March 5, 2021 by

2020 was awful but did end with a gilmer of light with numerous vaccines rolling off production lines at record speeds.

So know we all begin to wonder with a long overdue sense of hope – how quickly will we see a turnaround in global fortunes.

I know this is the foremost thought on people whose business/livlihoods have been affected by COVID and we all hold our breathe a little in this regard.

No one really knows how fast or far reaching the impact of the roll out will be and there are many questions

For me – who coaches a small group of athletes and operates an online store for training plans – the main question I am asked is will we race again in 2021?

Me, I am hopeful that we will.

Despite a lot of the negative chatter on Facebook and internet forums – I am hopeful that we will be racing this year but probably from late summer onwards. I believe this as we are seeing declining COVID numbers globally, and vaccination programs are ramping up everywhere.

I think it will be the following cascade and some tips to make sure you are prepared

  • Firstly a trickle of well-controlled/policed small local races in early summer,

Top tip: sign up for these early – as they will fill up and typically local club run races have a generous refund policy

  • Secondly, I see some form of more the larger branded events e.g. Challenge, IRONMAN etc being run in a restricted manner i.e. with only local nationals allowed to race (to overcome travel restrictions) mid to late summer

Top tip: Reduce your stress in terms of logistics by booking accommodation for these early – but check out cancellation policies to ensure you do not lose out if the race is pulled

  • Finally, further down the track, when vaccination numbers are >X% per country (not sure what X is will be or how vacination proof will be required but am sure this is WIP) – I see full races open to all in Q4 2021

Even if β€œmy gut feel” road map (and is all it is at the moment) is true 🀞 – we still need to address some concerns.

But … I am still nervous my A race might get cancelled/deferred (again) πŸ€”

Absolutely this could happen – but let’s tackle this head-on.

Let’s try and smash through the fear and pessimism and keep training. What is your worst-case scenario – you are fitter, healthier down the line? Your best case – you are ready to come on race day!

The only thing I would recommend outside training is you make sure you are as well protected as possible with cancellation policies of hotels, airlines, etc.

But … I have not swum in a pool in ages 🏊 [Its a triathlete problem!]

This is the biggest fear I hear from any of the athletes I am talking to whose lockdown has involved pool/gym closures. I would be lying if I said I was not nervous about it myself (swimming is my weakest discipline).

As it might be a while until pools open up fully – in the interim, we work on our upper body strength/core when restricted from the water.

Not ideal, but we have to adapt, and hopefully, when we return to the pool/water – we will have stronger swim muscles while we rediscover the feel for the water.

Something like my home-based swim-specific training plan can help here.

But also, let’s not forget – with the winter behind us, we now hopefully will have access to practice more open water swimming, which is the kind of specificity we want in our swim training (very few triathlons take place in a pool!)

That said – it is likely that our technique and swim fitness will be a lot less than what it was – so remember to do this safely – click here for some simple DOs and DONTs.

But … I am nearly level 28 on Zwift. πŸ’»

This is a serious conversation I have with athletes more than I ever wanted. Don’t get me wrong – indoor bike training applications and equipment such as Zwift, Rouvy, Trainer Road (or whatever training app you like) are valuable training tools and have been a lifesaver for many of us in lockdown.

That said – now that lockdown restrictions are being lifted in your region and the longer days are returning – break up with your avatar – get out on the road – absorb some β˜€οΈ vitamin Dβ˜€οΈ  β€“ it is good for you (and besides most of the need to brush up on our road handling skills!)

But …. I am nervous about racing again. 😬

The more honest athletes will admit this. Most of us will not have raced in any shape or fashion for more than 18 months.

We are nervous about how we will perform on a race day.

Not only that – there will be new rules to follow – for example, click here to see IRONMANs return to race protocols.

The way I look at this – it is almost like starting all over again for a lot of the experienced athletes. Remember when this began and you had zero expectations aside from finishing/having fun – that is how you should approach your first race back – it is a free shot! Enjoy

And for those of the actual complete noobs – you are in great company as this is new for everyone! We will all be dealing with the jitters!

Summary

Yes still lots of uncertainties ahead of us yet but we have some choices

  1. We train to be ready!
  2. We get our wetsuits on & become better open water swimmers
  3. We get outdoors
  4. We embrace our inner newbies

Stay safe, stay healthy, and above all, stay positive, folks.

Steven Moody has starred in the corporate rat race but found his most significant source of satisfaction came from his 20 years of endurance racing, including numerous IRONMAN finishes and world championship qualifications.

Another realization came when Steven accepted he is a better Coach than athlete, so he set up smartendurancesolutions.com.

As a result, in 2017, Steven was awarded Triathlon Ireland Coach of the year and has helped hundreds of age group triathletes and runners realise their goals.

Browse his pre-built training plans by clicking here, or if you have any queries, you can contact him via info@smartendurancesolutions.com .

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