Enough said about 2020. Done with looking back to the past. 2021, please treat us well! After a few busy months with an exam and a demanding work schedule, I am currently building up my training hours to get ready for my first full distance triathlon (Ironman Hamburg).
As we all know, 2021 comes again with a lot of uncertainties and restrictive measures. It is hard to focus on the 2021 triathlon season when you know there is a chance that several races will be postponed or cancelled. Making a well-balanced season plan is even harder than ever before. That said, I made a good plan together with my coach (Ferrum Endurance Coaching).
For now, that's the best we can do. Whenever things change unexpectedly, we have to change the plan and change the direction. To bring up 2020 one last time (even though I just said not to look back to the past), it taught us some valuable skills which can be helpful for the rest of our lives. Most of us never had to deal with so many uncertainties and disappointments ever before. Our lives drastically changed in a short amount of time. Our adaptive powers have been trained which can be very useful in triathlon. Every race is different and each race has its own unexpected circumstances. Having a high level of adaptability helps us to perform well in the future. We hopefully all feel a bit more like a chameleon now. Chameleon's have an unprecedented level of adaptability. If I encounter a flat tire or bad weather in my next race, I will let the chameleon in me out and say thank you to 2020!
Back to 2021. You may be curious how I am dealing with 2021 so far? Well, I must admit I sometimes have a hard time dealing with another morning without swimming or another day at the home office. Not to mention how bad I am craving to see all my friends in real. Trying to stay positive goes with ups and downs which you all recognize. Focusing on the positive sides of the pandemic, the lessons I learned (the Chameleon experience for example haha) and chatting a lot with the people I love helps me a lot.
My love for running and cycling also keeps me going. I would rather run around in Utrecht or cycle virtually in Zwift 24/7. I know, rest is important therefore binge-watching Netflix or reading a good book is a welcome break for my legs to recover. Even though 'offseason' is only just around the corner, I am very happy with my progress. Every training session feels great and I am hitting my numbers more easily than ever before.
Probably also one of the positive sides of being in lockdown, is that it gives me more opportunities to focus on recovery, rest and nutrition which are definitely my weak spots. Luckily my coach also plays an important role in my progression. As he knows me quite well, he is also well aware of my weak spots and he helps me with finding the right balance. Having a coach who knows your flaws is definitely important if you ask me. Especially if you set ambitious goals.
What about my progress so far? It is hard to tell, without a real race, what you are capable of. But my workouts definitively give me some good insights in my shape right know. My most recent FTP test was very promising. An FTP increase of 17 watts in just a few months to 267 watts (4.6 watt/kg), shows the power in my legs. I am very curious to test how fast I can ride my time trial bike outside. Hopefully the weather will soon be better to go for my first outside ride of 2021. For now, I will keep Zwifting because I am one of those weird athletes who loves to ride indoors! It is a good way to clear my mind and to focus on hard intervals without being distracted by traffic. Hungry for even more progress. Will that 5.0 watt/kg ever be possible? Time will tell, but for now I love to dream big!
Besides cycling, my running intervals also show some quite promising results. Not to forget to mention the fact that I am running pain free for the past year which is quite unique for me. In the past, I unfortunately ran with many issues. I am thankful that I am able to push hard pain free. On Friday, I successfully finished an interval session with 2 times 3.5KM averaging 3.53 min/km on the first set and 3.48 min/km on the second set. I was very happy with the result since it felt this easy and the legs were great. I have never run this fast, this easily! Can't wait to see how my legs will perform in a real running race. Till that moment, I keep training consistent and hard. One day, we will be able to get our normal lives back. Whenever that moment comes, be ready and be prepared!
For now, I will go for a 20KM endurance run. Enjoy your Sunday and don't forget to be positive and stay safe!