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  • Mark Sortino

Training For A Season That "May" or "May Not" Have Races

We'd like to think that we learned a few things from 2020 about training and racing in the midst of uncertainty.


1 - Plan to race, but expect that things may change.

2 - When change occurs, you MUST adjust your training.

3 - Have a "back-up plan" with your own events.


So now it's time to apply them to the coming 2021 endurance sports seasons.


Lets' start with #1: "Plan to race, but expect things may change." If you have your "A" race in July, for example, you or your coach will most likely create a plan that "builds" your fitness between now and then. You may have also put in some "other" races or "smaller" races that are not as important to you that would flow into this building process.


BUT…what if that "A" race gets postponed or canceled? If you find out early enough, you can:


1) Look for a similar race that is still a "go."

2) Continue your build as if the race was still on.

3) Focus on those smaller races - any of them - that you think will take place.


#2: "When change occurs, you MUST adjust your training." Piggy-backing on #1, you'll need to create a period of "downtime" that would typically be filled with tapering and recovering after your "A" race. You cannot spend all year building. We saw a lot of burnout in 2020 as athletes excitedly looked to take advantage of more training time but forgot to build in breaks.


#3: "Have a 'back-up plan' with your own events." If you believe there's a chance that "A" race won't go, start planning for a self-supported alternative around the same time. It could be a single sport that is a Time trial, Trail, or Ultra distance in nature. It could be a total elevation goal on a trainer. It could be a long-distance swim. There are a ton of options, but you'll need to plan ahead.


In this uncertain 2021 year of racing, start planning now, stay balanced, and KEEP TRAINING!

Mark Sortino is a Boise, ID based Coach wi is a USA Triathlon Level III and Paratriathlon Certified Coach, USA Cycling Level 2 Certified Coach, FIST Certified Bike Fitter, USAT Certified Race Director and Paralympic Coach for Team USA. From brand new Triathletes and MTB-ers to World Championship qualifiers, Mark enjoys working for and with all types of athletes as they pursue their dreams. Mark is also a US Veteran having served 20 years in the US Navy as a Naval Flight Officer and is a graduate of the US Naval Academy. He can be reached at mark@teamMPI.com.

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