Bummed about your latest races being cancelled or postponed? We have some ideas to keep your competitive spirit going strong.
By now you’ve probably had a race that has either been postponed to a later date this fall or otherwise cancelled until next year's event.
For me, 2020 was supposed to be an exciting year of racing as a member of the USA Paratriathlon National Team as a guide for blind triathlete Brad Snyder as we looked to qualify and race at the Paralympic Games in Tokyo.
Just like the Olympics, the Paralympics were pushed back a year to 2021 along with most (potentially all) of the ITU races this year.
Despite the Games now being over a year away, I have a very clear goal of what I am still working towards. My coach and I decided to do a run focus block of training while mixing in some short Zwift races on the bike to keep things fun and interesting. And of course multiple stretch cord “swim” sessions per week to try and keep the upper body swimming muscles engaged so that when pools open back up, I’ll be able to (hopefully) jump back in like I haven’t been out of the water for over 2 months.
For many of us, the reason we train so hard day in and day out is so that we can show up on race day, ready to give it our all, and accomplish something great such as crossing the finish line of your first Ironman or maybe coming away with a new marathon PR. Whatever your reason is for racing, there is something special about showing up on race day, toeing that start line, and seeing what you can accomplish.
Racing doesn’t look like it will be resuming in most parts of the country for at least a couple months. So what do we do until then?
Continue to Train…Races WILL Eventually Resume
No one really knows what the summer and fall are going to look like. Some large scale international events have already been cancelled for the fall such as the Berlin Marathon (September 29th) and the ITU World Championships (August 17-23rd) which were supposed to be in Edmonton, Canada.
But I am personally optimistic that there will still be races at some point this year, at least at the local level and hopefully some larger scale events will be able to take place in the U.S. as well (e.g. Ironman World Championships, Chicago Marathon, etc.). But only time will tell.
If your race goes off as usual, you’re going to want to show up on race day trained and ready to go! And if your big races for this year do ultimately get cancelled, just remember that training is an ongoing process and what you do today, this week, and this month can help you become a better athlete a year from now.
Virtual races are popping up left and right, and they’re a great way to keep that competitive drive going while the traditional outdoor race is cancelled.
A few of the virtual races that continue to grow in popularity include:
- Ironman Virtual Race Series - So far there have been six virtual races of varying distances. Most have been a run/bike/run duathlon format but you have the entire weekend from Friday night through Sunday night to complete all 3 legs however you would like. There is a leaderboard for each race so you can see how you stack up against others all over the world. At this point there is not a list of upcoming races so it’s best to check back at the beginning of each week to see what the following weekend’s race/distance will be.
- USA Triathlon is hosting a virtual run/bike/run duathlon with both a sprint distance (5k run/20k bike/2.5k run) and olympic distance (10k run/40k bike/5k run) option. Just like the Ironman virtual races, the segments can be completed at different times (as opposed to all in a row in the right order) and can be done anytime between April 10th and May 17th. Stay tuned for other possible virtual races from USA Triathlon after this first one wraps up.
- USA Cycling is also hosting a virtual race series on Zwift with weekly races being held weekly on Wednesdays through June. There are three different times, plus 4 different categories (A-D) you can race in along with women’s only races too.
- Zwift has daily rides and races at almost any hour of the day. Set-up an account, download the Zwift App as well as the Zwift Companion App to see a full list of rides/races you can join.
- Local and regional marathons and races are going virtual. Many of the big spring marathons like the Flying Pig Marathon are being pushed to September and October. But many races also celebrated the originally scheduled weekend by challenging runners to complete their planned distance on their own and participate in other fun activities over social media.
Others developed organically after the lockdowns began like the “Quarantine Backyard Ultra” which had over 2,000 people all over the world racing against each other in a last man standing style event. Participants were challenged to run a 4.1667 mile loop every hour on the hour until there is only one person remaining.
Other race organizers throughout the country are turning their events into virtual running or duathlon type races where you can complete the event on your own. The reality is there will likely be more of these in the coming months.
Even fun mass-participation races like the Wonder Woman Run Series, which holds races in cities all over the country, have gone virtual for 2020.
Connect with a Local Triathlon or Cycling Club
Whether or not you’re already involved with a local triathlon or cycling club, it is a great time to virtually meet and train with some new people that are in your same area.
Host a virtual group ride on Zwift or TrainerRoad with members of the club. It will hold you and everyone else accountable, and makes the experience a lot more enjoyable knowing you are riding with others in real time.
