Competing and Training through the Corona Pandemic

2020 will be a historic year for sport. It is perhaps the first time where there has been a blanket postponement on racing and competition across sport. Certainly this is the first time in the modern era of sport. How we cope with the situation will be extremely challenging. At some point the dust will settle and we will move on. It is impossible to say when that will be and how it might change things.

One thing is for certain in that we now have a lot more time until our next competition. Whether your season has started or was soon to start, very little will happen until Spring or later. How do we manage this change to the schedule? How do we adjust our training? What about the competitions we were supposed to have?

We will have a look at all these things in this article and try give you the best chance of having success when we get back to normal.

Changes to expect

1. Our Races

Most of us will have been notified that a number of our competitions have been postponed. Few races have been officially cancelled. This means that there is likely to be rescheduling later in the season; in some cases where rescheduling is impossible, deferrals will apply. This means you can wait and race the event next year or transfer your entry to a race later in the season.

Here is the statement made by the “The Iron Man Group”; similar approaches have been adopted by many other National Governing Bodies and Organizations.

Providing Flexibility to Athletes 
Certain races will be postponed or cancelled due to the outbreak and we will communicate these as soon as practical. Our goal will be to move the race to a date later in the year. We work in close partnership with the relevant public health authorities in the territories where the races take place and err on the side of safety for our athletes and the host community. If an event cannot occur on the scheduled date, we will take the following actions: 

  • Postponement: Registered athletes for events that are postponed due to COVID-19 by the local health authorities are automatically transferred to the rescheduled date. For those that the new date does not work, we will allow deferrals into the same event the next year. 
  • Cancellation: Registered athletes for events that are cancelled due to COVID-19 by the local health authorities are automatically deferred to the same race in 2021. 
  • Other options: We are vetting other options to allow displaced athletes to race in 2020 and will communicate those in due course. 
  • Athletes in Quarantined/Restricted Territories: For athletes in certain designated quarantine or restricted territories who have registered for races that take place before June 1, 2020 and have NOT been postponed or cancelled, we will aid in finding alternative races later in the season.”

What we can take from this is that the show will go on eventually. We have not lost our race – it simply won’t happen when, or potentially where, we planned for. We must therefore make adjustments to make the best of the situation. We may need to look at races later in the season that may tick similar boxes for us. This will be important for qualification and rankings.

Ironman Start
We are unlikely to see these scenes for a little while

2. Our training schedules

For any summer season sports we can expect a delay on the start of our seasons by at least a month or two and maybe more. We will need to look at the timing of what we are working on and what might need to be changed. A major diffculty will be that we haven’t had much of an opportunity to assess our strength and weaknesses in a race situation for a considerable amount of time. This can leave us a bit lost as to what we work on or our approach to our training. This may seem a lot more daunting than you might think.

A well structured training phases will have quite distinct blocks working on specifc capabilities. These are usually timed and coordinated across the course of both your season and offseason. A simple extension of some of these blocks may be all that’s needed to reorganise things.

3. Our training

Many facilities are now closed or have restricted access. This will mean that alterations will need to be made to cope with closures. Most of us can make a big impact on general abilities but possibly not on specific ones . We may need to switch some focus to more general adaptations rather than technical skills which may require other team mates or a particular facility. In times where structure is hard to put in place we must be happy with any progress and not fret about perfection. There may be an opportunity with extra time before racing to experiment with alternative training methods and techniques. Extra Strength & Conditioning or restorative work may allow for progress via another route.

Empty Pool
Specific facilities like swimming pools will be hard to access

4. Our Motivation

Major changes that are forced upon us can have a detrimental impact on our mood state. That combined with the current crisis and it would not be hard to explain a loss in motivation. In times like these it is important to redirect mental energy. Instead of thinking about motivation, think about consistency. Make a plan and tick the boxes. You don’t need to want to train to get a session done. If you just keep ticking boxes you’ll be in a much better position than those who wallow in pity when things pick up again. It is important to force yourself to view setbacks as opportunity. Yes your favorite competition is cancelled and yes your daily routine has been flipped upsidedown. If you can’t change it, then adapt and move on. Nobody is at a particular advantage when racing is postponed. Those who seize the opportunity will be the ones who reap rewards later.

We understand that the current period is testing and uncertain. We are all faced with different challenges but it is important to maintain a positive, go forward attitude. We are specialised in training interventions which work around unfavorable circumstances, so if you feel you may require assistance with your training changes do not hesitate to contact us. Over the next number of weeks we will be producing a series of practical tips to help keep your performances on track.

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