As Coronavirus continues to impact nearly all areas of our lives, many athletes are working to navigate this strange and unprecedented time. Not only has COVID-19 caused the cancellation or postponement of numerous races, but it has also caused a shut down of most local businesses, including gym and pools. The TriDot team addresses athlete questions about how to adapt your triathlon training in this unique environment.
TriDot Podcast .26:
Adapting your Training Routine for COVID-19
Intro: This is the TriDot podcast. TriDot uses your training data and genetic profile combined with predictive analytics and artificial intelligence to optimize your training, giving you better results in less time with fewer injuries. Our podcast is here to educate, inspire, and entertain. We'll talk all things triathlon with expert coaches and special guests. Join the conversation and let's improve together.
Andrew: Welcome to the TriDot podcast, everyone. Okay, so a few podcasts ago, we started the show with a quick message from the TriDot team focused on the coronavirus outbreak and its impact on all of our race schedules. And in that opening, I promised that, beyond those few minutes, we wouldn't spend any time talking about the coronavirus outbreak on the podcast. At that time, we were aware that everyone was already hearing about it from pretty much every corner of the news, so we really wanted to keep ourselves a corona-free source of entertainment. And in the regularly scheduled Monday episodes, we're going to hold to that.
But we all know by now that everyone's training is being impacted by COVID-19. And we are starting to see a lot of great questions from athletes about how to navigate this strange and unprecedented time. So, consider today an extra special bonus episode of sorts, where we address all of your questions about how to adjust our training based on what is happening right now in the world around us. So, let's get it going.
First up, joining me today is coach John Mayfield. A successful Ironman athlete himself, John leads TriDot’s athlete services, ambassador and coaching programs. He has coached hundreds of athletes, ranging from first-timers to Kona qualifiers and professional triathletes. John has been using TriDot since 2010 and coaching with TriDot since 2012. John, how’s it going today?
John: It’s interesting in some unprecedented times here with some issues that we've not had to face in the past, but we're going to do our best to provide some good information and some good feedback to the athletes.
Andrew: Yes, that is the goal. And also helping us do that is professional triathlete and coach, Elizabeth James. Elizabeth came up through the sport from a soccer background, and quickly rose through the triathlon ranks using TriDot. From a beginner, to top age grouper, to a professional triathlete. She is a Kona and Boston Marathon qualifier who has coached triathletes with TriDot since 2014. Elizabeth, thanks for joining us.
Elizabeth: Thank you, Andrew. Kind of as John mentioned, you know, while it's always an honor and really a humbling privilege and opportunity to share information on these podcasts, we certainly wish it were under different circumstances that we were recording today. But I do hope that today's episode can provide maybe some reassurance and guidance for the triathlon community.
Andrew: And last but not least is TriDot coach, Jeff Raines. Jeff has a Master's of Science in exercise physiology and was a successful D1 collegiate runner. He's qualified for the Boston Marathon multiple times and has raced over 120 triathlons from competitive sprints, to full distance Ironmans. Jeff has been coaching runners and triathletes since 2009. Jeff Raines, any coronavirus-related puns to lay on us before we get to the warm up today?
Jeff: You know, as much as I like to start these podcasts off with a bang and some… some little bit of fun, wittiness, you know, out of respect to those affected and suffering out there, you know, we want to keep this podcast light and entertaining. But I'm going to lay off those this time. I will say that lots of athletes are, you know, being challenged out there. A coach's job is not always to challenge our athletes, but for our athletes in even circumstances to challenge us, to challenge us as coaches. So, this podcast is a great opportunity for us to use all of the arrows in our quivers and really give back to the community who is being affected severely right now.
Andrew: Well said, Jeff, well said. Thanks so much for that. Well, I'm Andrew, the average triathlete, voice of the people and captain of the middle of the pack. We'll get going today with a warm up question and then get into the main set conversation, talking through all the training and racing implications of COVID-19. For our cooldown, we'll share 10 real-life athlete responses to our question, “Where were you when you found out your race was canceled or postponed due to the virus?” Alright, let's get to it.
Narrator: Time to warm up. Let's get moving.
Andrew: Alright, guys. With the episode centering around the impact COVID-19 is having on all of our lives, I'm just going to lean real hard into coronavirus related content and start us off with a virus life related question. Whether we've been quarantined or just practicing social distancing, or still moving around but on high alert, all of our lives have been affected in some way by this worldwide pandemic. So, for today's warm up question, in what way has your normal day-to-day rhythm been most impacted by the virus? Jeff Raines, I'm going to start with you.
Jeff: Well, I will say, having a 3-year-old and a 1-year-old around the house 24/7 now has definitely been unique. It's funny in that you… you see there's a video floating around Facebook, YouTube of these like really kind of high-end government officials at home and they're wearing suits at their desk, and you think they're in the White House or something. And then all of a sudden, a kid busts into the door, screaming, a baby running in a diaper.
Andrew: Is that you Jeff? Is that what you're experiencing?
Jeff: Oh my gosh, that's happened numerous times in just the past week or two. I'll be on an athlete call or even our daily huddle staff morning calls, and, you know, poopy diaper here and kid crying here. So, it's definitely unique in that aspect of working from home.
Andrew: Yep, no, I can only imagine. And that is not a problem that Elizabeth or I have. So, Elizabeth, what is your biggest kind of change to your rhythm since there's no poopy diapers involved in your day?
Elizabeth: Right, yes. You know, I almost hate to say this, as I know that so many people have been impacted in large ways, but the biggest impact for me (which, again, is so small by comparison) is the unavailability of my gym. So, I've been going to the same gym almost daily since moving to Texas 5 years ago. So, the gym is not only where I get my daily workouts in and kind of meet my friends for both training and some social time…
Andrew: Shout out to Life Time Fitness.
Andrew: The official gym of Elizabeth James.
Elizabeth: Fantastic. But it's also like where I get my massages and my haircut. I'll grab some food from the café, do some of my work hours from the computer there. So, it's you know, with the… my husband and I, we… we joke that the gym is kind of my second home. So, with that shutdown, now I just have my first home for training and work.
Andrew: That’s too bad, that’s too bad. I don't know how you're going to survive. I don't know how you're going to cope with that.
Elizabeth: I know, it’s…
Andrew: I will say the Life Time, I'm not a member of Life Time Fitness. There's not one near my house in particular. But a couple times that I've been to one with Elizabeth and Jeff and John, their café has… what is it, the smoothie I get? The Mocha, Midnight Mocha?
Elizabeth: Oh, the Mocha Madness.
Andrew: Yeah, the Mocha Madness. Oh, dear Lord. Y'all, if you’re ever by a Life Time Fitness, try the Mocha Madness smoothie. I'm getting off topic already, but it is so tasty.
Jeff: So, Elizabeth, is Charles your barista, your hairdresser…
Andrew: He makes the Mocha Madness nowadays.
Jeff: … and your masseuse now?
Elizabeth: No, he does make the smoothies for me. I actually had one this morning, yes. Right off the bike trainer, here you go.
Andrew: Yes. John Mayfield, how is your day being impacted the most by COVID-19?
John: So, on a day-to-day basis, it's actually not that different. I work from home and I don't get out a whole lot. I don't have a fancy gym where I get my haircut to go to. So, for me, it's not that big of a difference. The… the biggest thing is my kids be at home. So, mine, similar to what Jeff said, but… but I'm kind of on the opposite end of the spectrum. I have junior high and high school aged kids. So, fortunately, mine are not running into the office with dirty diapers. But... I my desk is against my daughter's bedroom wall and she's big into Broadway. So, there are times where I have to bang on the wall and…
Andrew: That sounds like a fun combination.
John: Yeah, yeah, kind of same thing, phone calls and just trying to get work done kind of thing. Got to bang on the wall…
Andrew: She raging to the Hamilton soundtrack while you're trying to get work done?
John: Yeah, all those. So, it's… that's kind of the main challenges is letting my daughter pass the time and enjoy her stuff, but getting work done in the meantime.
Andrew: Now, now that she is home, you shared a story with us, John, about how she walked in on you doing something quite interesting at your home.
John: Need to explain that.
Andrew: Can you… can you please tell us the story behind that comment? Because…
Jeff: Email support.
Andrew: … it… this is… this is worth sharing.
John: Yeah. So, something we're going to discuss at length here even in this podcast is we've been developing resources for… for the tubing exercises and different… different things that we can do, provide the athletes with the resources for things like… like tubing to work on their swim and dry-land exercises. And I… it's one of those things like where, for me, in order to kind of answer questions and think through it, I need to do it.
Andrew: And you were on the phone with me and we were talking through the best way to explain swim tube exercises to our athletes.
John: Yeah. So, I need to do them, and I need to do those movements in order to describe them, and even think about it and think through it say, “Yeah, that the hand should be here. The elbow should be there,” kind of a thing. So, yeah, I was like bent over in a horizontal position with my hands out in front and I'm doing like… like I'm doing now, just even to describe it. And my 15-year-old daughter walks into the room and just laughed at me, as she should have. It was completely fair, it was completely reasonable. She had absolutely no idea what on earth I was doing. But yeah, it was… it was kind of embarrassing, so I shared that with the team. I shared it in confidence, I didn't know it was going to end up on a podcast, but here we are. So…
Andrew: Here… here we are.
