Technically I still managed to get one race in this year (and somehow podiumed?), but I’ll give my learning points from the year of no racing:
1. Biggest lesson from this year is that consistency is king/queen! I’ve been spending as much time as I can on the bike during this period and can definitely feel it paying off. Since I started really hitting the bike in April, I’ve upped my FTP by 25W (20W over my lifetime best), I’m feeling a lot more “at ease” on the bike (esp at higher cadence), I’m able to hold high wattage for longer (PB long ride wattage), and I’m a lot better at recovering from hard intervals. Part of that is because of a new training plan, but I think the majority of it is just down to riding 5x a week for the last 3 months. Nothing crazy, nothing fancy– just consistent volume over the long term. I’m seeing pretty similar themes with the run– consistent mileage has a massive effect. Since there’s no racing, I’ve dropped almost all intensity (minus a weekly tempo run) and its helping me stay fresh and keep things ticking over from week to week. Its been a little harder to see the results with the recent spike in temperatures (I’m not great in heat), but I’m feeling a lot smoother and expect to see significant results later in the year. All this to say: endurance sports don’t need a bunch of fancy gadgets or an ultra-detailed training plan or anything like that, you (mostly) just need consistent aerobic volume.
2. I’ve actually started taking a lot of motivation (in tri and in life) from the glut of triathlon podcasts that are coming out during the pandemic. It’s been really good to tap into the mindset of people who are super successful at what they do, definitely reminds me of what’s important in life. Current favourite is Be With Champions, but there are definitely a few good ones out there for anyone who’s interested.
3. Idk how everyone else feels, but I’m more in love with the pool now than I ever have been. Nothing quite like a good afternoon set where your stroke feels like butter and you hit every single interval just right. The first few weeks back in the pool were a struggle but its definitely starting to get good now.
4. I love training and racing and being outside and all that…but honestly I really miss training with friends. We’ve still got a standing weekly zwift ride for now, so thats been a good highlight for me. But between the banter, the jokes, the high fives, and the tacos, definitely missing my training squad. We’ll get there soon enough…