In my last blog post about a month ago, I raved about all the exciting races that were on the horizon, near and distant in 2020. Oh my, how things have changed this past month. We have gone from the brink of the kick off to our seasons to huge personal, familial, and occupational challenges that have turned many lives upside down. Our kids are home, many of us are working from home or in high stress situations masked and gloved up each day, and it seems like races are being cancelled or postponed every week.
Amidst all this chaos, I have been so proud to see the great work Advantage Multisport athletes continue to put in despite the unknown in terms of when our seasons will start. With this post however, I hope to offer up a few tips on how to maintain motivation, training focus, and balance during this challenging time.
Most of what will need to be adjusted pertains to a mindset shift. I had advised some of my athletes earlier this month to take a psychological and emotional “reset” of 3-5 days. The stress and changes that were occurring daily while attempting to maintain training focus, especially in the midst of spring “A” races being cancelled and postponed were just too much to consume all at once. It is amazing what can be accomplished when we step back for a few days and get a fresh perspective on what matters most at this time. After this short break athletes came back refreshed, and with a different outlook on what the training really meant to them.
This is a great time to revisit our WHY’s for doing our sport. Look back to what attracted you to this sport in the first place, and the positive impact made in our lives, friendships gained, lessons learned as we navigated the sport. Maybe it is a bit cliche, but it really has to be about the journey and experiences we enjoy as we explore the physical and our own psychological worlds through biking and running (and hopefully swimming again soon). What drives you? How do you fuel your passion for the sport? Is it achieving optimal health, athletic potential, or maybe training is a social outlet? Whatever our WHY is, how do we maintain this in our training today? Maybe this offers a great chance to really establishing the habits and consistency that allows us to bring our best effort to every session, whether that is the discipline it takes to keep a recovery session at recovery pace, holding back early so that a long ride or run can be finished strong, or finding new depths of focus when pushing through an interval session. Maybe it is taking the time to revamp our diets and sleep habits to improve our immune systems. Maybe it is connecting with other athletes on zwift, strava, or chats to support each other in training. If we can maintain this approach, then races being pushed off a few months can be looked at as a positive in that we have even more time to build fitness, explore performance, improve health, and build the support network that will lead to best race experiences. How many times have we said to ourselves just before our goal race, ” I wish I had more time”, or asked ourselves, “am I ready for this”? At the moment we have the blessing of time to dedicate to improving ourselves as athletes.
All this said, balance must be maintained in our lives at this time. People are having to work from a possibly less efficient environment, or we are homeschooling children while we work from home, and the importance of maintaining health has come to the forefront. Consistency in training is always the most important road to improvement, but we have to be adaptable because the structure we can usually maintain may have been turned on its end. I am seeing so many exciting and creative ways athletes are coming up with to maintain their training while at the same time giving the other priorities in life utmost attention. Family walks, a weekly family run around Lake Padden, starting core routines for first time in years. As coach, I am constantly “tweaking” and sometimes completely revamping plans due to time challenges that are experienced each week, and even each day, and it is always my goal for athletes to be able to make some of these changes as well. Taking a team approach to planning with each athlete and making plans individualized to each person is what will take to emerge from this time stronger than ever before. It may mean leaning on each other for support a little more, but the opportunities this time provides will make us stronger athletes and better people. I am here for you!