John: Yeah, it was… It was funny. It's definitely it was even… even I laughed at myself with… with that one.
Andrew: Yeah, the big change is for me, you know, my wife is an accountant for a Big Four accounting firm. And so, she is now home because they… they are allowing their employees to work remotely to help mitigate the spread of the virus. And so, she's working from home for the foreseeable future. And we're actually working on selling our house and buying a new house in this season of our lives, coincidentally. And so, we just put a bunch of our stuff in storage so that our house looks, you know, really nice and open and staged. And one of the things that we put away in a storage unit was her desk in our house. And so, in our house right now, both of us are side-by-side on my desk. And so, she has her laptop and monitor up and I have my, you know, iMac up, and we're both working on things side… side-by-side. So, that's been an adjustment. She has a lot of phone calls throughout the day with talking to the team she works with. I have a lot of phone calls with you guys during the day, talking about things we're working on. And so, the 2 of us trying to coordinate our work phone calls schedule around each other has been really interesting.
But… but past that, the other adjustment for me, I am notorious in my household for how many paper products I go through. And it's not… It's not necessary, it's just like when I sit down to eat a meal, I'm really funny, I'm really particular about not getting my hands messy and, you know, not getting salad dressing on my face or barbecue sauce on my fingers. And I will go through and absurd amount of napkins and paper towels just… just to keep my hands clean and… and face clean. So, the biggest life adjustment for me, besides my wife being home, is having be… having to be mindful of the paper products, because their hard to come by right now and you want to make them last as long as possible. So, it's doing anything we can around the house to use 1 paper towel sheet at a time and not 8 during a meal, and to slow down the use of toilet paper and napkins and whatnot. So, that's been the big adjustment.
John: Have you started to ration the Cheez-It yet?
Andrew: You know what? We… surprisingly, John, because of how delicious they are, but surprisingly, people are not panic buying Cheez-It.
John: That's weird.
Andrew: It's weird, right? That… I expected that to be the first thing to go because of how tasty they are. But I have been able to get Cheez-Its every time we've gone to the grocery store. Now, we're trying to go to the grocery store less, right, just to limit exposure and in public places. So, I have been buying a few extra boxes when we go at a time.
Jeff: But you're not hoarding any more than you already would normally.
Andrew: But I'm not hoarding anymore. There's… there's no one out there lacking Cheez-Its because of how many Andrew Harley is buying. So, we're… we're all good.
Narrator: On to the main sets. Going in 3, 2, 1.
Andrew: So, when the coronavirus first became a major player on the worldwide health scene, we had no intentions of releasing an entire podcast episode dedicated to the effects it would have on triathletes. But as more and more races are postponed, pools became closed and athletes face quarantines, we quickly realized that triathletes would now be facing new training challenges that we had never seen before. So, we threw it out to you guys. What were the questions that you had? What were the challenges you were facing in regards to triathlon-ing during this time? And well, we have coaches, John, Jeff and Elizabeth all here, ready to help answer the questions that you asked.
So, we do not pretend… I want to say this, we do not pretend to be health experts, experts on the virus itself, experts on… on… we're not here trying to predict how long this is going to go and what's going to happen on the worldwide health scene. We're here specifically to talk about how we can try to swim, bike, and run, and train for that during this time.
So, no shocker here, guys, the number one thing that athletes asked about was swim training. So, let's dive into a few of the swim questions that athletes had. I'm going to start with this. Michelle asked, “No access to pool or open water swim. How should I approach or substitute for swim training?” Sarah, one of our athletes from Europe, she had a similar question and put it this way, “What can we do instead of swimming, so that missing sessions won't have such a big effect?”
John: So, tubing, as I mentioned, is going to be the easiest and most effective thing that we can do while we're away from… from our pool. So, that's something we've been… we've been working on really since the… the pools started to close was providing information and resources to the athletes that they can integrate this into their training. And it's pretty simple. It doesn't take a lot of time, but it can be… can be highly effective. So, these are resistance band type tubes, and what we're able to do is largely mimic the swim stroke through these exercises. And the great thing is, is that it really allows us to isolate each portion of the stroke and really reinforces proper form. So, we're… we’re confident that athletes can actually come back to the pool stronger, faster swimmers because of the work that they've done in these… in these weeks off. It's an opportunity, both to reinforce proper form, to build muscle memory, and to build strength in those swim specific muscles. And these resistance tubes do a great job of each one of those.
So, I'll say, the most important thing is to do them right. I would even suggest starting without resistance bands. Just start in front of the mirror and take advantage of these resources where we're sending out videos, we're posting to our social media, both videos showing how to do it, and then sets of what to do. But start without resistance bands, and don't progress until you get each movement right. And that's… that's even true once you add the bands in. So, there's going to be several things that are highlighted within those videos, certain aspects that we want to really reinforce.
And those are going to ensure that these are productive and are going to reinforce proper swim stroke. They're going to build the strength and they're going to reduce the risk of injury. Because again, we do these things wrong, they're going to be counterproductive, they're going to reinforce bad behavior, and they're going to increase risk of injury. But when done right, when followed the examples that we set in the videos, they're going to be… be highly effective. So, again, I'm confident that athletes can actually return to the pool faster, stronger swimmers, than… than the… when we started the break.
Elizabeth: And, you know, let me offer a little reassurance here and say that, for the majority of triathletes, taking some time out of the water, you… you are absolutely going to be okay. As John said, you may even return to the pool as a stronger swimmer. Now, if you're brand new to swimming and you won't have the opportunity to do any swim training at all before your first triathlon event, then yeah, you know, it might be important to restructure your season so that you can confidently compete in the swim portion of… of an event, you know, later on in the year.
But if you've been swimming for a while, you know, that the unavailability of the swimming facilities is likely going to take more of a mental toll than an actual physical toll on your preparations. Kind of keep this in mind. There have been many athletes that have experienced injuries that have kept them from swimming for an extended period of time, and they were able to regain their swim fitness when they were able to resume that training in the water. I mean, just last summer, for me, I had to take some extended time off of full swim training when… when I broke my hand. Other athletes have taken years away from…
Andrew: When you broke your hand winning the female overall at Ironman, or at, at TriWaco in Waco, Texas, correct?
Andrew: Let’s not skip over that fact. You broke your hand mid-race and won the race. So, continue.
Elizabeth: Oh, yes. Well, thank you.
Andrew: You guys don't brag on yourself, so I will.
Elizabeth: Gosh, yeah. I gotta think of where it was. I'm embarrassed a little bit here. But I guess, where I was going with that is that, you know, other athletes have also taken years away from the sport itself. And then they've been surprised at how quickly they've kind of just been able to pick that back up in regards to their swim training. So, again, you know, it's going to be okay. And as John mentioned, you know, for the time that you're out of the water, there… there are some options to engage those muscles that are utilized in the swim stroke and to help retain some of that muscle… muscle memory that will reinforce the proper technique.
Elizabeth: And just as he was saying, you know, these are great to implement, but please, please, please, I want to… I want to stress, be careful. Just over the past week or so, I have seen a lot of videos on social media with terrible form and suggestions of these tubing sets that are much, much, much too long.
Andrew: Not all… not all dry land workouts are created equal.
Elizabeth: Right, yes.
Andrew: And created with… with proper form in mind.
Elizabeth: Mm-hmm. So, I urge you to take a look at the resources that TriDot has provided. You know, buy the proper equipment, take time to learn the movements, and, you know, never do more repetitions then you can do with proper form. Because the last thing you want to do is create an injury that's going to keep you out of the pool even longer.
Andrew: Yeah. And I just want to piggyback on… I just had TriDot’s media producer, you know, we have one video out now where we kind of touched on and introduce the tubing exercises and how to do it. And that was with some video footage that was shot a little… a little ways back, that that was… we wanted to introduce it to our athletes as quickly as possible, because everybody's facing pool closures. But there will be some resources in the coming weeks, coming months even, where, you know, we have you guys as our expert coaches kind of really, with some… some updated camera footage, with some different angles, with really breaking down, on camera, the proper techniques. So, guys, be… be on the lookout for more stuff coming from TriDot in regards to swim tube workouts since we do believe in it so much.
So… so, let's move on to, this is Claudia. And this is getting into… you know, the tubing is great, we believe in the tubing, but… but other athletes are asking about strength training for… for… to kind of help those swim muscles stay active. So, Claudia says, “What is the best strength training for swimming, especially since there are no pools available?” Jeff in the United Kingdom said, “I think strength training sessions that focus on the swim muscle groups might be a good replacement.” Is that kind of true that if we know the muscle groups that are… that are helping us in our swimming the most, that if we're exercising those in our home gyms with some bodyweight kind of stuff, is that also going to be helpful in addition to the tubing exercises?
Elizabeth: Well, hopefully, as a triathlete, you are already incorporating some strength training into your weekly training routine. If not, I'm going to give a shameless plug right now for another one of our podcast episodes that John and I did on strength training. We even talked about ways to do strength training from home and kind of some swim specific things there. But I… I know that, you know, just earlier today, Raines and I were talking quite a bit about, you know, other things that… that swimmers can do outside of the water.
