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Races cancelled - Top tips to help maintain your morale and motivation

None of us were expecting the situation we currently find ourselves in, that’s for sure! With a good winter's training behind us and the excitement and anticipation of the season about to start, we are all good to go and then boom; Covid-19 brings it to a halt and changes everything.

It’s frustrating to say the least, a lot of us in the best form and ready to smash our early season events. It leaves you feeling demoralised and demotivated for sure. You find yourself asking “ What’s the point, Do I carry on training” etc etc. Then once you’ve got your head around it and had time to process the situation, it’s time to come up with plan B and find new ways to motivate yourself to achieve the goals you had originally set out. I love a challenge and I like to think there’s opportunity in every obstacle. So here are a few things for you to think about and try during this time to keep you motivated and look after yourself,

Reevaluate - Look at your training, speak to your cycling coach if you have one and look at going back into the maintain stage of sessions I.e base training to stabilise form and adding in variation to keep things interesting. We are allowed one form of exercise a day, so get out and ride the bike and just enjoy it.

Work on weaknesses - Looking at events you had planned and still have in the calendar for later in the year. What do you need to work on to come out of lockdown and smash it up! Look at pacing strategies for those events, S&C workouts specifically for the bike. We have a program on the MBPC website designed for this. Strength work really does make a difference to your performance.

Look at Aerodynamic improvements- There’s lots of information about this online, from equipment selection such as skinsuits, helmets and kit changes to the bike itself such as different poles, arm pads, wheels etc. We have options for virtual bike fits that we offer via Skype whilst we are unable to do our usual fits at this time .They also include an aero drill plan which helps you train in the new position to fully optimise it come race day.

Be kind to yourself - I’m a big believer in a positive mind set and using set backs as a drive to still achieve. However, we all have times where we don’t want to do it or just haven’t got the drive that day to train. So in this case mix it it up, change the session to a different form of exercise from the bike. Go for a walk in the fresh air to clear the mind. Do a Pilates or yoga session instead. Or if you’re body is telling you that it needs a rest, take the day off, chill and watch your favourite TV show or catch up on that much needed sleep. I know a lot of people are struggling with sleep at the moment with anxiety high and a lot of different factors adding to stress levels. I’ve found doing a 10 minute Headspace session before bed has helped calm the mind and allow me to fall asleep better. It’s so important to look after our mental health at the moment as well as our physical.

Have Fun - Try new things. Is there something you’ve wanted to try but not had the chance to within your training? This is a great opportunity to do them with a lot of us having more time at home during lockdown. I’ve really enjoyed getting together with groups of our coached riders on Zwift sessions. It's great to train together even just virtually at the moment. Keeping each other motivated gives you that sense of not letting someone down as you’re doing it together still, so it makes you get on with it, having that accountability I suppose certainly helps. I always come off the turbo buzzing after these sessions. If anything I feel closer and even more part of a team for doing them. Zwift also do races which can help substitute real races for the time being and let’s us have fun and banter with our friends.

The thing to remember through all of this is that we are all in this together, check in with team mates and make sure they are ok. Do the best you can to keep training going and sticking to the plan as much as as possible, this won’t last forever and the day will come that we are all looking forward to so much and that is race day! You will thank yourself for all the work you have put in during this time and come out the blocks flying!!

Matt Bottrill of Matt Bottrill Performance Coaching

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