By: Jennifer Sharp, ALP Cycles Coaching
Life as we know it has derailed without a foreseeable ending to our self-quarantine status. Watching the new produces a roller coaster of emotions while we battle an enemy we cannot see. Events have been canceled, everything has been put on hold and you've got to find ways to exercise your body and mind in order to stay sane these days.
As a coach, this makes things especially challenging because we know our athletes no longer have events to peak for, motivators to strive toward or even communities to connect with in-person: many reasons we are all part of this sport. And though some athletes may be dealing with harsher realities than others: they work in the health care industry, the service or essential needs categories (THANK YOU for all that you do!), others may find that their extroverted selves are going insane without the face to face interactions they crave. And yet another group of introverts is quietly praising the quiet and distraction-free time they always hope for.
Regardless of your disposition, if cycling is your thing, now is the time to examine what you want to get out of this precious hunkering downtime. And now it's time to choose your own adventure...
Option 1: The athlete who detrained and did too little. Without some sort of race on the calendar to train towards, what's the point? My couch is more comfortable than getting outside. And the trainer? Forget about it. That's for those nasty winter days and since the weather is good, I don't want to ride that. My CTL is plummeting and maybe some of the joy in my life from riding two wheels is now replaced with ice cream or video games.
Option 2: Having extra free time to train is great! This athlete is embracing the extra time on their hands without taking a break and doing too much! They went from 8 hours a week on the bike to nearly triple that amount. Now that group rides are indoors and on Zwift, they can take advantage of EVERY SINGLE group ride, multiple times a day. They've been running on empty for nearly three weeks now, close to burning out without realizing it. But there's one more group that they have to fit in...
Option 3: The athlete who trained just right. They work with a coach and co-created a well-designed training plan that takes into account their life stressors, age, and available time to train. Sure they may not have a specific goal at the moment, but they embrace the process that training provides and know that their time to compete and race will come soon enough. This balanced approach gives the athlete enough stimulus each week to stay engaged and also systematically builds training stress. It also includes recovery so that it doesn't run athletes' immune system into the ground and also works on that athlete's weaknesses.
So which adventure will you choose? If you fall into any one of the above categories, a coach can help. For the demotivated athlete, the interaction you have with your coach on a daily/weekly basis can provide you with the life raft you need to get back on track. It also provides a level of accountability. For the athlete who trains too much, you need assistance to make sure you're not overreaching and digging yourself into a hole that may compromise your immune system. A coach can still provide a lifeline to those that fear of missing out.
A coach is here to help. We're here to listen. We're here to problem solve and get you back on track. We're here to help you avoid common pitfalls and also encourage you along the way. And we're here to motivate you to keep pushing and keep the big picture in mind.
Need extra motivation in the next few weeks? Join us for our 6th annual ALP Cycles Coaching Climbing Challenge!
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