Jeff: Yeah, I mean, being intentional in the tubing exercises, yes, it's an exercise, it's a replacement for the swim, but you can even look at it in 3 modalities, let's say. You can use these tubing exercises as strength sessions to enhance your swim, mobility sessions to enhance your swim, and flexibility sessions to enhance your swim. So, we get this a lot. I might have an hour, hour 15 normally prescribed swim workout, well, do I sit there and do bands for an hour and 15 minutes? So, I would say that if you are past the stage that John was referring to earlier, you… you have done these kind of free-motion without resistance, you're being intentional, you're learning the movements correctly. Once you start to add kind of like a moderate or, you know more intensive or resistance to being banned, the colors of most brands of tubing, they mean something, they're a different resistance. So, if you're using like, let's say a moderate or kind of a higher resistance band, I would kind of follow the 20/20/20 rule that…
Andrew: Ooh, I like that.
Jeff: … that we have all kind of established here as a TriDot team. So, do… you can do up to 60 minutes of kind of, quote, ‘tubing’ in replacement of your swim, but use 20 minutes to focus on the strength aspect. Because we all know, if you have a really high resistance band and you, you know, are not being super, you know, intentional and you're just kind of busting it out hard and not thinking about things, you can get through a tubing workout in a matter of minutes and your… your upper body is trashed, let's say. But if you're doing it right, and spending about 20 minutes on the strength aspect, that would probably be equivalent as an hour swim. But you can take it a step further and spend another 20 minutes just focusing on mobility. You don't have to have resistance there.
Andrew: So, a really good strategy then is… is to, on that day… so, for me, it's Monday and Friday. On Monday and Friday, my TriDot training program, it's got 60-minute pool swim, almost every single Monday and Friday. And so, when that comes around, instead of taking 60 minutes and just tubing, because we were just… actually, before we recorded this, we were here together and we had our… a couple of our tubes out we were kind of practicing some of the exercises ourselves, right? And that stuff torches you, right? Like, we were all just… just working on our form and really honing it in. And since we're all together, we can look at each other, “Oh, your shoulder should be like this,” and you… you guys more helping me honestly than… than I was helping anybody else out. But really working with my… making sure my form was right while I was tubing. And that… that stuff will wear you out.
So, when that 60-minute swim comes on your training program, you're saying the approach needs to be, okay, take… take 20 minutes to do an actual kind of tubing exercise where for 20 minutes, you're focused on your form, you're working on the catch, you're working on the finish, you're working on the things that… that we talked about in the swim tube training videos. But then 20 minutes is allotted to just strengthening those swim muscles, and then 20 minutes is allotted to working on kind of some shoulder mobility, foam roll stretch kind of… kind of stuff. Is that kind of the approach we're going for?
Jeff: Absolutely. And I would even take it to a whole other level. If you feel uncomfortable completing, you know on your training plan, an hour, hour 15 swim workout and a 20-minute to in your garage, you know, workout and you are not super internally fulfilled, in that, you completed your plan perfect, spend that 40 minutes, yes, mobility, flexibility aspects. But you could even incorporate yoga, visual… visualization techniques, all sorts of these aspects of the sport that we tend to neglect or forget about. Well now, a lot of us have time to… to allocate to these more unique aspects to our training, and even throw a curveball to ourselves, challenge ourselves in a new way. Do something that's outside of your comfort zone, outside of your normal box. And that way, you have challenged yourself in a new way so you can come out of this a better athlete, but also, you can feel more comfortable completing these, quote, ‘swim sessions’ by not actually swimming.
Andrew: I also want to give a quick plug while we're talking about strength training to TriDot podcast episode 19 where I had 2… 2 coaches you guys may have heard of, John Mayfield and Elizabeth James on with me, and we talked about strength training specifically. And in that episode, we covered, hey, if you're in the gym, if you've got some hand weights, if you're looking to do some strength training, what are the muscles… like we specifically talked about, what are the muscle groups you need to be working to strengthen your… your swim muscles? So, if you're like Claudia and Jeff, and you're wondering about that, you're wondering about how to capitalize on some of the extra time you have by doing some strength stuff that's going to benefit your swim, go back and listen to episode 19.
So, Darcy from Des Moines asked a really, really good question I think some people are going to benefit from, “How many weeks of swimming can I miss, especially as a newbie, before I should consider withdrawing from my half Ironman?” Now, there's going to be people, like Darcy, who that race is still on the calendar and maybe the COVID-19 outbreak kind of… kind of works itself out, and these fall races, these late summer races actually get to happen. But… but if you're somebody who's a newer swimmer or a… a weaker swimmer, a less confident swimmer, and let's say COVID-19 clears up, you know, a month or so, 2 weeks out, 2 months out, and you only have that long to kind of get back in the pool before your event, at what point should an athlete consider maybe withdrawing and… and feeling like, “Oh, maybe I'm not quite ready for this swim,”?
John: It's really going to depend on the individual athlete. The longer an athlete has been swimming, the more time they're going to be able to take away from the pool. Case in point, when we did our… our swim session with Brendan Hansen, it had been like 9 months since he'd swam a lap. And…
Andrew: He had not swum in 9 months, and we raced him in the pool and he blew Jeff Raines and I (me in particular) out of the water.
John: And he was probably a second off his PR, just because…
Jeff: I don't know, I think he barely touched me off the wall.
John: So, that's just a kind of an extreme example that the longer you've been swimming, the… the less impact it’s going to have. It's kind of like anything else. The more time you've been running, the more time you can take off from running and you're right back at it. That said, you know, we've already discussed ways to mitigate this, and help offset the effects of the time away. But my gut says that there's so much that goes into these races, that unfortunately, they're going to have to be canceled well before the race date. So, I suspect that the pools will reopen well in advance of these events starting to take place again. We're already seeing events 2 to 3 months out cancelled. And I unfortunately think that trend is going to continue until we see things improve.
And as soon as we see things improve, and as soon as things somewhat regulate, we're going to see the pools reopen. So, I would suspect that we're going to have… have several weeks, if not several months, of access to the pools prior to the resuming of the race schedule. So, that should be plenty of time to get back at it. And that's one of those things that… that there's… for me, there's something about swimming, I take some time off, and it always takes a session or 2 to get back, but it comes back real quick. That first session is real awkward. I don't have a great feel for the water. The stroke feels a little off. But by the second or third session, it’s… it’s right back to where it was.
Andrew: My first swim assessment off of a long break is always like, “Oh, man, I've forgotten everything.” And then 1 month later, I'm always just about right back where I was. Yeah, I totally get that.
John: So, I'm confident that even… even with the unfortunate rescheduling and cancellation of races, there's going to be opportunity to get back in the pool prior to the races resuming.
Andrew: Great. Line, one of our athletes from Denmark, she said this, “Can you comment on the pros and cons of manually completing sessions you actually haven't completed due to closed pools, or does this mess up the accuracy of our data?”
John: It's not going to be significantly different as far as the data that… that is provided back to the TriDot.
John: And when we manually submit or manually complete a session, the… the main thing we're getting there is… is the amount of volume that you're doing. And that's… that's particularly pertinent in planning future sessions, and then how the duration of future sessions, especially as you're increasing in volume. So, you know, we're… we're in this for the foreseeable future, we're several weeks into this. So, the sessions aren't going to be changing a lot. So, whether… I would say it's really down to the individual. If you really like seeing those boxes, change color, then you can go ahead and mark it complete it. If…
Andrew: If you're type A and it just bothers you to leave that session…
John: By all means.
Andrew: … on its own.
John: By all means, mark it. But if not, it's not going to significantly impact the training.
Andrew: Alright. Great, John, thanks for that. We're rolling through these guys, tons of swim questions. Last… I say that 2 more for the swim, 2 more questions for the swim looking down. Katie from Mill Creek, Washington said, “Do you know if our swimming will be changed on our calendars to dry land for those who live in regions with no warm open water swim?” So, just regardless of where you live, for any athlete out there who doesn't have a pool, doesn't have open water swimming, you know. So, for the foreseeable future, they're doing this dry-land tubing workouts, we're doing some strength stuff. Will TriDot as a platform ever prescribe, “Hey, instead of giving you a pool session, here's a dry land swim session,” or is that not in the cards for this kind of pandemic season we're in?
Jeff: You know, it's… it's really hard to quantify strength sessions and especially dry land. You know, for the immediate foreseeable future, you know, no, to answer your question. A tremendous amount of backend work would need to be done. Not to say we're not prepared and equipped in trying to help the tri-community in other ways. But our… our developers are actually spending their time in working on quite a few really, really cool industry-changing things that… that we're doing here and TriDot.
Andrew: Yeah, I'll say this to this question. Just as an athlete who is on staff with TriDot, I know some of the things that our team is working on behind the scenes, our software development team. And they are some super exciting things that… that are going to be rolled out in the near future here. And if our web developers kind of stopped, put pause on that to implement some dry land swim workouts into our portals here for the next few months, it would delay those exciting things coming out. So, we're… we’re hoping that pools are only down for a few months. We're hoping this isn't indefinite. I would think if this does become a long-term thing, that that would be something we would revisit as a company. But if… if dryland swimming is going to be what we have to do for a few months (and John, Elizabeth, Jeff, you can correct me if I'm wrong), the exciting things we have coming out are definitely worth working on more so than taking pool swims off of people's training plans to put on dry land swim training, right?
