Covid-19 has changed the world. It’s terrible the spread of the virus around the world and the impact it is having economically on many people’s lives. But, is it all doom and gloom? From a pure training perspective for most, I feel it may be a blessing in disguise. Have you ever been preparing for a race and wished you had a few more weeks to train? Well, now you have more than a few weeks ‘extra’ to train. Here are a few points to give a fresh perspective and I hope to provide some inspiration to keep going even when motivation is low.
Looking at the Positives
For most Covid-19 forced a break from the water. Swimming is a very technique focused sport and I never really took a ‘break’ from swimming as I lose what pace I have quickly. However, being forced to have a solid break from swimming made me shift my focus onto things I could do out of the water to help my swim. Mobility work is beneficial, as too building specific strength with bands. There are a lot of resources that have popped up since the outbreak of the virus to help you get started with swim training on land, so I won’t go into these, but I’ve noticed the benefits from this specific swim focused land based training.
The other benefit of not being in the water for a long time, is you forget what is feels like to swim. You may think this is a negative, but stay with me on this one. This has been a positive for me, as I build back my swimming trying to create better form. From the moment I hopped back in the water my principal focus has been on extending my stroke which I’ve always known was short, but I struggled to change. With the loss of most of my swim fitness, there has been no self-pressure to hit any times, which has helped me with trying to improve my technique. The forced reset has definitely helped me to reset some of my motor patterns, and after a few weeks I’m swimming just as fast as previously for fewer strokes.
The long ride outdoors in a group is a regular session for most to help get the training volume up on the bike. Moving my long ride indoors was hard mentally and also on my butt. However, it allowed me to keep it specific training wise. Over an 8 week block of cycle training 100% indoors I could improve my FTP 10W, which is a big gain for me.
Riding indoors is time effective, there is no freewheeling, so the work from a 3 hour ride is like that of 3.5 hours outdoors. There are many benefits of training indoors as I go into in more details here.
Building your run-up takes patience. Unfortunately, when there’s a race only 4-6 weeks away this creates immense pressure to push yourself more than the body can handle, often resulting in injury. Having months and months without a specific date to target has allowed me to take things really slowly. Doing specific strength and conditioning to support my run, and very steady on the run volume.
Running is easy to do anywhere, put on your shoes and head out the door to run around the block. With good aerobic conditioning from swim and bike, it is often easy to push too far (feeling good) creating too much load on the legs. That Covid-19 has forced the reschedule or cancellation of many events has taken away pressure to hit certain milestones. Instead, for months I just enjoyed running, no need to hit any times, just building strength into my legs and taking things easy. This pandemic has allowed me to build my run volume up higher than I’ve ever done consistently. It has taken months, but there is no need to rush. Enjoy running, add some drills to help improve your form, and slowly build.
In summary, there are always two ways to look at something. From a pure triathlon ‘narrow perspective’ Covid-19 could be viewed as all doom and gloom as that enormous event you had hoped to take part in can no longer proceed. However, think long term and use this extra time to slow down a little and focus on your form and building yourself up to be better. Now you have the time to do so!