Maintaining motivation to train and look after yourself can be difficult if you’re self-isolating in a coronavirus lockdown.
However, rather than losing hope as you see your events and races cancel and are unable to get out to ride as much as you’d like, now is the time to keep focussed and keep progressing in your riding goals.
Here’s our top tips for coming out of lockdown fitter and healthier than you went into it!
Just as we encouraged you to keep the same bed and meal times now you’re stuck at home as when life was carrying on as normal, you should also maintain your training structure.
If before you were riding your turbo twice in the week after work and used to go for a long ride at the weekends, keep doing that now you’re working from home. Now is not the time to start thinking you can either ride every day or decide you just can’t be bothered at all.
"Why not use Zwift to organize a ride with your friends online instead?"
Missing your long social ride at the weekend is tough – but there is an alternative! Why not use Zwift to organise a ride with your friends online instead? Understandably you may want to use the weekend as an opportunity to go on an epic five-hour ride. Unfortunately, it’s not advised to go on prolonged rides right now, so why not do a double session of a few hours outdoors to get the sun and enjoy the spring, then as soon as your home, jump on a group ride with your training buddies? Winner-winner!
Keep setting goals
There’s nothing worse than seeing the events you had in the diary since last autumn get cancelled or postponed, and without a goal for the near future, it can be hard to motivate yourself to batter your way through a set of intervals after a day of work.
Counter this problem by booking in a new goal as soon as you can. Even if that’s an autumn time trial or a 2021 road race, having something in the calendar will hugely boost your motivation.
"Having something in the calendar will hugely boost your motivation"
Setting a series of intermediate goals before your major goal is also a great tactic. Even something small like saying to yourself you’ll race on Zwift twice a month, or complete two interval sessions per week, is a great way of keeping your mind on track.
Keep your diet and eating patterns
If you were watching your diet before coronavirus quarantines started, don’t be tempted to lapse into bad habits now.
Finding yourself working from home when you’re not used to it can lead to regular trips to the cupboard for ‘just one biscuit’ or leave you eating at strange times. Whatever your routine and diet before – keep it the same now.
If you’re looking to shed a few pounds and are stuck inside, one thing to remember is that your daily energy expenditure is likely to drop – you’re not walking to work, popping out for a coffee at lunchtime, or standing about watching the kids play football at the weekend. To compensate for this lack of activity outside of your riding, you may want to consider slightly smaller meals to keep your weight loss on track.
In a future Journal entry we will talk to Alan Murchison founder of Performance Chef (www.performancechef.com). Performance Chef focus on creating bespoke packages to cater to individual athlete nutritional needs, helping with meal planning, recovery strategies and race fuelling.
Keep connected and accountable
One of the best ways of staying motivated and disciplined to reach your riding and health goals is to be accountable. It could be worth making one of your riding fiends a ‘training buddy.’ You and your training buddy could commit to carrying out the same workouts each day, and can keep each other pumped to carry out each session.
Even just keeping a training log will help you to keep on track with your training. A note of what riding you did every day is enough to give you evidence that you’re doing as you planned, or to give you incentive when you see you missed a day’s riding.
Keep it real!
However, one thing to keep in mind during this difficult and strange time is to keep it real and keep things in perspective. For example, balancing work and riding with looking after an ill family member is not an easy thing.
Remember that right now, health and safety is the most important thing – and if you need to miss a week or two of riding it’s not the end of the world. The bike will always be there for you, and it will feel all the sweeter when you get back on it if you missed a few days of riding!
Ride safe, and stay well!