Training Through Covid-19 Social Distancing

 
After returning home from Florida, where I was begining to gain momentum during a second pre-season training camp, I had to re-adjust. 

The sharp contrast of living with so many people then being alone was jolting.  But it's a reality I'm not a stranger to.  One of the challenges of an athletic career for an adult-athlete is going back and forth between a very solitary, egotistical lifestyle, and one with a lot of social stimulation, sharing and compromises.  The other major ajustment was: shiting gears in training.  The gyms are closed. Pools are closed.  Athletic therapy services are not availble.  Motivation however, is as present as ever.  (We'll discuss that later.)  I just had to figure out some ways to funnel it into something productive...

Here's how I am dealing:

1. I follow a daily training plan on TrainingPeaks.  When training tasks are set out for the day, I feel like I have structure and organzation.  Plus, finishing a workout makes it change colour in the TrainingPeaks calendar, which helps my progress feel measureable in a really simple way.  My coach, Chris Rozdilsky (from PowerWatts and Premier Performance training centre in Montréal) follows the data that is uploaded each day, and helps me readjust the plan if needed.  We're people, not machines. Sometimes the plan has to be adjust to how our bodies are responding...! If you don't have a coach, get one (I can recommend some. Message me on Instagram: www.instagram.com/lex_albrecht).  You can also use TrainingPeaks for free: www.trainingpeaks.com 

2. Zwift.  Because as much as I love riding the E-Motion Rollers Smart Trainer inside (I use it even during the summer under regular circumstances), feeling stuck by my lonesome in a small urban condo feels lonesome and grim over time.  Zwifting in Watopia gives me the option to interact with friends and other riders between intervals, or during longer endurance rides.  My friend and physiologist Guy Thibault (who I co-wrote two articles with recently: Relayer avec classe and Relais cyclistes) has even made me a personal workout using the methodology behind his 3-2-1 Go training app.  It's fun to have the visual cues on Zwift at the beginning and end of each interval.  
 
3. Interval training plans make indoor training sessions more intense, more effecient and sometimes even more fun than training outside. I  usually go oldschool: using a sheet of paper, instead of looking up a workout on a virtual cycling platform.  I make each interval set a different colour.  Analayzing the data in TrainingPeaks afterwards is pretty cool.
Lex Albrecht professional cyclist, cycling workout, intervals, training plan, cycling coach

4. Strength training is possible, without a gym!  I use my trusty ab wheel (this ab roller was a Christmas gift from 15 years ago. It's been around the world!) exercise bands, the yoga block, and 5 and 15 lb weights for core workouts, upper body exercises, and leg day routines for cycling.  

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5. Streaming yoga and mobility classes has been my go-to while racing around the world, for years.  There's something about totally disconnecting and being led through a yoga or mobility class that is soothing.  I use www.doyogawithme.com for free classes, I stream from Wanderlust yoga studio in Montréal with Zoom.  Charles Castonguay has been posting mobility classes on Facebook.  He leads myofascial release techniques and self-massage methods.  They only require my Travel Roller and acupressure balls.  I used to just roll all over this stuff... which was good. But following an intentional program and learning new moves is surprisingly rewarding.
 
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Streaming workout, Charles Castonguay, travel roller, foam rolling, yoga class, mobility exercises, stretching for cyclists, stretches for cyclists, Lex Albrecht
 
6. When I don't feel like doing it... I don't. 

Sometimes I lose motivation when fatigue sneaks up on me.  Plus it's normal to not feel feeling the drive to crush a workout at home, again, under Covid-19 confinement. In those cases, it's okay to lay off. 

Because when the heart and the soul aren't there, the legs have to push extra hard to pedal us through all on their own... The moments we put that type of demand on them should be used very sparingly.  Often, taking a break will do more good than any sweat-fest could ever accomplish.  Balance is key, friends.  I'll share more on motivation soon!

Happy confinement.  It's not every day that we can save the world from our living rooms ;).  Let's enjoy it, fellow heros.

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