WHY DO I NEED A COACH WHEN RACES ARE CANCELED?
Perhaps during this pandemic, you have found your local pool and gym closed for months on end only to have them opened, but with limited access. Or maybe you or a family member have a compromised immune system so you still avoid the pool and gym because you don’t want to risk exposure to the novel coronavirus. Many of you have then reached out to Playtri and scoured the internet to buy an indoor trainer, a treadmill, a TRX, some kind of weights, swim cords, etc. so you could keep training as much as possible. And then your “A” race was canceled… and then your “B” and “C” races were too. Or perhaps you didn’t want to throw away that hard-fought fitness, so you entered into Playtri virtual races, IRONMAN Virtual Races, Rock ’n’ Roll virtual races too and you started to get burned out. It’s enough disappointment and uncertainty to exhaust even the most committed and competitive athlete. It’s tempting to give in to the mental, physical, and emotional exhaustion and take a week off that stretches into months of inactivity.
Or maybe this pandemic was a wake-up call and you decided to improve your health, so you started looking up training programs or stopped in one of the Playtri stores to buy a bike and you heard about our coaching. Or maybe you are working from home while helping your children with online schooling and trying to fit in training and keep your sanity and you know you really can’t go it alone.
It may go against the common sense of the role or value of coaching, but these times—when races are canceled and stressors are high—are the times when having a coach can be most beneficial and important. A coach can help you reorient your training away from specific races toward using training and short-term, non-race oriented goals to improve health. According to the Mayo Clinic, physical activity is known to help control weight, combat certain health conditions and diseases, improve moods, boost energy, and promotes better sleep. These are all things that are so important and beneficial now, and hardest to maintain on one’s own.
Likewise, working with a coach is also about learning adaptability and resiliency. Many times in training and racing, things go wrong. Nutrition or hydration is dropped. A heart rate monitor stops working. Learning to handle these situations calmly and in a focused manner is a skill that is transferable to every day, pandemic life.
My own athletes had numerous races canceled (sometimes even twice! Am I right, IM Texas athletes?), and so here are a few ways my athletes and I have shifted our focus away from specific races toward training goals. A few of my athletes work in hospitals, so we have focused our training around stress relief and recovery. Another athlete decided to continue on their weight loss journey. Numerous athletes are taking this time to work on their weaknesses: core strength, 5k or 10k speed, general strength training through progressive bodyweight exercises, and building base mileage on the bike and/or run. A coach can help you identify the kinds of internal goals and motivations that will keep you on track until the races, gyms, and pools open once again.
Coach Jim Rowe
UESCA Certified Triathlon Coach
TRX Certified Coach