Indoor Training

"It's sad to see anyone inside on the trainer." That was the comment attached to an article about riding outside all winter lo...

Thursday, March 19

A Season suspended

The last few weeks (and the upcoming ones I'm sure...) have been crazy. It seemed each hour brought new cancellations to the racing world and new restrictions on everyday life. It's hard to see the effects that the widespread cancellations, closures and such will have on people and businesses. We do know that things are changing and changing rapidly. Some things will survive, others will not. It's our job to help the people, businesses and series so that when we emerge on the other side, they are marked on the survivor side.

There's plenty of information out there on the importance of social distancing to slow the infection. That doesn't need to be repeated. Social distancing doesn't mean time to go out and plan an awesome vacation because you are "working from home." It means minimizing unneeded travel, decreased close up and in-person interactions. Yes, camping off the grid decreases social interaction, but that overlooks the unneeded travel part of the equation. In fact, many of the small towns are asking people to stay away, if not even closing down the lodgings to prevent overloading the hospital system. It's not just about keeping asymptomatic people from spreading the disease - it's also about the risks of getting injured and not having the support required.

If your race has been canceled or postponed you have a few options. First off, it's okay to be upset and depressed about the loss of a goal race. You are allowed to be frustrated that the season has been suspended due to factors outside your control. But do not take that frustration out on the race directors. They have no choice in the matter to cancel or postpone when the guidelines are saying no more then 10 people gathered at once. Race directors want us to run just as much as we want to race. They aren't canceling just for the fun of it. Don't belittle the race directors, demand refunds or credits. The money is spent. You want the races to happen next year? Then be aware of what the race directors are dealing with right now. The grief and frustration you feel for not being able to run? That is compounded for the race directors. Be kind, be compassionate.

Once you have worked through the frustration and the grief, decide what you want to do. If  the race has been canceled outright, find out if there's a virtual option. A lot of race directors are doing virtual races and making it a social event on the various platforms. If the race has been postponed, then consider the calendar and if you can make the new date work. Sometimes it will, sometimes it won't. Anticipate that there's going to be no formal mass gathering races before the end of May, so consider the training aspect. Stress is stress - and if you are dealing with a lot of stress either from work or from the onslaught of social media - then now might not be the best time for high intensity or high volume workouts. Some areas are also dealing with the added stress of managing "Stay at Home" orders and the strict social distancing. If there's a few months between now and the next target race then rework your training to go for the next race. That might mean dropping back down to base training, taking a few weeks easy, then starting the process of ramping up again. If you are following a training plan, start the count back from your new target event and work backwards. Adjust any weeks not covered and the beginning of the training plan to reflect current fitness. Now is the perfect time for a consultation with a coach to help with that transition!

Still up for a hard race or time trial even though your plans have changed? Consider one of the many virtual options! It's a great way to support your local race directors, challenge yourself and have a memento of this crazy time (if you need one.)

Check out these options and feel free to add more in the comments!

Saturday, January 18


I was going to write about setting up goals for the 2020 season. I was planning on reviewing SMART goals, updating an earlier article on writing and implementing goals. I was also going to discuss some of the pitfalls of setting resolutions as related to the SMART goals. But there's always some much written about goals this time of year. Why write the same thing again? So here's the link to the SMART goals. There's plenty of good information there to help you craft achievable goals.

Instead, I want to talk about rebuilding. It's never a comeback, as I've discussed before. The athlete who suffered the injury, had the layoff - what ever, is no more. We can't return to that athlete no matter how hard we try. Rebuilding isn't crafting a comeback, it's creating a new version of that old athlete. The athlete we are now building into is coming from a different place then the old identity. It's important to remember that the rebuilding process takes time. We can't just jump into high level training of the past. We have acknowledge where we are in life - physically and mentally. Then once we realize where the starting point is, we can start the process of rebuilding. One brick and workout at a time, each one gently placed where it belongs.

This process requires giving ourselves grace. It means standing amid the rubble of the prior identity - the athlete you were - and decide what you are going to take from that identity. It also means that you have know what to let go so you can start the process. Not every brick will be strong enough to support the new athlete you are building.

Grace means being aware of the struggles involved with rebuilding processes. There's the physical aspect of rebuilding. When the distance feels overwhelming, it's easy to look back at the history and get discouraged. Running 20 miles used to be easy, yet now I am struggling with 2 miles? Frustration leads to anger and then anger can lead to giving up the process. History is a harsh master if we don't temper exceptions. We don't remember the first time we tried running, when the goal was to make it to the end of the block. At that point, running two miles seemed unfathomable. We just see how things were before the extended break. Take a breath, remember the history of the old athlete, of how you struggled and how hard you worked to reach that 20 miles. It wasn't always easy, no matter what you think. Acknowledge the frustration of how the different paces feel, but remember that each easy and "slow" mile now is just another solid brick in the foundation. Try too soon to regain the speed of before and you end up using weaker bricks for the rebuilding process.

You also have to mentally give yourself permission to be frustrated. If the break was from a crash or other injury, there will be hesitation. Simple technical sections will be more intimidating - simply because of the fear of crashing again and re-injuring something. Don't hide the fear if you are riding with others. Tell them that you are worried about crashing, even if it is a simple feature. Ask for someone to spot you so you can build up the confidence needed. If you don't challenge the memories of a crash in a safe spot, with people around to help, you might never get over the mental blocks. But you need to give yourself grace throughout the process. You don't wake up one day after a crash and go "I'm feeling great! I can ride whatever I want." You wake up thinking that you want to try something a little harder, but then when you get to the trail, there's all kind of nerves. That is a normal part of the process.

So in 2020, as you work towards your resolutions and the wonderful SMART goals you crafted for your races, also remember Grace. You aren't the same athlete as last year regardless of what happened. The events of last year shaped who you are now and provide the framework for this year. There will be times you feel like a failure. Don't let those times destroy everything you've worked to rebuild.