John: Yeah, it would be just a real quick solution that would take a lot of time and a lot of effort to create. That back-end development takes… takes a lot of time. And it's something that we're hoping would be just a short-term solution. So, we're right now sticking with the long-term evergreen products that are going to enhance TriDot for… for the long-term. But you know, as… as we're kind of just conceivably, just getting started in this, this environment, you know, things conceivably could change definitely. And we'll just have to see where things go.
Andrew: So, even if it crushes your soul just a little teeny tiny bit to see that pool swim on the calendar and have to manually complete or leave a blank, just know it's temporary, it's not going to affect your training in any major way, and we'll all… we'll all carry on.
John: First World problems.
Andrew: Really. Kerry from Texas, this really is the last swim-related question. Kerry from Texas said, “Could we do zone 2 runs and bikes for the days that we swim?”
John: So, this is really going to, again, vary from person to person. This is a great opportunity to interact with the coach, for those that are working with a coach, great guidance and feedback from them. I will say that time away from the pool is… is not just a green light to go and do more cycling and… and running. There's not necessarily the need to do more than is already prescribed within the training. So, as we've mentioned, I think the best use of… of that available time are engaging in these resources that we've mentioned. The… the tubing, the mobility, the recovery works, strength training, all those things that we've… we've discussed are really the best use of that time.
I will say that cycling is going to be less impact than then running. And you can get away with adding some easy zone 2 cycling with much less cost, so to speak, than… than running.
Andrew: Yeah, that makes sense.
John: And I would say that the… probably the most beneficial cycling would be done with the intent of maybe it's a stress relief. So, if hopping on the trainer or if you're able to get on the road and just go for an easy bike ride, if that's going to help alleviate some of the stress of this stressful time, let that be the focus and let that be the intention. It's not about gaining fitness or improving your functional threshold or building stamina, it's… it's just going out for a bike ride and just enjoying yourself, blowing off some steam. And if you're anything like me, I think I've eaten more since being at home.
Andrew: Quarantine problems.
John: I think… I think there's a lot of people that are home for the first time. They're not used to being at work or have 24/7 access to food. So, you know if… if you're not working, if there's things are kind of slow around the house, I know I have a tendency just to kind of migrate to the kitchen and graze. So, it's also kind of a good idea to burn off a couple extra calories. So, but don't… don't do more cycling and more running with the intent of or the thought that, “I need to do more training.”
Andrew: It sounds like your training plan doesn't need it. But… but if you need it, just to feel like you were a little extra active that day…
Andrew: … just to spin out the legs a little bit, then that's… that would be okay. But it's… it's not really necessary for your training.
John: Right, yeah. Your training still is what it is, especially from the cycling and running aspect. The lack of swimming does not… is not just a green light or need to go and do more cycling and running.
Andrew: Alright. Now, we did have some questions about training that were not swim-related. So, I'm going to go through those now. The… have you guys…? Because I know you guys are really in tune with your athletes and what they're wondering. Have they… have you all seen people asking kind of some training questions that aren't swim-specific?
John: Yeah. So, my response to this kind of whole thing is trying to have a bit of a positive spin on it is, time is often our most limited resource. So, race day is a fixed date. From the time we start training, we have X amount of weeks to prepare for that race. And it's like the old saying, “We go to the war… we go to war with the army we have, not the army that we want.” And when race day rolls around, as well prepared as we are, that's how prepared we are for the race. So, I think the bright side of this is now, for those that have delayed races, that is just a gift and opportunity to do that much more preparation. So, one of the things that we… we harp over and over and over is fast before far and strong before long. So, this is an opportunity to go and increase those… the strength and…
John: … power and speed, and do this tubing work and improve your swim form and improve your swim strength. So, there really are opportunities here that, because of this extra time, you do have the opportunity to perform better on race day.
Andrew: I mean, that… that was my number one reaction… not my number one reaction when Ironman, Texas was postponed. And I shared that on the podcast a little bit a couple days ago. Obviously, you're disappointed. And, you know, you were ready to race, you were… you were geared up, you were going through the training properly. But the silver lining is, “Hey, when that get that race gets put back on the schedule or I end up transfer to deferred to a new race, I'm back in the development phase, I'm working on my speed, and I'm that much hungrier to be that much faster on that new race date.”
John: So, if there were times within the training phase that you trained inconsistently, or maybe you were working through an injury or maybe you're making gains on your swim form or your cycling power, whatever the case may be, we now have that many more weeks to… to improve on those things.
Andrew: Yeah. No, John, thanks so much for… for sharing that said. So, let's… let's go through a few of these training-related questions that are not swim-related. I love this. Marcus from Colorado Springs really summed up so many people's situations and forwards. He said, “No pool, no gym.” Sarah from the United Kingdom she expounded a little bit on that, she said, “No pool, no gym. Cold and icy means it's not yet safe to run outside. Quarantined in the house, what can we do?” There's a lot of athletes, guys, and everybody's situation is a little bit different. Some countries are on total lockdown. Some countries aren't in total lockdown, but like Sarah, maybe are in a icier part of the world where it's not quite warm enough yet. Just everybody's struggling with… with trying to get in all those sessions. So, for those folks who, not only was their pool swim taken away, but maybe their ability to run or bike freely was also taken away, what can those athletes do guys?
Elizabeth: Yeah. So, you touched on, I mean, the variety of situations that athletes might be facing now. Some of them might be able to still be outside, but there are many of them that are kind of needing to do all of their sessions at home. So, if you have a treadmill and a bike trainer, you're still able to complete those bike and run sessions indoors. The strength work can be done at home as well. If you do not have that equipment available, you know, the treadmill, the bike trainer, there are still plenty of bodyweight exercises that you can do. I, you know, would encourage the TriDot athletes to search the Knowledge Base and kind of take a look at some of those resources there. You know, it might be time to get a little bit creative and just kind of focus on staying active.
Now again, you know, we have to be careful, because like I mentioned with some of those resistance tubing exercises in the poor form, you don't want to incorporate a lot of new movements or activities that you're unfamiliar with that you could injure yourself for the upcoming season. But doing some cardio workouts or bodyweight strength exercises from the living room are appropriate, and that's going to keep you active for when you can resume your usual training routine.
Andrew: So, Olaf from Germany asks, “With a lockdown looming, what's the most economic way of setting myself up for training indoors continuing the TriDot training plan?” I know a lot of athletes are like Olaf. I've seen people expressing interest in getting maybe set up with a bike trainer or getting set up with, you know, the… the resistance tubes in some way to keep training. So, this is really a great question. For someone who's interested in maybe picking up a few gadgets that they didn't have before, knowing that we could be stuck inside for a few months, what is the most economic way for those folks to get set up?
Elizabeth: Now, some resistance bands for strength work and a bike trainer would be my first recommendations. Those would be great tools to have, you know, doesn't have to cost a lot of money. You know, simple resistance trainer would work well for the bike.
Andrew: So, Mike from California, said, “Can you revisit aerobic training concepts, so if athletes have to go through a reset period, they don't get frustrated?” Do you guys think that kind of coming through a season with a few months away from our normal training routine, are athletes, is going to take a lot of time for us to kind of reset and get back to where we were after life goes back to normal a little bit?
Jeff: You know, I would say that building stamina and big, huge time commitment rides and long runs, that… that stuff is almost easy to build. You know, the hard part is developing and improving your functional threshold. And so, now that your races are being postponed and deferred, getting back into those shorter more intensive workouts are… that's… that's kind of the reset, right, is getting a new mindset, getting excited about a new phase of training. You know, the biggest thing no matter what is staying consistent. No matter what phase you're in, or what your mindset is, staying consistent, keeping that… just be intentional. Establish, set your new routine based on the time and circumstances that have been thrown at you.
And after a few key sessions back, maybe you… you know, it's very similar to going on vacation. Maybe you're on vacation for a week or a work trip, or heaven forbid, you know, you get sick. And while you're traveling and missing workouts, you're kind of panicking that, you know, “I haven't ridden my bike in 5 days. Oh man, a week’s gone by and I haven't done a lot of training,” you're kind of panicking. But what's kind of interesting is that you… you get back in town, and the first or second, you know, big workout kind of… kind of back, you know, after, you know, missing some sessions, you kind of like, “Okay, I'm back. You know, I got that big ride in after missing a week. You know, I'm fine. I'm back.”
Jeff: But during that time, you're kind of in a panic mode, and now more… more than ever. But staying consistent as best you can will help negate that just… just hugely.
Andrew: So, after all the training questions, which there are a lot of great ones, and you guys have really helped us cover them so in depth, so thank you so much for your coaching expertise there. But the next hot topic was race schedules and the effects, postponements, cancellations, etc., should have on our training. So, I'm going to start with this question from Carrie. She said, “How do you train for a season with so many unknowns? Even race dates are totally up in the air.”
Elizabeth: Yeah. There… there are a lot of unknowns right now. But ultimately, I mean, triathlon’s kind of a lifestyle. It's… it's more than just the races. You know, sure, the races are fun, they're incredibly motivating. But it's… it's so much more than just race day itself. I would encourage athletes to kind of, you know, think about why they entered the sport. And very likely, their reason for beginning triathlon was more than just getting to the finish line. You know, it might have been to create a healthy lifestyle or set an example for their children. I would encourage athletes to really revisit their why, and then focus on the process. You know, set some goals that are not race related.
