Lukus Klawitter M.S
Hello Endurance Fam, as of right now most to all of you have had some kind of major change within your daily routine. Whether it is transitioning to working from home, school cancellations, pool closures, or cancelled races, something has certainly impacted our regular training routine. Hopefully its not a desperate need for toilet paper. There have been so many apocalyptic movies and never has lack of toilet paper been an issue.
If you were scheduled to race in the next couple months you have most likely been notified of a postponement or cancellation. However, some may still be up in the air, and hopefully this pandemic does not last “too” long. “Typically,” endurance athletes are highly intrinsically motivated individuals, where we enjoy getting out to nail a training session or get in exercise to better fitness and overall well-being. In the present circumstances it can be scary with the limited resources and being socially isolated at home, wondering how much fitness we could lose. But there are a lot of positive take homes that can make us better endurance athletes when this is all said and done.
First, we need to have gratitude with the things we do have, friends, family, food, shelter, a bicycle etc. If we need to take time away from swimming due to pool closures this is a GREAT time to really focus on increasing your overall FTP. The indoor trainer is a great tool to focus on base intervals to drive our overall threshold power up. The bike leg in triathlon takes up most of the race, and with a higher threshold power the faster we can complete the bike leg. Additionally, base and FTP build training increases mitochondrial density. Increasing mitochondrial density allows the body to utilize energy more efficiently allowing for more energy to be supplied to the working muscles over time.
Secondly, we can focus on perfecting our race and training nutrition. We now have time to experiment on different hydration concentrations, different cho/kg of body weight ratios during training and after, and overall training of the gut to be able to handle more nutrition when working at a high intensity. When we are juggling three events, race day nutrition often gets neglected.
Thirdly, many of us are always managing some kind of nagging injury, and this is a great time to focus on rehab/maintenance/strength exercises to correct imbalances, strengthen past or current injuries, or just make yourself stronger in an aero bike position. Overall body strength also helps to prevent muscle and form breakdown late in a run race. Additionally, it prevents soreness and DOMS post training or race event while preventing injuries. There are many at home strength tools to have or think about including: therabands, resistance bands, TRX suspension bands, kettle bells, and a yoga mat. There is a lot we can do with just one of these mentioned pieces of equipment. With resistance bands alone you can work on glute strength, single leg balance, dynamic balance, etc.
Finally, we can work on simple tasks or hobbies that we have always wanted to do. We can learn new cooking techniques, meal prep, bake, yoga, meditation, read, learn how to freaking crochet, anything. My school, work, and research life had been getting really crazy and I started losing focus on my overall health and nutrition. I stopped enjoying the process of making my morning coffee, enjoying the perfect cup, and took advantage of it only for its caffeine effect. I am taking this moment to focus on my health and appreciation for food and coffee again. I am enjoying the cup of coffee that I took the time to grind the beans, tamp in my stove top espresso maker, and pour into one of my favorite mugs. I made homemade apple, beet, ginger juice for my home brew kombucha. I pulled my sourdough starter out of the fridge and got that ready for a full day of artisan sourdough baking (you need to be home for an entire day for this). And I started fermenting garlic honey. All these things not only help you appreciate the food more, but they are GREAT for overall gut and immune system health. And in this time, we need to keep our immune system as strong as we can to fight the virus if and when we come in contact with it.
All this being said, take this time to better yourself in an area that was lacking, leave food on the grocery store shelves for other people, and be present in your current moment.
Stay healthy Endurance Fam.