Pros in Lockdown

With the pandemic ongoing, and the uncertainty of what the new normal will be, triathlon events takes a backseat and we definitely have no timetable when the races will come back. Priority right now is to follow what most public health authorities have told us to do: staying at home and practicing social distancing.

AsiaTRI asked the PROs on how they deal with the lockdown, on how they adjusted from their rigid training schedules, and how to cope mentally being quarantined at their homes.

Beth McKenzie

How are you coping with the lockdown?

For the McKenzie household, the coronavirus has meant a total change in our priorities and goals for 2020. Our original priorities had been racing our final full distance in July (Challenge Roth) and a family Around-the-World trip from May to August. Needless to say, both are now off the table and we quickly pivoted our aims for the year. With the economic crisis, it makes much more sense to focus on keeping our companies afloat (WYN republic & MALO republic). At first, we were really worried about what it would mean for a business that runs on selling tri suits, with all of the events cancelled, but we shifted from that pretty quickly. We are lucky in that we have a loyal customer base who will be there when this all ends. And with so many businesses and individuals worse off, it is hard to focus on the negative for us. 

As for training, we were just ramping up into some pretty good fitness in the beginning of March. Both Luke & I won our first race of the year (Tweed Enduro- a half iron distance in Australia). But, we’ve put the big training on the backburner for now, and we are just in maintenance mode until the season (if there is one) starts to come into focus. This makes it so we can spend much more family and work time that we would have been- so its actually an unexpected bonus for us. We thrive on constant travel for races, expos, and work, but without that travel, I’m finding we are getting SO much time back, so there are actually pockets in the day when we can just relax and enjoy being with the kids for once! I’m not sure yet if there will be a final race “hurrhah” for us, but we shall see. 

Advice for age groupers on how to mentally cope? 

My advice would be to pivot both physically and mentally as soon as possible. Allow yourself some space to grieve the race season that could have been, but then move on from that. Continuing the same training you were doing before isn’t going to help when the races are 6 or 7 months down the road. Now is the time to do a little less volume and instead focus on some of your weaknesses. Don’t worry too much about a rigid routine, and make sure to make time for sessions that build you up mentally and help you keep your sanity. Easy training sessions can be great for maintaining an aerobic base, but also for clearing the mind and relieving stress. 

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Tim Reed

For the super fit, It’s okay to lose some fitness. In fact, it’s probably wise.

Being fit and healthy certainly involves training but there is a tipping point where training a lot compromises your immune system, making you susceptible to medical conditions that could put you at far greater risk if you become infected with COVID-19. Taking myself as an example, a flare up of my asthma is the first sign I’m overreaching in training and pushing the body too hard with too little recovery. Now, more than ever, is a time to avoid coming down with a chest infection or other ailment that could put you at much greater risk of complications should you contract this wretched virus.

Time for something different

Of course, this blog focuses on training but for athletes like myself who’ve had to be quite selfish at times or travel extensively for work and to reach athletic goals, this could be the time to reel that in and be of much greater support at home and spend a lot more time with family. I won’t divert down this path too much in case my wonderful wife reads this and starts raising her expectations to even higher levels.

There is now also the breathing space from impending races to maybe take on another hobby you’ve thought would be cool to try for some time but never found the time. Or use some of the reduced training time to help other people in need during this strange and difficult time.

Stay well and help others stay well

One of the most bizarre aspects of this pandemic is that a time when people need more emotional support than ever we are robbed of our innate tools for comforting others. However, while we can’t throw around hugs we can all take the time to make a phone call to someone who has had their life drastically changed in recent weeks or who might really struggling with this new level of social isolation. Personally, I’ve been blown away by people reaching out to check in and have a chat and it’s inspired me to do the same for others. Thankfully we can still be more connected than ever, despite physical isolation.

We don’t know when, but racing will return so in the meantime, sport and your training can still play a crucial role in staying mentally healthy. Make a plan and get back your sense of direction.

You can read Tim Reed’s full guide on the same subject here in his blog site>> A Guide for Lost Athletes

Kieran McPherson

Adjustment on Training

When I realized we were going into lockdown I figured I would take the first week off as a preparation week and my usual mid season break (all though I hadn’t really started my international season) This allowed me to set short term goals to get through not only each day but each week of the lockdown.

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It is a great time to work recovery routines eating habits and creating an at home strength workout. It may not be a chance to get in a lit of training in terms of hours but it is a great chance to set a good foundation for when your season resumes.

Being creative and following Local Restrictions

I had plenty of spare land as I am isolating out on my parents farm. They own a contracting earth moving business. So I had the land and machinery to dig it. I had originally planned on swimming in a nearby river but under New Zealand lockdown rules they stated no swimming in beaches lakes or river.

Hence came the pool idea. Once I dug the hole with an excavator I was able to lay down a grass/silage cover and fill it with water. I chose todig it the same size as the bucket and just 25m long like a normal training pool so I didnt have to tie myself to one end. Filled with water it measures 25m x 2m x 1.5m deep

Laura Wood

Training without Pressure

I can’t swim at all (we are in full lockdown here so the pools are shut, we can’t drive anywhere and swimming in the ocean is now officially banned), but I’m still able to do some decent bike rides inside on Zwift and I can still run outside.

I think my advice would be to just not put pressure on yourself. There won’t be any races for a long time, so if you have any injuries or you’re feeling tired, now is the time to rest! BUT if you are keen to continue training, do an amount that makes you happy and takes your mind off things 😊 For me, I’m trying to stick to routine as much as possible.

I normally do a lot of training with friends so I’m now riding with them virtually on Zwift. If you don’t have Zwift, maybe arrange to ride at the same time and FaceTime them or chat on messenger/whatsapp. Riding with friends virtually definitely helps if you’re struggling with motivation, because it keeps everyone accountable!

Jakub Langhammer

I think is important to stay smart in this hard time. Don’t push so hard or be sad about this situation. Now we have lots of time to thinking about our body/muscle and mind.

If you have any injuries then now is the best time to get well. These are things we don’t normally have time to thinking about. Let’s start to work on your core muscle, core stability, swimming muscle (strengthen swimming muscles with a stretch cord) etc.

Make your plan A and of course plan B to be ready if some things will change in future. When this difficult time is over, you will be stronger and more resilient. I can’t wait to see you all in start line! STAY SAFE!

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