The past few weeks have been overwhelming for many of us. With a global pandemic turning the world upside down, many people are struggling to find their footing. If you’re an athlete, you are likely feeling the effects of the disruption to your routine and feeling a bit stir crazy, anxious, depressed, you name it.
But as active people, many of us are looking for ways to continue training and exercising during the self-isolation period in order to stay both healthy and fit. Here are our tips and tools to help athletes cope with the effects of COVID-19.
Establish a daily schedule and stick to it. Include regularly set times for exercise, work, meal times, socializing, cleaning and recreational time. The schedule will help keep you accountable, motivated and provide you with a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day.
With cycling events, group rides and races cancelled for the foreseeable future, it’s important to reset your goals. Think about creating specific process-oriented goals rather than event-based goals. For example, I want to: Lift my threshold by 5% in 3 months; Improve aerobic endurance building up to 3 hours continuous riding without a drop in power; Improve body composition and nutrition habits. You may also need to step back from specific training and instead focus on regular exercising in order to balance new demands like working from home and caring for children.
As cyclists, we are really fortunate that we can actually participate in our sport indoors. Invest in an indoor trainer if you don’t already have one. Not only can you get a high-quality workout in less time, but you’ll be able to maintain fitness without risking going outdoors. Pro tip: Mix it up by alternating 30 minutes on a trainer and rollers.
Dedicate a part of your home for working out. Set up with a trainer, fan, yoga mat, exercise equipment, TV, computer, towels, etc. If you have to exercise indoors, you might as well make the space as inviting and comfortable as possible. You’ll want to create minimal barriers to exercising.
A community-based cycling app like Zwift can transform a mundane indoor trainer session into a fun and dynamic social ride. There are dozens of live group rides and events happening daily. Coordinate with friends and teammates to create virtual group rides. You’ll want a smart trainer to get the most out of Zwift.
Lots of pro cycling teams are organizing group rides on Zwift. Join the pros and thousands of other riders for a fun group ride! Teams like Team Twenty20 women’s team and WorldTour Team Mitchelton-Scott are both running regular group events on Zwift.
When it comes to gaining fitness, overreaching is an important element to stimulating adaptations in the body. That said, it’s important to avoid digging any deep holes right now as this can compromise your immune system. Listen to your body and take your rest days seriously to avoid compromising immunity.
You might need more “ride just for fun” days or unstructured workouts to stay motivated. Incorporate various styles of workouts on and off the bike to keep enthusiasm up.
Take the opportunity to work on full-body balance and strength by taking advantage of the thousands of free virtual fitness classes. Put it in your schedule and commit to joining in group exercise 2-3 times per week.
Are there areas of your fitness or wellness you’ve been neglecting? Spend time working on foam rolling, stretching, stability work, core strength, or PT exercises.
Take dedicated time to disconnect from media and reading the news daily.
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We all have a lot of uncertainty to deal with around Covid-19 and the impact on our health, our communities and our cycling season. Being worried or anxious about these issues is normal. It is important to talk through these worries and feelings. Talk to friends and family. Talk to each other. Talk with your coach. Talk with a therapist or psychologist. We need to stick together and act in the best interest of our community at large.