Andrew: And then Amanda, who comes to us from Australia, she kind of had a similar question. She said, “How do you make the most of the extra time to train for your event without knowing what the new race date is going to be?” We've talked a little bit about how to capitalize on the extra time, we can now kind of go back to the development phase and work on our power and our speed and get faster for that race date. But… but how does not knowing what the new race date is actually going to be, how does that come into play?
Elizabeth: Well, Andrew, I mean, you mentioned the developmental phase, and this is part of the beauty of it. You know, the… the development phase is preparing you to be the strongest athlete possible for your upcoming race, regardless of when that race date is. So, if I'm in a developmental phase of training right now, it doesn't matter if my race is in September or if it's next April. I'm focused on getting stronger, getting faster, increasing my functional threshold, so that when I am able to enter that race preparation phase, I can hold a specific percent of that functional threshold as I increase my stamina for that upcoming event.
Jeff:And I would even take a fairly unique approach to… to this. You know, a lot of athletes, their… their races have been canceled, postponed, deferred already. And so, they now know that, “Okay, let's get back into the… the developmental. I have more time. I'm not building a lot of stamina because my race isn't right around the corner.” So, we kind of get that. We're having to kind of shift our mindset, stay consistent though. But there's also a handful of athletes out there that their race is in May, June, July. At this point while we're recording, for example, the Tulsa Ironman in late May is still a go. Now, we all know that it might potentially be cancelled.
Andrew: And a lot of those athletes have expressed that, “Hey, I'm guessing this is going to get cancelled. How do I handle this?”
Jeff: Yeah, so right now, they have to…
Andrew: And when it’s not Tulsa, if someone listens to this 2 weeks from now, you know, Tulsa, we might know about Tulsa, but the next one, we might not know about. It is, yeah, to your point…
Jeff: Exactly. And we’re taking it…
Andrew: … there’s always a race coming.
Jeff: Yeah, I mean, it's… it's such a unique time in that it's week by week. And right now, if your race is not canceled, it's potentially still going to happen. So, you still have to be prepared. So, if you're race is in 2 months from now and you got 4 or 5-hour bike rides, you know, “Do I go ahead and drop back down into the developmental and get back into the fast before far maybe hour-long workouts with more intensity inside?” But then what if the race still happens and you miss the deferring window or whatever? So… so, all you can do at this point is continue following your plan, and then make a decision, get with your coach. Once the official announcement has been made, it is hard to stay motivated. You know, why go do another week or 2 of 4 or 5-hour indoor trainer rides for an Ironman coming up, that's probably going to be canceled. It's tough.
And so, having that community, having a coach, listening to podcasts like this, just keeping your head in the game. There are a lot of other people out there in the same boat you are. Just stay the course and adapt in the moment when… when you know what the moment is. So, one week at a time, unfortunately, is the answer for that other shifted focus of athlete that still has a race coming up, but is not canceled yet.
Andrew: Yeah. And to your point, I think it's a really great approach, Jeff. So, thanks for sharing that. Because that's… I mean, and honestly, that's the feedback and advice you guys gave me when literally the 3 of you were signed up for 70.3 Galveston, which was early April. I was signed up for Ironman Texas, which was late April. So, y’all’s race was canceled before… or postponed before my race is postponed. And, for me, we could all kind of see it coming. You kind of could tell, the writing was on the wall that Ironman Texas would most likely have to postpone.
But I kind of stayed in that race prep phase, I kept doing the long workouts. And it was a Friday when they sent out the email that Ironman Texas would be postponed. And up until that Friday, I stayed true to the workouts, even though we all thought that race was going to get postponed. And… and thankfully, they announced it on Friday. Saturday, I had a 4 hour and 45-minute long bike ride, so thankfully, I got that notification before that. But guess what? I didn't go do that 4 hour and 45-minute bike ride because I'd already been notified. I went back, you know, we changed that workout out. We got in a shorter bike workout that would let me work on some power.
And so, it was like the day, the advice you guys gave me that we're now giving everybody else, the day you find out that race is postponed, that's the day you slip back into the development phase, you know, take that race off of your race X and start working on… start working on that speed and power again, right?
Jeff: Absolutely. And you know what, Andrew? The week before that, you probably did a 4 plus-hour bike workout.
Andrew: I sure did.
Jeff: And you now kind of know you didn't really necessarily have to do that, but you did it. And yes, your race was canceled and but you could still look at it as a glass half full scenario in that, that was probably your longest ride to date.
Andrew: Sure is.
Jeff: You've probably perfected your nutrition a little bit better during that ride. So, there were milestones, no pun intended…
Andrew: It’s not a waste, yeah.
Jeff: … yeah, that you learned about yourself as an athlete.
Andrew: There’s the Jeff Raines podcast pun. He saved it for now.
Jeff: Anyways. So… so, kudos to those athletes that are staying strong, trusting their plans until the moment actually happens.
Andrew: No, that's super great. So, Andrew from the United Kingdom said, “Just had my A race canceled. It was supposed to be June in the UK. How do I use TriDot when goals are less likely to have a race involved?” So, this isn't just Andrew in this boat. There's a lot of people that are losing the race they were really looking forward to this year. Just talking about… about just goals and motivation, you know, how Is that affected by this?
John: Is this Andrew in the UK, or is this Andrew in Texas?
Andrew: This is Andrew in the UK who I am kindred spirits with right now because we're going through the same situation.
John: Sounds as a lot like Andrew in Texas.
Elizabeth: To kind of go for this question here and pull off a little bit what Raines was saying about looking at it as glass half full, you know, not saying that our current situation is positive, but do try and to look at it from that perspective of, of glass half full and see the positives here. You know, we just touched a little bit on that developmental phase and, you know, athletes will often overlook that. And if you use this time now that you've been given to your next race, you could be even faster than you would have achieved that finish line this spring. And like we mentioned, you know, it's 100% okay, if your goals are not race related. Set some goals for your upcoming assessments weeks. Let those be your motivation. You know, it's… it's going to be exciting to see your improvements, even if it's off of the racecourse.
Andrew: Kate from the United Kingdom said, “I may be asking a rather silly question here,” you're not, Kate, it was a good one. I put it on the podcast, “But with all the cancellations of events, should I be removing the A, B and C races from the calendar or not? Keen to keep progressing and trusting the process, but any advice is welcome.” Guys, I've seen a lot of athletes on social media asked this as well. In light of these race, cancellations postponement, and Jeff just talked about this a little bit, but you know, we have A races, B races, C races on the schedule. How do we handle taking those off, moving them rescheduling them on our race X calendars?
Elizabeth: So, this is, I mean, a fantastic way to utilize the season planner. And you know, by using that season planner, you're not going to have to worry about if and when you should be extending a training phase or if you're going to be peaking for your event with the… with the changes that we're experiencing now in terms of race dates and scheduling. TriDot is going to take care of that for you. So, as for those canceled and postponed events, yes, do remove those from your season planner so that your schedule can re-optimize. Our team is working to add those new race dates as options so that, as that information becomes available, you'll be able to add those new dates in and have the training phases appropriately adjust for that as well.
Andrew: So, I don't think any of us have gone through a situation quite like the COVID-19 outbreak, and a lot of athletes are looking for some motivation during this wild time. Brian from Kentucky said, “How to get motivated to keep working out when the bad news keeps piling on day after day.”
Elizabeth: That's, you know, such a great thing for us to discuss because it… it is hard to stay motivated. It's… it's stressful. So, I would encourage athletes you know, again, go back, revisit your why. Think about why this sport is important to you, what you enjoy about it, and… and really kind of connect with that. And then connect to an online community. You know, a lot of us are getting on Zwift. Add TriDot to your username. And even if you can't be outdoors riding with your training partners there, you have a bunch of training partners in this virtual world to cheer you on and join… join your rides as well. You know, join in on the Facebook threads. Give kudos within the TriDot Strava club. You can still be connected in that online community, even if you aren't able to be connected to your usual in-person training group. And then finally, you know, just focus on controlling what you can control. And right now, there's a lot of things that you might not have control over, but you do have control of your health and your fitness. You know, maybe find some reassurance in the structure of the training that you're doing.
Andrew: Elizabeth, that was great. Thanks so much for that. Nikki from the United Kingdom said, “Maintaining a positive mind… mental mindset. Races are canceled, I know that's absolutely the right thing. But the not knowing is playing havoc with my head, and I want to keep focused and positive. So, any inspiration on that would be ace.” Guys, how cool are European athletes that they end statements by… by saying it would be ace? We probably would have said what, “That'd be cool. That'd be great.” Like, it’d be ace, John. Help… helped Nikki out. What do you have to say?
John: Man, I hope I can live up to that because I hope I can get an ace response.
Andrew: I think you're going to.
John: Is that appropriate?
Andrew: It is, yeah.
John: Ace response.
Andrew: I think you did it right.
Andrew: Yeah, I think you used that right.
