Let’s face it – 2020 was an extremely challenging year for all of us. For many of us, triathlon took a back seat to keeping our jobs, homeschooling our kids, living and working as front-line workers or the fear, anxiety and concern about the unknowns of COVID in loved ones and friends. 2021 is here, vaccines are becoming widely available, and we are headed on a path towards a return to normal.
As we prepare for the race season ahead, it’s worth considering a few things as we shake off the cobwebs and begin our training in earnest. I’m by no means an expert, I’m just an age grouper (and a member of the Rev3 team) but I hope that I can provoke some thought about how to prepare ourselves to shake off 2020 and focus on the upcoming race season:
- Tuning up your diet: The stress of 2020 caused my diet to fall into a bad state. This is a perfect opportunity to start revisiting our diets and start tuning up any bad habits that we have allowed to creep in. Maybe I’m eating the wrong foods, maybe I’m drinking too much. Undoing some bad habits now will be helpful before things get too intense with training. In my case, I started logging all of my food intake, and started eliminating many processed foods from my diet. There are many great apps to do this – but I found that getting my step data, my food intake and my exercise all in one place helped me take a big picture view of my consumption and usage of calories. This led to much better decision making. I also greatly increased my water intake, and eliminated alcohol during the week. I’ve lost 20 lbs in 2021, putting me back to race weight, which is a great place to start a training program from.
- Re-Setting the Baseline: For many of us, survival in 2020 meant a departure from our typical off-season maintenance. It’s helpful to check our baselines now and re-set our expectations for the season. This might be a year of rebuilding – and knowing that now will help us go into our training builds with reasonable expectations of ourselves.
- Time Management: Life isn’t back to normal yet, and there are still bumps in the road that will have to be navigated. For people working from home, work-life boundaries have eroded. We aren’t operating in the same context that we may have in years past. This is a great time to look at our schedules, and to figure out how much room we have for training, and how we’re going to fit it in. It is likely that what has worked in our schedule in the past may need to be adjusted now.
- Prepare for the Unexpected: Last year, many of us saw our goal races and the payoff for hard work simply evaporate due to COVID. We put in the time, we trained hard but weren’t able to reap the rewards. We hope that won’t happen this year, but we need to acknowledge the unknowns that may exist. I’m focusing on enjoying the journey – and celebrating the gains that training bring me. I’m making the journey a destination in itself. While I look forward to racing, I want to be prepared to accept it if it doesn’t happen. Too much is outside of my control.
- Leverage the flexibility that Rev3 Brings: As many of us are rebuilding this year – we may not wind up being ready for the race we had hoped to race. I take great comfort in knowing that if I’m not up to the full distance, I have an Olympic or a Spring available. Rev3 offers unparalleled flexibility in their event lineup – and while I hope I don’t have to change races, knowing that I have that option is valuable to me.
How have you adapted your training this year to better prepare yourself for racing in 2021? Leave a comment below!