How Do You Plan For 2021 After the Dumpster Fire of 2020?

For many, 2020 has proven to be the year that the wheels came off the fitness wagon, due to unprecedented world events.

Many triathletes are just now looking to find events in 2021, hoping that they will actually occur, while many competitive cyclists have embraced the virtual racing scene and riding outside more for pleasure, or a break from focused training on the trainer.

But for the vast majority, motivation has been a big obstacle, and others are burned out having trained for an event that was first delayed a few months, and then cancelled.

So ho do you prepare for 2021, which looks like it may “rhyme” with 2020?

 

Step 1. Build your Mental Immunity

The “Mental Immune System” is our abilities to be resilient, and to have in place a social network and mental framework to be able to deal with the challenges and obstacles life throws our way:

From global pandemics, to the more common “I missed my training due to life, and feel overwhelmed”, your mental immune system needs attention and constant work, just like your fitness, in order to get stronger, and better. 

Dr. Lisa Lewis shared her expertise with us on this subject on episode 73 of the Strong Savvy Cyclist & Triathlete Podcast.

Step 2. Build a Program for Consistency

While this is something cyclists & triathletes should be doing ALL the time, we tend to overestimate the training volume we can handle, or the effect that life stress, such as work, family obligations, and errands, places on us.

Less is more!

In fact, this has finally been proven by research, and yet many cyclists and triathletes still think more is more.

As Alex Hutchinson Points out in his piece “How to make your strength routine evidence-based”  simply performing 1-2 days a week of strength training to an RPE of 8/9 (or failure, which I do not recommend for endurance athletes, but that’s another topic), is enough to see strength gains. 

This has been the guiding principle for strength training for endurance athletes here at HVTraining for the last 10+ years: bot in-sport, and out. 

The place where most athletes screw up?

Trying to add more “Because” ….

“I feel I can do more”
“The training was hard, but I didn’t FEEL it the next day”
“I need to train more if I want to do X event”

And yet a few weeks later, they’ve missed several trainings.

It’s NOT the massive, big, hard trainings that push you forward, it’s the consistency.

Step 3. Adapt

Cut the BS and stop kidding yourself that those $3,000 compression boots will help you recover better, and instead get an extra hour of sleep (Add some kind of live plant to your bedroom to improve your air quality while you’re at it!), improve your diet to get plenty of protein and vegetables, and take 15 minutes a day to practice gratitude.

It’s not recovery you want, it’s adaptations, and those will only occur if the basics are being executed regularly. . . Not using powders, fancy technology, or some detox tea.

Step 4. Learn to be Process Focused, Not Goal Focused

Pretty much every single highly successful athlete I’ve ever coached- from Basketball, Running, Triathlon, Mountain climbing, and Cycling, has been PROCESSED oriented.

And it’s not just me.

It’s Lebron.
It’s Michael Jordan.
It’s Michael Phelps.
It’s Missy Franklin.

 

The list goes on and on. 

If you want to be truly successful, and see what you can REALLY do, focus on the process, and showing up every day to do the best you can, at that time, in those circumstances, with what you have to work with. 

Races and events can be great motivators, but they shouldn’t always be the sole focus.

You just need to focus on the interval at hand, and making it the best damn interval you can.

Other times, you need to focus on the recovery interval on hand, and make it the most recoveryiest of all recovery intervals you’ve ever done (within the range of acceptable that is!). 

Conclusion

2020 has caused us to reevaluate what we do, why, and how.

2021 is your opportunity to come out and CRUSH it, by learning to enjoy the ride, and focus on what you DO have and ARE able to do, thus allowing you to get far more personal satisfaction, and fitness, as you create a longer and longer string of “unbroken” training days that you’ve planned out, and are hitting each one.

 

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and have a great weekend!

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