Training and Racing through a Pandemic
Can you believe it's already Memorial Day? I'm hoping that means more sunshine, more bbqs and MORE summer-vibes. Wouldn't that be nice? In this email I'd like to share what's been going on with the TriTeam PDX Beginners group and chat to everyone who's races are canceled or rescheduled. Read on and take what you need. Firstly, I'm extremely proud of all of you. This is a tough time for so many reasons. I am really sorry training hasn't gone as planned. Thank you for hanging in with me. Having the opportunity to work alongside you is a beaming bright spot in my life.
Next weekend, the Beginner Tri crew will complete their 12-week training plan and compete in WHY Racing's PDX Triathlon.
It was only a week into training when the pandemic hit and drastically changed our plans. Pools shut down, group workouts ended, and racing was totally up in the air. Did they quit?! Give up?! NO they did not! Not even close! This group of first-time and newer athletes didn't skip a beat. They maintained their commitment, adapted and even managed to stay positive!
I'll admit, I was really afraid that this year's beginner program was now destined to fall apart. But, I quickly decided that was not going to happen! Working together we could figure things out and create something even better. And we did. I am truly grateful to each of you for helping make this happen. Not everyone can face such unknowns, such disruption to routine and still make time for training, especially when it's a new habit. But, you did it. I hope you can appreciate this. No matter what! If you think you didn't do enough, or as much as someone else, or don't have reason to celebrate - forget that! Every single one of you should feel like a champ. Because you are.
Next week's culminating race may not be the first triathlon of your dreams. I know that. And that's ok. It'll happen. I think we will see races with start lines and finish chutes again. Some day. Hopefully soon.
Training for a triathlon is always a challenge. While race cancellation disappointment wasn't the challenge we expected, it's the challenge we now face.
You have all had disruptions to your plan and your goals. It's ok to be upset that things didn't go as you had hoped. It's ok to be bummed out that the race you have been working toward isn't happening. It stinks. And it's ok to grieve that loss. Because that's what it is. The loss of an opportunity to achieve something that you've worked incredibly hard to accomplish.
It's hard to be grateful for all you've done when the rug gets pulled like this.
So, while it's totally just to be sad or frustrated...it's also ok to be glad! relieved! Try to appreciate what you have DONE and look forward to all you can DO now. It's the process, not the outcome (or race), that validates the work. Daily wins, right. And this, training, getting fit, is something you wanted to do...for you. Races certainly can add excitement and fun and tangible motivation. So now we've got to look for that in other ways.
It's hard to be flexible, even in our thoughts, after commiting to the rigidity of training. But, we've got to try and do that too. Now it is time to reevaluate goals. Maintain your fitness. Rekindle your excitement. And decide what's next. How can we achieve our goals and do it differently? I have found virtual racing to be super fun and empowering. I've signed up for two more!
Is there a virtual race or event that excites you?
Can you keep things lighter, simpler, right now? Does that allow you to stay committed and consistent with less pressure?
I do think it's important to have a plan. Even if that plan is - to relax the plan!
It's powerful to have something to focus on, something to guide us, to encourage us, to motivate us. Daily motivation is elusive. It has to come from a desire for something bigger.
If your BIG race is now a whole year away...take a little time to reset. One to three weeks is enough. I take three weeks every year to rejuvenate after my A-Race and before getting back to Base Training.
Decide when this suits you best. Then... Reset your sights on an important race or event or goal. (Running a 5k in less than 30 mins, riding your bike for 30 miles...) If events don't motivate or you haven't settled on one yet maybe tackle some field tests, crushing strava segments, or adding strength training to the mix. What wild, fun, challenging thing do you want to do? I'll happily help you work through this and come up with some fun ideas.
Work on your limiter. This season - that might be swimming! I know that I'm planning to get my wetsuit out and spend more time in the water this season Typically I only open water swim a handful of times during race season. This year might lend itself to more dedicated swim time.
Then find that rhythm again. You have all started to find your groove - what you can realistically commit to each week - how much time and energy you have to dedicate to training. Hone in on this. Stick to it.
The best athletes adapt. I suspect we will see an interesting Olympics next year. These are all amazing athletes but some will inevitably handle the distribution better than others. A true sign of a solid athlete.
Lean on each other. You aren't going through this alone. There is an awesome community right here! Reach out to the Tri Team, to each other, to me. My goal right now is to come up with new ways to keep us all working together and having a summer full of sporty, adventurous fun! More on that soon:-)
Happy Memorial Day Weekend :-) I hope to see you soon!