routines and videos out there , but we have to find / create one that works for you. Taking an hour to do let’s say 5 exercises of 3 rounds has a ton of benefits, you can still go for a ride later , remember you have a little more time now.
The strength exercises has to be doable ( not too difficult) and challenging at the same time, but progression is key just like with everything else.
Using the muscle that you not necessarily use riding or running is key. You can always do Hill repeats to strengthen the riding and running muscles.
Little over all strength goes a long way in injury prevention and feeling good and fast on the bike or on your run. This thinking / concept has changed a lot in sports in the recent years , even pros train different today than pros did 10-15 years ago.
Mental Strength: Again to be able to do all the above you need mental strength. We can all ride 2 hours or run for an hour ,, that’s NOT mental strength. Mental strength is to be able to take a day off and feel confident about the decision.
Mental strength is focus and execution ( remember the grocery store ) thrusting in what we do and believing in the process. We will all have good and bad days , even weeks . The last word in this “ book “ will be SISU .. It means keep going beyond what you thought was possible, never give up . This word came from WW2 ,,,,no different right now.
Mental strength is all the points I have mentioned up until now and that I will write about in the remainder of this article.
My Take : This dictates how we act and what we do on day to day bases , but also how we deal with any situation,,, life or training / racing. There are many levels of mental strength. Mental strength to me might not even mean the same to you. Mental strength does not need to be advertised ( That is not really mental strength in my book ) it speaks for itself.
Mental strength can scare you and I can see that all the time. Key is to balance mental strength with everything you do , not letting it dictate what you do or not do.
Motivation: This is definitely a test of motivation , at least we think so. To me motivation is not really a “ big deal “ kind of a meaningless word almost. I would replace that with Passion. With passion comes motivation. When you love doing something you want more and when you do more you become better. You have a break trough interval ride or run and you say “motivated is high” and then say to yourself I love riding my bike or I love running , that’s satisfaction and passion. I always say “ you have to love your sport first before you do any specific workouts or intervals “
We all love what we do . To get on that trainer or treadmill is mental strength not motivation, once we get going we love it and the passion for riding or running lights up.
My Take : Its hard to get started but once you get going it gets easier to KEEP going mentally and physically. I am talking about myself including.
Right now even it’s less than the usual it’s a lot more than nothing.
Consistency is key and keeps the momentum, ball rolling.( motivation without trying) a routine and a plan are a few other words for this. Taking a day off does not break this routine, 5 days might.
This leads us to the last thing on my list. Being time efficient and having effective workouts.
Staying at home , home school and working from home is a life style that requires 100% focus ( mental strength) Yes you have a little more time each day , but it has to be used efficiently if this is going to work including workouts.
Not every day has to be structured and specially right now it should not be,, but a few days absolutely does to keep you accountable for yourself and have those moments that it makes it all worth it. Sports is a discipline and this is a test for that too. It will pay off in dividends later in life – we will NOT go back to our Old Normal after Corona Times are over – thrust me.
My take : I am home and you are home ( I hope ) , most of you communicate and upload workouts very good. I can not ride ,run or race with you at the moment, but I feel we are still all on the same page and we are getting the job done.
Summary: This is a long read , but I did this so you can relate to what I experienced so far with myself ( I still ride and train ) , my family, you and others. Maybe this NOT so normal situation will feel a little more normal when you can relate to these points. A little confidence and reinsurance that we are ALL IN on this.
Stay positive, test negative