As an athlete, perhaps the only thing harder than being injured is not being able to race and compete. For many, that is the goal or purpose of all those early morning workouts or pushing through a hard session when you aren’t feeling your best. It’s not necessarily about about winning or losing but challenging ourselves to get better, faster, stronger and achieve our invidiual goals.
Can we do that in this current pandemic world? Sure, but virtual racing presents a new and different set of challenges from the typical in-person experience. I’ve found some competitive release in racing the bike on Zwift and doing some virtual running events. Here are my tips to nail your next virtual race.
I have a race later today. 10 miles. In February. In New England. Can’t wait.
One the biggest challenges I had with my Addison’s diagnosis and then the knee arthritis was being forced to slow down, and then, stop for a bit. I know many people have a tough time, for various reasons, calling them themselves an athlete. I had a really hard time not seeing myself as an athlete. For as long as I can remember sports and fitness were a daily part of my life. It was a huge piece of how I viewed myself, viewed the world, and approached my place in it. It wasn’t the only way, of course, but it was a big part to suddenly be missing.
I’m trying to teach the girls, or at least show, them that confidence is born out of doing hard things. So a 10-miler on a brisk February morning should be a good example. Their thing might not be sports, but the principles still apply. Rise to meet a challenge, don’t bring a misery mindset. I think we often mistake needing courage, confidence or self-esteem in order to try hard things. This feels backwards to me. We need to embrace a challenge and seek out difficult tasks to explore our own psychology and how we respond. Would I have the courage to take on fourth grade math, glitter slime, or the self-esteem for kitchen karaoke without it? I’m not sure I want to find out.
Before I transition to triathlons for the summer months, I have one month and one more 5k (you can read my recaps of the previous three here, here and here) to tackle in the spring season. My times have been inching downward and my goal is to get back under that 20 minute barrier. I’ve written in the past about the mental and physical demands of running a fast 5k. Now, I want to talk tactically about the 4 key workouts for a faster 5k that I’ll be using this final month of training.
These 4 workouts target speed and pacing, the two critical factors in executing a successful 5k race strategy.