In addition to racing, I also coach 10 athletes all across the USA. So the last few weeks have been a rollercoaster of conversations balancing people’s mixed emotions on how to handle the pandemic the world is seeing right now with COVID-19. Some people are rolling with the punches, some are very upset that their big goals are now postponed or canceled. I personally find myself in the middle and it’s OK to be on any end of the spectrum with this.
My #1 Piece Of Advice
My #1 piece of advice for all athletes is to reach out to a coach, a training partner or use the power of social media to reach out to someone. Heck, you can send me a DM on Instagram to have a chat. I think we all need to process our feelings when it comes to this and hopefully get to a place where we can make constructive decisions that allow us to move forward.
At first, I found myself in a state of denial, hoping that the impact would not affect my plan. I continued on training as normal in the hopes that my big early season races would somehow go on. I quickly realized that these events were not going to take place and had a few days where I felt very down in the dumps. I still trained but my sessions felt aimless and lacked true willingness to push myself to desired intensities. I often found myself asking the question… “why?” or “what for?”
Knowing this wasn’t the best place to be, I reached out to my coaches Julie Dibens (triathlon) and Matt Bottrill (cycling) and we talked through how the next few weeks will look for me. Collectively we decided that a one or two week break was not necessary nor was it productive. Yes, the goalposts are moved to months away from now but I’m not in a mental position to stop training for the next few weeks. So with that in mind, we had to come up with a plan that still took a step back from a “full-gas” type of build but gave me enough to sink my teeth into to get motivated and keep the ball rolling in some capacity.
My biggest relative weakness is the bike and so we are going to use this time to really work on my cycling, primarily increasing my FTP and pushing high power in a very aerodynamic position that we developed in the wind tunnel in February.
Swimming will obviously take a big step back without access to a pool so I’m filling that time with a lot of at-home exercises primarily focusing on stretch cords, hip mobility, ankle mobility and core strength in the hopes that these will allow me to return to the pool with good power and also give me time to strengthen and overcome small issues I’ve consistently had with high training load, particularly in Achilles’ tendons.
Running is my favorite and most natural of the three disciplines so with all of the bike intensity we intend to focus on, I will not do very much run intensity but I will still aim to run with a lot of frequency as it is therapeutic for me to get out on the trails for a run on most days.
Develop Your Plan
The plan that my coaches and I laid out is super specific and a one size mold for what I need right now. It will likely not work for you and therefore it’s important to connect with people in the community to sketch out your plan. And it’s very important to have a plan right now… So reach out to your coach, your friends or send me a message and I’ll do my best to help.
No doubt, this is a tough time for everyone- particularly us professionals who rely on these races to pay our bills. But my wife Jeanni and I are trying to look at things with a glass half full attitude, focus on what we can and forge onwards; trusting that this too shall pass and we will be stronger for it as a multisport community when it’s all said and done.
Stay safe and keep going.