John: Yeah. One thing I would say is echoing Elizabeth’s statement there is… is the disappointment, the frustration, all that is completely reasonable. And that's the reality for the entire triathlon community. And that's really one of the great things is we are a community where are we here we are responding to questions from all over the world. This is really something that we've… we've experienced on a local level in the past, but… but never has the entire triathlon community been… been screech to a halt…
John: … like this. So, we're all in this together, which is, you know, something that we're all empathetic. As you mentioned, the 4 of us here, we're all just weeks away from… from an A race. And so, we all have… have experienced the same emotions and thoughts and frustrations. So, you know, I think there's power in the fact that we're all in this together, we all empathize with one another. But I think as we begin to deal with that, and we have those emotions and we begin to make the turn, then it becomes gratitude and appreciation. Don't take anything for granted.
You know, this is something that we've enjoyed for years. We've had the opportunity to… to race these different events. We've had the opportunity to connect with athletes and do these things that we love, to go and to swim, which is something we don't have now. And this is, you know, when we get back to it, you know, there's new appreciate for just having access to a swimming pool, or meeting up with friends to go for a run, and do these things that have been temporarily taken away from us. So, I think just looking forward to those, and when we get back to it, just having an appreciation and gratitude for that. And as I mentioned before, more time equals better results. As Elizabeth mentioned, just finding new ways to set new goals, and resolving to improve, resolving to race assessments and find satisfaction and achievement in that.
Andrew: Yeah, I think… I think a lot of athletes that maybe… maybe dreaded those swim sessions or dreaded certain bike or run workouts, we're all going to be happy to be back… back to those when this is all… all over and the world is healthy on the other side, so that’s…
John: Some of us more so than others.
Andrew: So, Stephanie from Washington State threw out a question that… that I hadn't thought of that that was really, really great. And she said, “I would like to know if the stress of what's going on, work changes, suddenly homeschooling, information overload, self-distancing, etc., how does that impact my training? This came to mind today because I've noticed my resting heart rate tending to be higher the past week or so. I’m not sleeping as well, and a run today, I felt like my low heart rate was harder than usual. I can assume it's a combination of stress and other things, but would love to hear from the coaches on how what we are going through impacts physical and psychological aspects of training.”
Elizabeth: So, it 100% has an impact. And I mean, even personally, in my training, I've had to work very closely with John to make some adjustments for myself. And this is something that I've talked quite extensively with my athletes about too. So, the body has a very finite capacity for stress. And athletes TriDot plan provides the optimized amount of training stress and the appropriate recovery to produce the best results and minimize injury risk. But additional stress can certainly compromise how much training the body is able to handle. So, you know, a busy day at the office, and that might be the home office right now, poor diet, lack of sleep, an oncoming illness, you know, anything that really taxes, the central nervous system is going to reduce an athlete's capacity for additional stress, and that includes training.
So, this is a time when that absolutely needs to be taken into consideration when evaluating how an athlete is recovering. I know that I've been in very close communication with the athletes that I coach, and many of them have taken some additional recovery days or we've reduced the intensity of some of their current and upcoming sessions to allow for the additional stressors that they've recently been through.
Andrew: Yeah, I think I've heard our… our founder CEO, Jeff Booher, put it this way, “Stress is stress, that the body doesn't know, you know, what it's being stressed by, right? It just knows that it's taken on this much amount of stress.” And so, I've even seen that in busy times in my life that that weren't COVID-19-related, right? And I mean, if you have a lot going on, if you… an example for me is when I… when I first came on staff at TriDot, you know? It wasn't stressful coming on because I was enjoying what I was doing, but… but just the extra work and the extra mental energy that it was taking to kind of assimilate into a new job, into a new role, get a lot of media initiatives launched, I was definitely more fatigued going into my training sessions, because I was taking, you know, the stress of those life changes into, you know, the… those sessions. So, you know, we're all experiencing that right now with COVID-19 for sure, in new ways. So, Stephanie, thanks for asking that question. Elizabeth, thanks for answering it because I'm sure everybody is going to relate to that and kind of… kind of cut themselves some slack a little bit in some of these workouts where you just know you're fatigued from the things you're going through right now.
So, okay, so a large majority of… of athlete questions centered around swim training, indoor training, race scheduling and overall motivation. But there were a few others that I saw that I hadn't even considered. But they're great things for us to talk about. And so, we'll land a plane with these last couple questions here. The first one comes from Kim. She said, “Juggling a completely different schedule. I'm working, the kids and husband are off school with no extracurriculars and general family out of routine this.” So, everybody, guys, right now is just out of their routine. People have their kids home, people have spouses home that are usually at work. Just how can we best maybe mitigate the impacts of our training, or just our training to that?
Elizabeth: I would say to either stick as closely to your previous schedule that you can. Or if that's not a possibility, then let's establish a new one and then stick closely to it. So, you know, if you normally begin work at 8:00 AM, you know, still wake up when you normally would. You know you might have a little extra time without that commute, but let's… let's use that productively. Let's not just go to bed whenever we want, wake up whenever we want and… and not have that structure. Stick as closely to a routine that you're familiar with, or go ahead and establish what your new one is going to be. Now, I know that, you know, a lot of people are facing some… some different things with more family being home. And I personally can't speak to that, but I know others on our team can, and maybe they can kind of chime in with some of those adjustments.
Andrew: Yeah, Jeff… Jeff, John, what's it like with all the kids being home?
Jeff: You know, there's that saying that, “What's the one thing that everybody has the same amount of?” and it's time.
John: Not true.
Jeff: Yeah, not true. But it's how we manage that time. And we want to stick as close as we can to… to our kind of previous schedule, but a lot of people now have more time to train. Maybe they're spending the same amount of time working throughout the day, it's just they're at home doing it now. So, the stressors are what are getting a lot of people as well. You know, we say that find a way or make one, right? And once you do make a new way, be consistent with it, like Elizabeth said. But what I do is my wife is working from home now as well. And we have our kids at home, and so find a way or make one.
And so, what we're doing is being strategic in that, you know, my wife may get up and get her workout in while the kids are still sleeping. And then I may wait later in the day, you know, lunch break from work and the kids are napping, or they're having quiet time or rest time, and so I can get my workout in. And so, finding a new routine. Obviously, family will always come first, you know, before your workouts. But establish a new routine. Try to eliminate the stressors and stay consistent with that. And don't over-train if you do have extra time.
John: I would say in our new norm that we're going to be experiencing for the foreseeable future is, again, setting it as a priority for you and maybe even just communicating that to… to your partner, that this is something that you need. And really in this… in this phase, we really don't need more than an hour a day. That's… that's really what's going to be expected in… in this development phase. Again, we're… we're not weeks away from say, an Ironman race where we need to be training 15 hours a week. 1… 1 hour a day is going to go very far in and what we're able to do.
So, maybe just ask for that. And maybe it's a give and take kind of scenario where you get one hour in the morning that you're able to prioritize your training in that hour and, you know, everything kind of goes on hold for that 1 hour. And then, as Jeff mentioned, it may be working with a partner to provide that for them. Whether they're training or whether they're doing whatever it is that they need to do in that time as well. So, I think that's important to deal with with the stress and everything that we have going on.
Even just… just, again, having… having the kids around the house or however you deal with… with all the news and the uncertainty of what's happening in the world. I think we need a release. And so, I think it's important that we take an hour a day just to do what we need to do for ourselves.
Andrew: And we were all talking earlier about how just in the communities around us, you see more people that you can tell aren’t experienced runners or experienced cyclists, you know, out on bikes with the family, out on… out, you know, walking, you know, running etc., with… with the kids. And so, that can even become a great way to get your… get your family active is involved in maybe in some of those extra zone 2 training sessions and enjoy some time outdoors together if your current situation allows for that. So, Carrie from Massachusetts asked about nutrition during this time. She said, “How about ideas for nutrition during social isolation and quarantine periods?” Guys, what is the best way for us to keep our eating game on point, stay healthy with that, when we're stuck at home?
Elizabeth: Oh man, like I… I promise I will try to keep this short. I love talking about good nutrition and recipes, and I won't dive into too much detail here. But what I will say is that poor nutrition can be an immunosuppressant. So, you need to really prioritize your nutrition to keep yourself healthy. I know in my household, for my husband and I, our kind of a rule of thumb is, “If you don't buy it, you can't eat it.” So, if it's not around the house as an option, it's not going to be something that we are able to consume. So, we have made sure that our, you know, choices at the grocery store are only stocking healthy options, so that when we are both at home, that's what's available. And we make sure that we are eating well.
John: I think something too is we continue to have eye on the prize for when we get to race again. Mindless eating through boredom or whatever is not going to be productive…
John: … to out racing. So, I…
John: You know, I put on pounds real easy and I like to graze and I like to snack. But, you know, if… if I want to race well when I get the opportunity to do so, something I need to keep in mind is that kind of mindless boredom eating that can catch up real quick. So, just be cognizant of what you're consuming and how much you're consuming.
Andrew: Yeah. I remember when I worked in television, there were some… there were some, you know, weeks of the year I'd have to work some overnight shifts. And that kind of throws you out of your routine, right? And what I would do in those scenarios is, when I was at the station and… and it was the middle of the night, you know, you… you just always feel snacky right? I would… I would remind myself when I ate last and I would only let myself have a… have a little snack, a little something every 3 hours. And then that way, it was never too much, it was never constant grazing. You know, so I would get there, I would have my dinner, and then every 3 hours, I was letting myself have a small snack.
