Why bother with 2021?
Published 27 January 2021. Written by Chris Worfolk.
With so many races being cancelled due to the pandemic, many triathletes, runners and cyclists are asking themselves "what's the point in training in 2021?"
It's a fair question. But I think it is worth training. Here's why:
1) It's a gamble either way. Maybe the race will happen, maybe it won't. But if it does happen and you did zero training, you have missed a year where you could have been racing. Training for a race that gets cancelled sucks, but so does missing a race that took place.
2) There are other races. And failing that, there are self-supported races that you can do anywhere. These are great because you can pick your favourite routes and base them around you.
3) Remember your true north goal. Did you get into endurance sports for medals? Or did you get into it to improve your fitness, push your limits and feel good about yourself? This goal is still valid even if there are no race events.
Whatever you do, though, make sure you have fun and enjoy the journey. Bike outside rather than on the trainer. Join group workout sessions on Zoom and Zwift. Swap some of the boring stuff out for fun and social stuff. If you are having fun along the way, it will always be worth it.
One of the questions that a lot of people have been asking themselves around this time is kind of, what's the point of training in a pandemic because most of those train for races and events, and of course, many of them have been cancelled in the past year. And many of them could be cancelled this year, depending on how the situation goes. And unfortunately, it's affecting everyone, even countries like Australia and New Zealand have done really well in managing the pandemic because a lot of the big events have so many international athletes flying in and race organizers are going to be reluctant to do it unless they can get the numbers. It may be that even those races, unfortunately, don't take place. So it's no wonder that a lot of us are feeling depressed and thinking, Oh man, is there any point training this year? Well, in this video, I'm going to go through a couple of reasons why I think it absolutely is worth training and why we'd encourage you to keep doing so.
And the first is that when we look at why we think maybe I shouldn't bother training, the reason is it's a gamble, right? We're thinking, okay, I could do all this training and then my risk gets cancelled and it might, and I've wasted all that time because I never actually got to race, but I still had to do all the training. And of course, that is the reality of doing endurance sports anyway, is that we might get to a week out from a race and pick up an injury and not be able to race. And so we're already kind of living with that gamble anyway, but I would say it's a gamble either way that if we skip the training, we say, okay, I'm not going to bother. And then the race happens. Then then the opposite has gone wrong. Then we really could have done the race. And we've kind of wasted a whole year of not being able to race because we just didn't want to do the training. And so I think whichever way we look at it, it ends up a bit of a gamble. And personally, I'm excited about racing. So if I have to gamble either way, I prefer the gamble on the race being on.
It's also worth considering that even if our race does get cancelled, then there are other options available. There were over maybe smaller, more local events that still take place. Or we could do things like what I did last year, where you can do a self-supported race. And yet it's not the same thing as having the huge crowds, but it can be more interesting because you can pick the location. You can pick the route, you can get your own little band of supporters there, and it can be a really nice event built around you rather than built around the event, organizers and their needs and what they can do. So I would never say it was a wasted season because you couldn't always race in one form or another,
But I would also encourage you to your kind of overall goal. So your true north goal as it is, why did you get into triathlon and running and endurance sports or whatever it is you're doing? Was it so that you could do a race and get a medal? Maybe it was, but chances are for most of us, it was about becoming healthier, improving our fitness, pushing ourselves to the limit, seeing where we could go and really leading a, an exciting life where we find out what we're made of. We overcome challenges and we just feel good about ourselves for what we're doing and how we're living. And of course, none of that changes. Even if events are cancelled, we're still improving our fitness. We're still living healthy. We're still leading a life that we can be proud of. And even if all the events were taken away forever, then that would still be a worthy goal, in my opinion. And if you think back to why you got into it, my guess is that for most of us, that plays at least a part in it, and that's still worth doing at any time
Where I do think that we should adapt our training a bit is that often when we have races scheduled, it becomes all about the race and the training and focused on giving our best performance possible. And we sometimes forget to enjoy the journey and have fun along the way. And this is something that we should always try and remember, even in an incident for a year where we're sure the race is going to be on, then life is just going to be more fun. If we're enjoying ourselves, if we're having fun and it's going to be less fun. If we ignore all of that and just focus on this perfect performance and maybe having a perfect performance is fine. If you're a professional athlete, if you an Olympian and your whole life is about getting that perfect performance, but most of us are not professional triathletes or runners. We're just doing it because we want to challenge ourselves and because we want to enjoy it. So when it comes to things like if it's a beautiful day outside, but you've got to have a boring ride on the turbo trainer, why not go outside? If your friends are having a race on Zwift and you like to join them, why not blow off whatever training you weren't going to be doing and go do the fun thing, because it's still going to be great for your fitness, but really help us enjoy the journey along the way.
So if you're feeling like there's a little bit down on motivation, there's not much point in training this year. I hope these ideas were helpful and will encourage you to keep going. We're all struggling at the moment. It's a genuinely hard time. And if you are finding your motivation is eroded slightly, then be kind to yourself because it is a tough time and go through these. Hopefully they'll provide some inspiration for you to keep training, keep racing. And I look forward to seeing you soon.