Even if it’s not with a local club, set-up a weekly virtual ride with an out-of-state friend or relative on Zwift, and enjoy the company of each other as if you were actually riding together.
Focus on the Bike or the Run
With pools still closed, most people are already getting in some extra cycling and/or running. But if you don’t have a race scheduled until the fall, it may be a great time to really focus on just one of these sports and really try and make some serious gains that will carry over into your next race, whether it be this fall or even next year.
Design your own “Race” Challenge
With races being cancelled, people all over the world have taken it into their own hands to still get it in. From a quarantine balcony marathon in France to someone completing an Ironman in their backyard to help raise money for a local food bank, people are finding ways to stay active and also do good by raising money for various charities and causes whether it be a foodbank, health care workers, or other COVID-19 related charities.
Consider creating your own personal challenge or move forward with the race that you had scheduled and consider raising money for a local charity at the same time.
Try Something New
If your big race for the year was cancelled and you’re not sure what to do next, consider trying something new for a few weeks as you figure out your future racing plans. As the weather begins to warm-up, consider getting outside for a hike or try out mountain biking for a change of pace to your normal cycling routine.
The 4th Discipline: Nutrition
Work on Your Cooking Skills
With many restaurants closed (or slowly starting to re-open) we’ve all had the chance to do a little more cooking at home. Cooking at home allows you to control what you’re eating and focus on wholesome, real food.
A general rule of thumb for meals is to try and get at least three of the five food groups (whole grains, vegetables, fruits, dairy, and meat/protein), if not more with at least some sort of carbohydrate and protein along with some healthy fats. An example for each meal might be:
Breakfast: Oatmeal with banana and peanut butter made with or topped with some milk
Lunch: Raw veggies such as carrots or celery with hummus, a piece of fruit, greek yogurt container, and a sandwich on 100% whole wheat bread (sandwich can be made with a lean deli meat such as turkey and cheese (if adding cheese nix the yogurt) or a nut butter such as almond butter).
Dinner: Dinner is a nightly opportunity to get a bit creative. The ideas are endless, and thanks to the internet you’re just a click aways from thousands and thousands of delicious recipes. Stir frys can be quick and variable, allowing you to use what you have in your fridge and pantry — Mix up some brown rice, frozen stir fry veggies, and protein such as chicken, shrimp, or tofu/tempeh along with some sort of sauce such as teriyaki or curry.
Out of the many goods flying off the grocery store shelves, baking supplies are at the top of the list. It seems like everyone has embraced the concept of “Stress Baking” evoking a sort of bread baking renaissance. In fact, one of the country’s biggest grocers, Kroger, has reported that yeast sales are up over 600% right now.
Check out a few of our very own INFINIT inspired recipes:
Time to Talk
As always we’re still offering complimentary consultations with our team of registered dietitians. We’re all working from our homes and are ready to help you get your own custom blends dialed in. We can also help adjust your existing blends for the type of training you are doing now and your new or revised 2020 training goals..
Need help figuring out a bullet-proof fueling plan? Not sure how to carry your nutrition on the run? We’ve been there, and have tips and tricks to best use your blends. Schedule a consultation and we can talk through the best strategy for you.
Doing a little more strength training right now? Or just getting in a little more training overall? Recovery is key to ensuring you’re getting the most out of your workouts and ready to go for your next training session. We can help you get set-up with a Custom Protein blend tailored to your needs and preferences.
Race days will return. For now, keep on training and hop in a virtual race to help satisfy that competitive drive. See what your local triathlon or cycling club has going on to stay connected with other members. Not a member of a club? Consider joining one. Or if there’s not a club in your area, consider starting one. There are likely others in the same boat as you who would like to connect and train with fellow athletes in your area.
Now is a great time to focus on your weaker areas, just the bike or just the run, or incorporate some extra strength training into your endurance routine. Flex that creativity muscle — Design your own race challenge and raise money for a local charity, work on your cooking and baking skills, and have some fun with the family at the same time.
Stay safe and healthy and we hope to see you back at the races soon!
About the Author
Colin Riley, MS, RDN, LD, CSSD is INFINIT's Head Formulation Specialist, registered dietitian, a fourth year professional triathlete, and a USA Triathlon level 1 certified triathlon coach. Colin started his triathlon career while he was studying at the University of Dayton and Florida State University. Also in that time Colin received his Bachelor of Science in fitness and nutrition from University of Dayton and his Masters in Sports Nutrition from Florida State University.