And almost working from home, that's almost what we do, right? It's… it's, okay, have your breakfast, your lunch usually comes about 3 to 4 hours later. And then if you have an afternoon snack, well, that's usually 3 or 4 hours after your lunch. So, that that's kind of the approach I would take in the middle of the night. And so, any… anything off routine, I try to always look back, “Okay, when did I… I’m feeling snacky, when did I last eat?” If it wasn't… if it wasn't 3 hours ago, I'm not letting myself cave on that snack. I'm no nutritionist, but that's something that I've tried in seasons in my life where I've been a little awkward teen.
So, last question, guys. One of our athletes from Poland, she asked, “Do high intensity workouts suppress our immunity and make us vulnerable to illness? What about other intensive and long workouts? We need to take care of our immunity now more than ever, how can we train safe and do our training plans, taking that into account?”
John: So, I guess we'll end the podcast kind of the way we started it, and just disclosing that we're not doctors, we're triathlon coaches. So, this is not necessarily a medical opinion, but doing our best to provide sound feedback to the athletes. And so, I would say in addressing this question, first and foremost, do what you need to do to feel safe. Do what you need to do, to be comfortable, and comply with any medical advice that you've been given from those medical professionals. And of course, make sure your advice is coming from medical professionals and not less reputable sources.
But exercise is consistently recommended, even in these times. That's something I've seen consistently in the news. That's something that is recommended, to get out and be active. And as triathletes, our body… our bodies are used to a higher training load than maybe those that are just getting out and riding their bicycle around the block for the first time. So, we're not inducing any new levels of activities. Basically, what we're doing is saying maintain what you've been doing. And in some cases, it's even dropping because we're no longer maybe doing the volume that we would need to to prepare for a upcoming race.
So, our daily training sessions are… they're very measured. So, that's… that's one of the great benefits of TriDot is every session is created specifically for each individual. So, that training stress is already managed. So, it's you're never going to have more training than you can safely absorb, safely recover from. And the training that we're doing is different than racing. I know personally, every time I race Ironman, I inevitably will get sick a couple days later. In fact, I raced Ironman Arizona a couple months ago, we hadn't even left Arizona and I started to feel the tickle of a sore throat. And sure enough…
Andrew: You knew it was coming.
John: Yeah, I felt it coming.
Andrew: On the way.
John: It was the next day, and then I had that little bit. But our… the training sessions that we're doing on a on a day-to-day basis are nowhere near as taxing. We're not draining the tank on these day-to-day sessions.
Andrew: Especially now that none of us are deep into a stamina phase training for an Ironman because we're not….
Andrew: … close to our race to really get those really long workouts that would drain your body.
John: Right. So, the… it's… it's done in such a way that these are our day-to-day sessions that you're able to recover fully from. And really, in doing so, you're going to maintain your… your immune system, you're going to maintain your health and your strength. But just continue to practice the social distancing and all those things that we've been advised to do.
Narrator: Great set, everyone. Let's cool down.
Andrew: So, when Ironman sent out the official email that Ironman Texas would be postponed to later in the year, I was in my kitchen prepping some camera gear for an upcoming video shoot. And full disclosure, I was home alone, rocking my underwear and a T shirt. I don't think anything to gross guys, I was just in boxer briefs and a T shirt, I mean, it's essentially a tri-workout outfit, right? But… but that's the state I was in when I found out my race was going to be postponed. And after the initial disappointment settled, I thought it was kind of funny that I was in my kitchen in my underwear when that inevitable email arrived.
And it got me thinking, where was everybody else when they receive that email? I'm sure every country kind of has an equivalent for this. But in the United States, every generation has that major historical, “Where were you when…?” moment. In the United States, it's, “Where were you when you found out JFK was shot?” or, “Where were you when the Apollo 11 mission first landed on the moon?”
So, long story short, I got to thinking, for the triathlon community that has never faced race postponements on this scale, this is a pretty big, “Where were you when…?” kind of event. And so, I asked on social media, “Where were you when you found out your spring A race was coronaed?” And I asked this at first, guys, to the Ironman Texas group, that is not the TriDot Ironman Texas group, that is the actual Ironman Texas group. So, a lot of athletes on there, some TriDot, some not. And I got just hundreds of responses because everybody was very eager to share kind of where they were.
And so, I also threw this out to the TriDot athletes, to the TriDot community, not just for Ironman Texas specifically, but for whatever your spring A race was, whether it was a sprint, whether it was an Ironman, “Where were you when you found out your race was getting coronaed?” And so, we're going to share some of our top responses that we got. We've all chosen a few.
But before we get to our athletes responses, I want to know from you guys. Because all 3 of you sitting with me were all signed up and prepped and trained and ready to go for 70.3 Galveston… or 70.3 Texas. I always call it 70.3 Galveston because it's in Galveston, but it's really 70.3 Texas. So, Jeff Raines, I'll start with you. Where were you when you got the email that that race was going to be postponed?
Jeff: I remember, I was walking out the door going on a walk with my wife, 2 young kids, and our dog. And the chaos of getting kids in the strollers and the leash on the dog and… and my phone beeped and a new email popped up. And I glanced at it real quick before walking out the door, and I just remember that entire walk, I was so distracted, unfortunately. And, you know, Ironman Texas 70.3 was… was fairly unique in that it wasn't just, “Hey, here's the deferral date, or you can do it next year's regularly scheduled, you know, date.” They offered 5… essentially, 5 different options.
Andrew: Which is great that they're giving athletes that flexibility, right?
Jeff: The flexibility was great, but that whole entire walk, I was completely cross eyed, “Do I do these other three 70.3s? Do I do the new scheduled date of the… the… you know, November Ironman Texas 70.3? Or do I defer it to the following year's date?” So, I was just… that whole walk, I just remember having a blast with my kids and all that, but at the same time, I was thinking, “When are… what's the exact date of those other 3 races? Do I do that?” And I just… I just remember it just being a very unique abnormal family walk. We do that every single day, we go on the same walk. And I just remember that one being an extremely unique one.
Andrew: Yeah. So, John, where were you when that email came through?
John: So, I was at home like I usually am, working… working from home, and phone just started blowing up, as it does oftentimes when there's something big in the triathlon community. And, yeah, it was… it was one of those things I think we were fully expected, and none of us were really surprised by, but obviously disappointed actually when it… when it came in because we were close. We… we had just completed a training camp in Galveston on the course.
Andrew: On the course, yeah.
John: Yeah. Things… things were good. We were… we were all ready and looking forward to it. You know, it's… it's a great race that I was really looking forward to with… with the community. We have so many athletes that turnout for that. Galveston is a great venue. It's a lot of fun. And so, you know, I think I was as disappointed both with Texas 70.3 and Ironman Texas, 2 of my favorite events to attend every year. I wasn't racing Ironman Texas, but I was really looking forward to getting together with everyone. We do a happy hour and just a lot of fun events headed into that race. And so, yeah, there was a lot of disappointment in that just… Just knowing and, you know, is fine. We expected it, but you know, it was kind of that moment of truth that, yeah, it's…
Andrew: Reality was sinking in. Yeah, for sure.
John: Yeah. And even more so with Ironman Texas, just it's not going to happen at all at this point. So, we're kind of in limbo and not really sure what to expect from that.
Andrew: Elizabeth, where were you and you found out 70.3 Texas was postponed?
Elizabeth: So, first of all, I have to apologize to John because I was definitely one of those that was blowing up his phone with this news. I was actually on the bike trainer and saw kind of on my watch, the email notification come through. So, grab my phone, check the email, still cycling, texted him gone, “Oh man,” like, not only for, you know, our races, but many of the athletes that we're coaching as well. And so, yeah, on the bike trainer continuing to prep for the race that I just got the notification of that I would not be doing in a couple weeks.
John: I forgive you.
Elizabeth: Oh, thank you. I appreciate that.
Andrew: Coach to athlete, sweet moment, sweet moment. Okay, well, let's find out where some of our athletes were when they got that email about their own race. I'm going to start by sharing. This is Kristin, one of our ambassadors. She was sitting… she said, “I was sitting in my living room checking emails at the end of a long day, figuring out what my work schedule was going to look like for the next several weeks.” So, she was already in a moment where she was figuring out, you know, how corona is going to affect her own work schedule, and then that email came through. So, at least… at least Kristen got a little clarity on what her race schedule, how it’s going to be affected.
John: So, Kristin is actually one of the athletes that I work with, and that was… for her, this is one that kind of came a little later than some of the others. So, I think there were some additional anticipation of what's going to go on. Some of these other races have… have fallen, and she was set, she was ready. She's… she's going to have a fantastic race. And… and as we mentioned before, that's… it's time, she's only going to get better. So, I'm excited for her to get down there and race.
Elizabeth: So, one of our next responses came from Cassandra. She's also one of our ambassadors, someone that I got to visit with quite a bit at our ambassador camp earlier this year. She was racing Puerto Rico 70.3, and actually was already in Puerto Rico. She had traveled there, rebuilt her bike, was kind of out for a test ride, really just hyper focused on her nutrition, kind of laying low. And then 3 days before the race, there she is in Puerto Rico with no race to do. So, again, my heart goes out to her, but I have to say that she kept such a positive attitude. Still took her time to kind of explore the area and get in some… some great swim bike run sessions, even though it wasn't a formalized event.
