Updated: Apr 21, 2022
“The comeback is always stronger than the setback” – Dr. Jill Murray
In some ways, the world is starting to open back up. Maybe you’re allowed to go back into the office; perhaps you’re able to get outside and train a little more (weather, ya know!). Maybe you did not view the COVID-19 pandemic as a setback.
For many racing athletes, their seasons were interrupted by the pandemic – perhaps your races were postponed, or worse, canceled. Maybe you’ve shifted focus to one or two sports. If you didn’t live in a place where a pool was open or found yourself riding the trainer more often or running on a treadmill just to avoid people.
The past couple of months and (I suspect) the next few months will be tough. There will continue to be races canceled or postponed for a while – possibly for the year, but WHAT.IF.THEY’RE.NOT.
As mentioned above, maybe you have been focused on one sport more than another or riding inside. While the training is getting done and fitness is improving, it’s not QUITE the same.
For example, unlike riding on the trainer, when we ride outside, we use our bodies to stabilize our bikes. Maybe your bed or couch has turned into your virtual office – a place from which you rarely rise. This is a far cry from getting up, getting dressed, commuting to and from the office, and moving around throughout the day.
What if your race is a GO? Have you been preparing appropriately and adequately? Following your training plan? Or does your training and life look like what I’ve described above? If it does – take a few minutes to talk to your coach and dial yourself back into taking care of your body and self. Here are a few ways to do that:
Foam Roll – Calves, quads, hamstrings, glutes, and your back. Get your body parts MOVING. You can also use a lacrosse ball or tennis ball to roll out your feet or other body parts that need extra attention.
Stretch – start with a couple of sun salutations – watch an example here. Include some dynamic warmups before you exercise and maybe a little static stretching when you’re finished with your session.
Mental training (meditation or visualization) - just a few minutes a day will prepare you for your day and your training. It will give you a head start into getting back into a training/race prep routine.
Get into a routine with your training calendar – set yourself up for success. Here are a couple of examples:
Successful athletes look at their plans as soon as they’re published. They program their smartwatches and calendars to make sure they fit the training in.
Successful athletes look at the training plan day-to-day and fit the training in.
Set up a race list (those that are still upcoming, not canceled, that you’ve registered for), then add ‘wish list’ races – be on the lookout for live races and virtual races. This does a few things:
It gives you a tentative race plan.
Helps plan training.
It helps to dial in your season, so you don’t feel like you’re training in vain.
What does your comeback look like?