Where are we? Where are we going? Who am I?
A lot has happened over the last couple of months, and as countries begin to open up (or in the case of the state of Georgia - ‘screw it, come get a tattoo today!’), it is a good time to pause and establish the perspective of where we have traveled so far in 2020, and what we can expect for the rest of the year. While each athlete has an individual roadmap of life, accessibility of training, and threshold of personal integration, I think that a global conversation around this will be helpful.
The original plan. Nearly every Purple Patch athlete had a clear lens on the phases of training progression we could anticipate navigating throughout the year. As a reminder, we made a few changes to prior years, with a more patient start to the year and a heavier emphasis on a gradual ramp and technical development. We were resisting driving toward prime fitness too early in the year, but still navigated four main phases:
- Post Season
- Race Specific
- Race Specific 2
You can review the original emphasis of the programming HERE:
Boom! The whole world changed. Few of us anticipated the impact of Covid-19, and the middle of March saw almost all plans of races disappear before our eyes. The Roadmap and progression that had been carefully mapped in advance needed to be evolved. Over days and weeks in which the ground was moving under our feet, we busily went about implementing a complete rebuild of the year. These changes needed to respond to a moving target, without any compass on what was going to happen over the subsequent weeks and months. There were two main stages:
- Stabilize-Adapt-Innovate: With almost every piece of life impacted, the initial training approach was designed to provide every athlete with a little breathing room. The focus for Purple Patch athletes was to:
- Avoid Immune Suppression
- Reposition training as a complete stress relief
- Use the ritual of training as a tent peg to build a routine in all aspects.
Racing was the last thing on our minds, it was all about stabilizing and promotion of health. Overall, it was tremendously successful, and we also rabidly set up enhanced education, live-coaching sessions, and community-driven focuses.
- Emerge Stronger: As you have been peppered with in the last weeks, it was important for athletes to transition mindset from despair to opportunity. With life somewhat stabilized for many, we actively encouraged athletes to shift the mindset from a wait-and-see mindset, and hoping for events to emerge, to a phase in which presented an opportunity to actually grow! The training has been designed to parallel this spirit, in three components. I mapped a graphic to help you see this progression and evolution HERE:
A more detailed breakdown:
- Phase one (March to June): Without the shackle of racing approaching we decided to innovate and leverage the opportunity for the chance for athlete development. The irony is that this opportunity just wouldn’t happen in normal times. We won’t discuss habits and mindset today, which are a big part of this, but the simple training approach anchored around:
- Improved tissue resilience: plenty of easier and low stress running and riding.
- Increase efficiency: low-stress riding and running to improve fat utilization.
- Anaerobic Capacity: Build the size of your engine -- to optimize the benefits of future race-specific training when it comes.
- Strength and self-care: A concerted focus on mobility, strength and tissue health
- Phase two (Mid-June forward): In our immediate future, the key word here is going to be Flexibility. Without a crystal ball, we must create a path that enables continued growth from the last weeks, but avoids athletes getting stale. We also need to equip athletes to be primed to slide into race-readiness in just a few weeks (4-6 weeks likely). We are therefore beginning to edge toward race readiness, by preparing to prepare for races. We plan to build on the great work so many have done up till now, and advance with:
- Extend the intensity to some longer intervals: build resilience and sustained power.
- Strength-Endurance: Double-down on our special sauce with very strong low cadence riding and hill-based running.
- Begin to develop baseline fitness: Longer duration training as the weather and situation improves.
This is an important phase of training, as it will build on the potential of the work over the last months. This is the part of athlete advancement where we hope to see the fruits of labor begin to emerge. It also has the benefit of shifting the needle toward the readiness to race.
- Race-Ready (give me the word!): The reason I highlighted flexibility is that we have mapped an entire phase of Covid-19 specific training with a lens of no real upcoming racing. Athlete advancement will happen, and it can be fun and tremendously high value in the bigger picture, but we feel it is important to be ready to race when we get the chance. In our back pocket, we have a roadmap of race-specific training just waiting -- and waiting patiently -- to be implemented. It is eager, sniffing, and excited to become a part of your training life. It would be performance madness to drop it now, we must wait. Every week we review the situation and we look ahead. As races truly emerge onto the horizon, we will shift course, while keeping moving forward and get race-ready. If no races happen in 2020, then we will finish as improved athletes and build 2021 ready for wonderful individual and collective breakthroughs. I think racing will come, and we must be ready, but equally must be patient now.
So that’s the plan. A ton of thought and energy into the development, but I hope that each of you jumps in and embraces the enhanced learning, evolve the growth mindset of mindset and approach, and get involved with the live coaching and programming. Let’s talk about it. I am going to host a COACH FORUM on the plans going forward this week on Tuesday and Wednesday. I am happy to answer all questions and provide context.
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