John: So, Jeremy was picking up his race packet the day before the race after driving 2 hours to the race site. He says, “Mind you I checked my email right before I left and it said the race was still on.”
Andrew: Oh man.
John: So, some of these like… like Jeremy, like Cassandra, that you know, they're… they're there, they're ready to race. And….
John: … has been that much more heartbreaking.
Andrew: Yeah. I mean, to Ironman's credit, I mean, a lot of these races, they… they've been able to kind of get the jump on and let us know earlier than later. But yeah, for those folks in Puerto Rico and for Jeremy's event, wherever it was, yeah, I mean, it's, you know… if you had a race that was right when this outbreak got… got a little bad, there just wasn't really an opportunity for these companies to give a really big heads up. So…
John: So… so, likewise, even kind of with our little family, Jeff Booher and his family drove 13 hours to… from… from Texas to Florida to go race. And once they arrived in Florida, found out there was no race, so turned around and drove home. So, that's how the Booher kids spent their spring break was…
Andrew: Yeah, they were supposed to race in Sarasota, Florida, with the Tri4Him youth elite squad and we're unable to do so.
Jeff: So, Naomi had a short sweet post, but a very impactful one. She was on her way to a job interview. And I can only imagine…
Andrew: That being in the back of your mind…
Jeff: The back of the mind.
Andrew: … where you’re trying to focus on…
Andrew: … crushing a job interview. So, Naomi, we hope you got the job.
John: Yeah, good luck with that job search.
Andrew: Because you're not racing, so hopefully you got the job. And hopefully you can work remotely from home for a little bit here. So, Elizabeth said, “Since I also run, I have had 4 spring races coronaed. So, in my driveway,” is where she found out about one of them. “In my bedroom twice. And then sitting on the steps at Fletcher boathouse, I tend to check my emails when I get up in the morning or while waiting around for something.” And so, she just kind of has been all over the place as she's gotten those race notifications for her spring races. But she said this guy, she said, “My tris are all late summer, and so none of those are canceled yet.” So, Elizabeth, we really hope for your sake that you get to race all those late summer races, because A, that's going to be good for you, and B, it's going to mean that the world is a healthier place by then. So, here's the hoping that your tris all work out.
Elizabeth: So, we've been talking about some athletes that have already been at the event. Kay Grant, her… her response here, she said, “Well, for the first one, we were literally on our way. We had already driven 450 miles sitting in a restaurant, just kind of taking a little break on the road, and found out that, you know, in route,” they are headed to a place where they no longer have an event. And for the second one, they were on their way home from the first one that had been canceled. They were camping and found out that, not only, you know, the trip that they were currently on was no longer for an event, but their next one was not going to happen either. So, Kay, what a… what a kind of 2 punch there.
John: Michael was sitting at his dining room table in sweats and working.
Andrew: You see, Michael was more tracking how I was, right? Just home, you're comfortable.
John: At least he had on pants at least.
Andrew: At least he… yeah, he was the pants-ed version of me on that one. So, I feel you, Michael. You’re just home relaxing. And then boom, you get shellacked by an unfortunate email.
Jeff: Rami was at home teaching online. Says, “Since already by then, there were work at home orders in Denmark.” So, his A race is now was planned to be in October… or excuse me, is now in October instead of May. And I can only imagine the students getting a lot of extra homework in the middle of teaching online and you found out the bad news. Hopefully, you didn't assign a bunch of extra work in the moment and take it out on students there, Rami.
Andrew: Next up we have Cynthia. She was in the middle of a 100-mile trainer ride, getting ready for Ironman, Texas. So, she was faced the same race… race postponement that I'm facing. And I asked Cynthia on Facebook, “So, you're in the middle of a 100-mile ride, you see that email come through…”
Jeff: Did she finish the whole….?
John: Yeah, that’s the question.
Andrew: Yeah, “Did you finish or did you stop?” And she said, “Hell no, I got off the bike and went and had a snack.” And so, good on her for….
John: Not a right or wrong answer there. Yeah.
Andrew: I would… I would have been like, “Well, you know…”
John: We all know Elizabeth would have kept going and I’d have bailed.
Andrew: I don’t think I would have kept going. Jeff… Jeff might have… he might have too, but John and i would have bailed for sure and gone and hit at the pantry for a little… a little extra cookie or something to treat ourselves. So, Cynthia, I get it. Love that response.
Jeff: I would have gotten off mad, went and ate a cheeseburger or something. But then the guilt and I would have went back to the bike and then finished.
Andrew: You would have like rage… rage rode the burger off after…
Andrew: Yeah, I get it.
John: So, Flaquita’s is a little different. She actually got a call from her coach on the way home who let the cat out of the bag, so a little… little bit of a bomb on the call with the…
Andrew: The coach told her, not Ironman.
John: … the coach. Yeah. So, not like the rest of us that opened up emails. This was actually sprung on her by… by her coach. “So, kind of expected it, wasn't really surprised. Still waiting to hear back on the feet of Alcatraz and find out what was going to happen there, and then thinking maybe Challenge Roth, also on the schedule could happen.”
Andrew: She has quite a lineup for this year.
John: Yeah, she is hitting the big ones, the majors. So…
Andrew: Alcatraz, Challenge Roth, and Ironman Texas is the race she’s referring to here, I believe. But man, I can't…. I can't imagine what coach that was, John, that… that called her. Whose… whose athlete is Flaquita?
Elizabeth: It was mine. So, she's mine. Yeah.
Elizabeth: And, yeah, kind of as she put there on the post that I was the one that dropped the bad news on her that we… we were planning to connect, you know, Friday when she was done with the workweek and talking a little bit about her training sessions for the weekend. And she did not know yet, had not yet opened her email to look at those race postponements.
Andrew: Because she was asking about those long training sessions she was expecting to get in on the weekend, and you are having to tell her, “Okay, you're not doing those anymore.”
Elizabeth: Right, yes. “We're actually going to make some adjustments,” and then had to be the bad news bearer there.
Andrew: But at least you got to do, you know, fulfill your role as coach and really…
Andrew: … guide your athlete in doing what was really the right workout that weekend, instead of doing an unnecessarily long workout because, “Hey, your race date’s not coming up.
Elizabeth: So, Thiago was at the office right after meeting in which they were deciding to shut down operations. So, already kind of going through quite a few things on the business side of things at the dental clinic, and then also having to make some adjustments with shutting some things down for racing as well.
Andrew: Yeah. Thiago, we feel for you brother. I wanted to give you a shout out just a little… a little positive encouragement today as your dental office is shut down until further notice and your race day is postponed. That's… that's a pretty bad 1-2 punch. But we're here for you. We hope you're… you continue pressing on in your training and let those endorphins kind of cheer you up, pick you up. Hope you’re… hope you're staying healthy wherever you're at, brother. So, Jeff Raines, who do we have next?
Jeff: Ms. Jenna wrote, the morning before her race, “Just getting out of bed reading a text from a friend who forwarded the information to me the previous night.” Man, that would stink, and hopefully…
Andrew: At least it was like the night before the race and not like waking up the morning of…
Jeff: Race morning.
Andrew: … at 4:00 AM, you know, you eat that breakfast or getting… you’re getting ready and then… and then you see it. At least it was at least the day before.
Jeff: And I think we all know Jenna and we know she's a glass-half-full kind of person. And hopefully, she was… we know she was disappointed, but she didn't… it didn't cause her to wake up on the wrong side of the bed for her. So…
Andrew: Yeah. She also has a fantastic coach, coach Ryan Tibbal, from Fort Worth, who is a dear friend of mine. And so, I know that they've already been working together to keep her training progressing, and she's just going to be that much faster for her next race. The last one, we're going to share, this as Todd, he said, “I just stepped off my fire truck and received a text from my training and racing partner.” Todd, thanks for your service in the fire department. I know that you guys at this time are probably slammed with some extra responsibilities and extra times. And as you don't have your race to… to… you know, coming up pretty soon, we just hope that you stay healthy, and thanks for serving the community.
So, hey, wherever you work, you know, we hope that you have kind of walked through those emotions and are back to training and are keeping a positive mental mindset. All's we can do is the best we… we can with what we have. And we wish everybody just… just good health in this time. If you have a race on the on the schedule coming up, you know, for the late summer, early fall, we really hope for your sake that race gets to happen. We hope that the world is a healthier place by then. So, keep your heads up and keep training.
Well, that's it for today, folks. I want to thank coaches Elizabeth James, Jeff Raines, and John Mayfield for helping us think through all the implications from COVID-19 to our training and racing. We really hope everyone walks away from this one feeling like they have a little bit more guidance on triathloning during this time. Thanks to all of our athletes that threw out their questions. It really helped us ask the exact things our audience wanted to know.
And the great thing is, you can do that all the time. If you ever have a question or a topic you want to hear about on the podcast, or if you have a great triathlon story to tell, go to tridot.com/podcast and click on Submit Feedback to let us know what you're thinking. We'll do it all again soon. Until then, stay healthy and happy training.
Outro: Thanks for joining us. Make sure to subscribe and share the TriDot podcast with your triathlon crew. For more great tri-content and community, connect with us on Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram. Ready to optimize your training? Head to tridot.com and start your free trial today. TriDot, the obvious and automatic choice for triathlon training.