Dealing with the Racing Void
One of the hardest parts about having an empty racing schedule is dealing with the emotional aspect of training. Many have races that have a question mark next to them, and that can put us in an unfamiliar place. Some are operating in a maintenance or base phase until they know what they are training specifically for, while others are doing a mini-cycle of training with time trials as benchmark events. It can be hard to “run for fun” when you don’t know when your next goal race is happening. Everyone handles this uncharted territory a little differently. However, we do believe there are a couple of things to be careful of when your training cycle has a lot of unknowns.
1) Spending your emotional energy too quick
This can be a hard one. With little racing to look forward to, it can be a easier to dig yourself too deep in emotional investment in training. This looks like us thinking about October or November while we are just in the beginning of June, becoming fixated on perfect weeks and obsessing over the little things. While dreaming and goal setting is great and attention to detail is important, we cannot do that for a year straight. Our bodies and minds want rest and restoration. Save the deep emotional investment for the last 8-10 weeks of a training cycle not the 5 months prior.
The Fix: Make daily or weekly goals, keep them process oriented, give yourself grace and focus on how daily inputs can lead to the big goal later. Be patient with yourself and leave room for growth.
2) Doing A LOT more volume.
Running is our sport and it is easy to think that more is always better, but that isn’t always the case. We see a lot of people who want to add a lot more volume to their weekly average during this time. While wanting to do more is great a sudden significant increase can lead to burn out and injury. While we mentally want to be doing more, our muscles and bones may not be ready for a big leap. With virtual challenges galore (we love them too) it can be easy to get caught up in the “more is always better” game.
The Fix: You can increase your volume but do it intelligently. For example, if you have done around 45 miles a week for your last training cycle or two and have been healthy doing it, you can give the low to mid 50s a try. If you are looking to adding some more fitness try some non-weight-bearing cross training or begin to add more strength training to your routine. If you have a little more time on your hands, be better at the little things!
3) Not running at all because there is nothing to train for.
As a competitive group of coaches, we get you! Having something to dream about and train for is fun, exciting and fulfilling. Making daily investments for a big goal is exciting! It is easy to be motivated when you know what you want to accomplish. However, when we want to set running to the wayside because “nothing is happening” we are taking a pair of scissors to our cumulative fitness. When we stop moving, we are losing opportunity to compound our aerobic fitness.
The Fix. Keep it simple. If getting out the door is hard, just start with easy runs. Keep the big picture in mind. This is when it is great to think ahead. What we do today affects tomorrow, the next week, the next month and the next year. Find a friend to run with, a podcast, a fun playlist or an audiobook and get out the door. The next time you get to toe the line, you will thank yourself.