As coaches we all have had to adapt, remove barriers and motivate our athletes right from the start of lockdown in March 2020. I personally feel there are two types of athletes emerging out of this lockdown period, wherever they are based in the world right now.
“THE ONES THAT GOT ON WITH IT, GETTING BIG GAINS”
“THE ONES THAT NEEDED THAT EXTRINSIC GOAL TO FIND PURPOSE”
Let me go further…
The first athlete, most of my seasoned triathletes and runners found their groove within a couple of weeks and quickly realised that the consistent routine was making them hit 90-100% of their prescribed sessions. This in turn gave them confidence, hitting their hard sessions and easy ones easy, seeing small gains in the field tests we created within the training cycle, this in turn gave us a process goal to focus on instead of races to target, which of course were all getting postponed or cancelled.
Wether it was a 5km focus, a new 20min FTP on the bike or simply hitting Yoga based mobility sessions (which always get pushed aside) they saw the gains within 4-6 weeks.
I truly believe they will come out of this process now faster, stronger, motivated as hell for anything (to quote Brett Sutton, a well known world class coach, he said this at the beginning), not worrying about getting fit for a race/event, just getting on with it, day in day out.
The second athlete, came off the rails a few weeks into lockdown. They felt there was no point, no PB looming, no races. I feel they lost sight of what they were doing and what they were trying to achieve, missing the the opportunity to be able to train, no commuting, a full kitchen at their disposal and flexibility that full time work never provides. I soon realised ( as this is all uncharted territory) that they were heavily reliant on what others thought of them, positive and negative, based on an outcome goal of a time or position that they actually had no control over in the first place. They need to go back to the basics, be thankful they CAN train, that they have their health and have spent more time with family hopefully.
I have certainly learnt a great deal from my athletes this past 2-3 months, and will add it into my toolbox for the future.
Thanks for reading, see you on the other side of lockdown!