Tag Archives: ironmantraining

How to adapt to lockdown.

How to adapt to lockdown

How to adapt to lockdown

So I wanted to give a bit of guidance to athletes who are trying to make sense of how to train right now. If you are being coached then your first port of call should be your coach, but if you don’t have a coach, then I’m here to help. 

Find good information and support

Everyone is going to have a different take on this, as honestly none of us have ever had to cope with a world event on this scale, but one thing that we will all agree on is that this is a time of major life stress for everyone, and we need to get through it in the best way that we can in our own way. First of all I would look for trusted news sources at this time, look for good information and use that as your guidance, and limit your exposure to things that make you feel anxious, you may need to cut your social media use if it is harming you right now, reach out to people who can support you, and also when we are on social media think about, what you post, is it kind? Is it helpful?

Adjust your mindset

Don’t forget that training is its own stress and if you overdo it at this time you are setting yourself up for feeling bad, stressed, out and not coping. Mental health, and overall health, must be a priority at this time. We can do this through exercise, nutrition, and hydration. We need to look at what feels good. If any of you follow Yoga with Adriene, her community is called find what feels good, and this is an ideal time for you to find out what feels good to you, you’ll soon find out what works for you and what doesn’t. 

Check your situation

Lets look at work situations, you may be working more, and have more work related stress. You may be working from home so have a bit more free time on your hands, you may be unable to work and have no income. These are all situations that you may be in at the moment. Then you have your training. Some of you will have had your main races cancelled, some of you will be unsure if your race will be going ahead or not, so what do you do?

Find your why?

First of all I would ask yourself why you do the sport? Is it for fitness, community, health, to lose weight, to perform, all reasons are valid and all are individual.  For me it’s fitness, health and performance.

Then you need to look at your goal race, has it been postponed? Cancelled? Deferred? Still may be on? Your goal in training will then align with that. If your race is cancelled for this year, then look at your why. Mine is to maintain fitness, as I want to be able to compete if a race does comes up that I feel like I want to do, I want to be able to perform as best as I can in these times.

For some of you it may be a sense of community, in which case you can organise virtual meet ups, like many of you are doing, if you are doing triathlon for health reasons, then exercising up to a point is going to keep you healthy.  I say up to a point because if you go too deep into training then you can compromise your immune system, and add to stress that is already there. This is an opportunity to add in strength and conditioning, practise recovery, eg yoga, just breathing and being aware of how you are feeling and what you need.

Adapt your training

If your goal race is a way off, I’m thinking about IM Wales or any late season races, then you may be stressing about losing fitness, swim fitness in particular. Just remember everyone is in the same situation, do what you can, maintain core strength, do some swim specific exercises, maintain your fitness but now is not the time to be building fitness. Remember you don’t want to get yourself into a training “hole” A lot of people follow the Don Fink IM plan which increases distance every week, you will want to back off and maintain the level that you are at now, then when you have less life stress you can start building again. The rule of thumb is to increase training load across the board at around 10%. Instead of focusing on what you can’t do, look at what you CAN do and implement it 

Think about your why, and align your goals with that. Find what feels good for you, and adapt as you need to. 

Be flexible

I’ll finish with a quote from a book that I read recently, called “The way the world thinks” by Julian Baggini. The quote is “What is yin yang? Yin Yang is timing. In other words yin yang responds appropriately to the precise situation as it is now, not as it was or will be. A wise action today could be a foolish one tomorrow.” 

So take each day as it comes, and make the best decisions that you can, in the situation that you are in. Be grateful for the small things and we will get through this unusual time.

Early season racing, what should your aims be?

early season racing

Early season racing

With the early race season getting underway, what are your priorities for some of these races? Its been a while since you’ve worn your race kit, and used your race gear, so you may be a bit rusty going in to your first few races. Its a great idea to do a few low key events to get yourself back in to the practicalities of racing.

Race morningearly season racing

This will be a reminder of how it feels to get up early, and make sure you are adequately fuelled for the days event. Most early season events are on the shorter side, so its a gentle introduction, and there shouldn’t be dire consequences if you don’t get this right. However it is an opportunity to start practising your race morning routine. If there’s anything that didn’t go so well in the past, then now is a good time to change what you do. If you always leave certain jobs until the last minute, resolve to make time to get organised sooner. Remember what goes well and what doesn’t go so well so that you can learn and adapt next time.

Race environment

early season racing

It will probably have been a while since you have competed and felt those race morning nerves. Even if the race is not a priority for you, you will still produce adrenaline, and be in competition mode. You may think about your race tactics, and put these into practice. In my first race last year I realised that I backed off when it mattered, I took that in to my next race, and made sure that I pushed when I needed to.

Post Race

early season racing

Here is your opportunity to learn from the race. I ask my athletes to think about 3 things that went well, and 3 that they can improve on. Be thorough in your analysis, but don’t punish yourself, its your first race after all. Questions that I may ask are; did you feel fatigued going in to the race? How did you feel after? Did you push hard enough? Did you fuel properly? What were transitions like? How were your equipment choices? These are things that can be taken forward to the next event, and worked on in training. They all add up to better performance.

 

 

If you want to read what other coaches say there is a link to another article here

 

 

 

Do I “really” need to do an FTP test?

FTP testing, how do you feel about it? Do you dread it? Or is it an opportunity for you to show how you have progressed? However you feel about it you may find that you are asked to do some types of tests, or time trials during the season.

ftp-test

There are a range of tests that I might ask athletes to do, and they each have their own value. As a triathlete I may ask you to do a cycling FTP (functional threshold power) test, or a swimming CSS test, or a running threshold test. Over the course of the season we can perform these tests at fairly regular intervals, and it can provide motivation, or affirmation that training is on target.

However it doesn’t always work this way, as we are humans, with lives outside of triathlon. There are so many variables, that need to be controlled, if you were to have a completely accurate result. So they are used as a guideline. Your threshold can change from day to day depending on, what happened at work, what you ate for dinner, how much sleep you had, how much training you did the day before, the list goes on.

Testing will also come in the form of racing, or time trials as it is easy to see progress, or any areas that need work on. It also provides race simulation which helps athletes to get used to the mental ability to compete, it’s no use being able to do a great CSS test, but then unable to transform that into swimming in a group of triathletes in an open water swim start!

These progress markers provide me, as a coach, something to work with, so that you have specific goals to aim for in training sessions. You may not hit those goals all of the time, and if you were, I would be wondering if your test results were up to date. Bear in mind that these goals are a moving target, and what you may have been able to to one day, may feel impossible or easy the next.

When you have done any testing, it is essential to give feedback, especially when athletes are being coached from a distance. If I don’t see you performing the test then it is vital for me to know how you feel it went. Many people get demoralised or upset if they do not see improved test results, (I’ve been there myself) But remember that the best test, is achieving your goal on race day, and that is the ultimate aim.