June 29, 2020
What strange times we are living in these days. Suddenly, life as we knew it came to a grinding halt which meant everything halted. 3 months on, and we are still trying to get back to some normality, albeit at a 2-meter or less social distance.
Most athletes I know of have put their training on hold, and swimming has ceased to exist unless you are fortunate enough to have an endless pool, swimming pool or lake in your garden. The uncertainty of not knowing when the race season will start, or events, has put a spanner in the works for everyone’s goal of getting race fit.
After my first triathlon event in 2019 and thereafter being hooked on the sport, I was training all through winter to get fitter, stronger and faster for 2020 and looking forward to getting to Castle Howard for my second triathlon and maybe if I am lucky get a prize. My first race this year was going to be an easy one in Driffield, which was a pool swim. That got cancelled, and we are so close to Castle Howard now, and that may be cancelled too. But how do you carry on training without goals in sight? Well I have learned that you adapt and overcome. You carry on and when it happens you are still prepared. Keeping your foundation fitness going and not giving up is a challenge, but if you don’t, it will become harder to recover.
Time to run
I have been working hard on the other elements of the triathlon such as the bike and run, and it hasn’t been easy, especially the run. I have managed to get slightly faster, but 5km, and I thought I would never say this, is not long at all. After the first 1 km, you only have 4 more to improve and get faster. And if you go out too fast on the first couple of km’s you become too tired and lose out on time towards the end of the 5 km. Then being a triathlon, you must do that after a nice swim and bike ride. I am yet to reach my target of 21 mins for the 5 km, but I am not far off it…… ha ha. Who am I kidding? I have been reading a lot on how to improve your 5km time, and Global Triathlon Network kindly put out a training schedule just for this type of distance through lockdown, which I participated in. you can view it here https://www.globaltrinetwork.com/video/how-to-run-a-faster-5k
I haven’t really tested myself yet to see if my time has got faster, and maybe I should sooner rather than later. So maybe I will do one this weekend.
Time to swim
I have only done two swims since March, and that was in the North Sea. With a wetsuit on, it isn’t that bad, and I found it easier than I thought it would be. I even managed to run into the water and do a diving start swim and run out too as if I was heading to transition without feeling to disorientated due to the waves. I can not wait for the swimming pools to open, but in the meantime lakes and the cold sea will do. Strength work has helped, after purchasing some swim bands to keep my shoulder, lats and arm strength up to scratch. I would thoroughly recommend them.
Time to Bike
We have been fortunate enough to have been able to work all the way through, albeit from home but before all this happened we set up a Strava club and there has been a few challenges set through the club to keep everyone active. One of those challenges has been to see how many miles the Strava team can do on their bikes though June. There was a slight competition too, between the
Manchester and York branch. We have a warehouse in Sweden which is around 2000km from our HQ here in York. So far, we are around 375km off that distance, with 6 days to go. I am positive we can smash that distance.
I find biking is fun, and through the height of lockdown the indoor cycle training market went through the roof. I was fortunate enough to be able to borrow a set of TacX rollers from a friend and sign up to Zwift along with the purchase of some Garmin power meters. At first it was very tricky, and it hurt too until I put an old mattress down on the ground beside me to catch my fall. I have since then mastered the rollers and have even completed a few races on Zwift which was good too. One time I even managed to catch up with the race that had already started as I was still logging in due to poor internet. After 2 minutes I finally joined the race and managed to keep the pace up all the way through to finish 18th out of 34. That was a hard session.
Time to not time yourself
Sometimes it’s probably good to just enjoy getting out and to put all the stopwatches, Strava, GPS watches and targets to one side. Whilst out, just enjoy your surroundings, enjoy your breathing, enjoy the sounds around you, enjoy the pace, enjoy the wind in your hair and enjoy being fit and healthy. This is a ‘moving meditation’ disconnected from all software, personal bests and you will benefit from these disconnected workouts, even if it’s just a walk or slow bike ride or even a paddle in the sea. Sometimes it’s good to reflect on the moment and such a time as this.