As both readers of this blog know, since December I’ve been training for IRONMAN 70.3 Chattanooga with a target date of May 17, 2020. Now that the race has been rescheduled to August 23, 2020, I have a training decision to make:
- Do I continue the race specific training which has me peaking around May 17? or
- Do I scale back to a general prep (base) period?
If you are not familiar with the concept of periodization, race specific training is what athletes focus on as they get closer to a goal race. The workouts during this period resemble the target race pace. There will be a few intervals of higher intensity thrown in here and there, but for most workouts, race like intensity is the main focus.
The base period is a foundation of general preparation which precedes the race specific training. It usually consists of long, low intensity workouts.
The content of each phase actually depends on the athlete and the goal race. In my case, I was training for a long course race (IRONMAN 70.3) and following a somewhat traditional periodization plan.
Because my target race was moved farther out in the year, the training I’m doing now is probably not appropriate for the new race date. So here’s what I’m going to do and I hope it helps others make their decision of how to handle training for their new race dates.
Stay The Course
I’m going to train as though I will race on May 17 even though there is no official race on that day. This mean bringing my fitness to a race ready state. The alternative is to drop back to a general prep phase/period and focus my race build-up fitness 12 to 16 weeks out from my next race. The problem with that is two fold: 1) I don’t know what my next long course race is and 2) I don’t want to waste the long course fitness that I’ve gained already.
This actually presents a unique opportunity to test my training before an official race. On or about May 17 I plan to swim, bike and run all 70.3 miles as close to race pace as possible. There will be challenges such as motor vehicle traffic, no aid stations, no fancy finish line and no VIP tent for me to snub my nose at. If it works as I expect, I should have a good idea of how my training worked and what we can change for the next long course race which will probably be sometime in late summer or early fall. That should give me plenty of time to recover, start over in a general prep phase and then build up to a higher level of fitness.
Yes. COVID-19 sucks. It has taken many lives and threatens many more. It has caused incredible economic damage and is destroying livelihoods. To keep things in perspective, triathlon is not essential for the health of the world population at this time, so it is completely understandable that races are cancelled or rescheduled.
On the other hand, we individuals need to find the hope and motivation that will get us through these dark days. For me, that hope and motivation come from the dream to do great things as a triathlete and I know I’m not alone. A rescheduled race is not nearly as much of a challenge when you keep in mind that some people won’t make it through this epidemic at all. I wish the best for everyone.
Until next time…
Stay to the right, pass on the left and keep on smiling