We could be in a for a long haul, folks
Nearly all April and most May endurance sport events have been cancelled or postponed. June events are also in danger. I’ve been home now for three weeks, doing a combination of a lot of yoga, body weight exercises in different iterations, and rides and runs outside. But what’s critical in this time is building a training schedule during coronavirus quarantine.
By now you should be generally “used” to your current routine, whether it’s working from home or not working at all.
So you’ll know your schedule and can plan your training.
Build a Consistent Training Schedule During Coronavirus
- Keep building base by doing long runs or rides at about 70 percent of threshold heart rate.
- Continue doing strength training with body weight or equipment you might have at home. Focus on your posterior chain (back, glutes, hamstrings) and your core.
- Do some threshold intervals once a week.
- Do yoga several times a week to build strength, range of motion, and endurance.
We still have goals, and we still can train for those goals.
My goals this year were to do some long-distance gravel events and then some cyclocross races in the fall. I’ve crossed out the spring and early summer goals.
I’m not focusing on racing this year; I’m focusing just on events that look like adventures or look like a lot of fun.
My goal now: build a consistent training schedule during coronavirus.
Right now, I’m doing three to four rides a week, including one ride of more than four hours and one ride with some intervals at around 90 percent effort.
I’m also doing two to three runs a week, a daily yoga routine, and a daily strength challenge.
My goal in all of this work is to build a well-balanced, overall strong and resilient body. I’ve broken too many bones and too many problems with asthma over the last five years. I just want to be stronger and more mobile!
You Won’t Lose Strength Gains
There is some good news, especially for most of us who have had to take extended time off from the gym: Your muscles and muscular system remember your past work. Several different studies (here and here) show that muscle memory at a cellular level allows for fairly rapid retraining.
“Gained strength and power and fibre type changes were partially preserved following 12 weeks of detraining, allowing for a fast recovery of the 1RM performance following retraining.”
This means that even if we are away from the heavy lifting we’re doing at the gym – which has shown to be valuable for endurance athletes – is that if we continue to do strength work at home to develop a training schedule during coronavirus, we’ll not only maintain strength, but we’ll be able to get right back at it when we return to the gym.
Movement Builds Immune System
That said, keeping active and moving is critical to maintaining, even building, your immune system.
While this study was focused on obesity, the conclusion was that exercise boosts your immune system.
So when you build a consistent training schedule during coronavirus quarantine, plan to keep moving. Create your training plan and stick to it.
However, like I mentioned in the previous article on exercising during COVID-19, don’t go overboard in your training. Doing too much can seriously weaken your immune system, although for well-trained athletes the risk is lessened.
Work the Plan But Keep it Fun
We have no idea when our race/ event seasons will be begin this year.
If you are able to get outside, do it. Go for long unstructured rides or runs several times a week. This is a good time to build a massive base.
And by unstructured, I mean keep the rides mostly slow and easy but if you’re feeling good and want to crush a hill, go for it.
The goal of your training plan right now is consistency and fun.
Organizations are putting on virtual “races” where you do the race, and then upload your results. USA Triathlon is doing a duathlon to raise funds for multi-sport community members affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.
Include These to Build a Training Schedule During Coronavirus
- Run on trails. As runners, we tend to move in one plane: forward. We don’t often move laterally. Trail running gives us a chance to step sideways as we run around logs, roots, and other obstacles.
- Do fast or slow pedaling drills on the bike.
- Yoga. So much of yoga is movement in all three planes: front/back; side to side; up and down. This kind of movement helps make you a more complete athlete and builds strength in stabilizer muscles that will help you move forward faster.
- Do bodyweight exercises. Focus on strengthening your weaknesses, move laterally, work on full-body exercises.
- If you are training for a triathlon later this year, your swimming practice is the most challenging! Here are some options for you.
- Do some “fun” HIIT work once a week. Run up stairs as fast as you can, then walk down. If you can get outdoors, do 15/15s or 30/30s (15 seconds on, 15 seconds off, etc.)
Playing With Your Kids Can Be Great Strength Training
If you have small people at home, maintain your training schedule during coronavirus with them! You’ll need to home-school them as well as entertain them.
Why not get them moving in the process? (And if you can give me suggestions on how to get a grumpy teenage girl moving, please share!)
McMillan Running offered some great ideas about playing with your kids:
- Scooters (aka the world?s greatest hip strengthening tool): Talk about a great single leg stance/hip stability exercise. Ride a scooter for a while and I bet you?ll find a big training stimulus to your hips.
- Jump rope: There may not be a better exercise for putting spring in your step. Start slow but over time, you will see big improvements in your leg strength and bounciness.
- Hopscotch: Another great tool for practicing single leg stance, balance and coordination.
- Skipping, Hopping, Jumping: Just go play. Be a kid again. (And your kids will get a kick out of watching you trying to be coordinated again!)
It’s also a lot of fun to do some strength work with your kids. Whenever I see one of my young nephews, I lift him by the armpits and do shoulder presses.
I get my 15-year-old daughter in a fireman’s carry over my shoulders and do squats!
How are You Building a Training Schedule During Coronavirus?
What is your training plan? What schedule are you keeping?
What strength training are you doing?
Give me a call or send me an email when you think about your plan. Or let’s talk about creating a plan.