As we creep into the back half of this most tumultuous year, I can only assume that you are likely navigating a summer that includes vastly different plans than you assumed that you would be following at the start of the year. We are the same, and I just hope that you have managed to find some silver linings within this craziness. This week seems like a great time for a quick pause-and-reflect on our status and journey -- as for some of us, it might be a nice time to take a little breather.
Let’s first acknowledge the journey so far in 2020, which began with normal focus and high aspirations, all turned to dust as the fog of COVID-19 descended. Since that time we have all been managing uncertainty, moving targets of ever-evaporating races, and underlying societal stress that is undoubtedly greatly magnified. In general, I am incredibly proud of the response of the Purple Patch team and athletes. Following a week or two of instability, we locked in to a strong rhythm of COVID-suitable training that held high flexibility, plenty of soul-filling sessions, but also a healthy dose of very high intensity. Collectively we charged forward, within context, and for most:
We put in a great shift of work that is now banked! The benefits are sitting in the body all stored up.
Following this initial higher intensity focus that most Purple Patch athletes followed, we shifted the training emphasis toward extended intervals and great endurance. Most of us got to head outside more, and we began to bridge training for ‘COVID-suitable’ high intensity toward more race-preparatory type intervals. The fog seemed to be lifting and we began to seek a conversion from high intensity to more race-specific tainted focus.
For most of us, the last two months have delivered something simple: We began to get really fit.
Uh oh! The fog reversed its course in June and began creeping back in. Uncertainty returned, and we collectively experienced a return of anxiety and logistical challenge. It also has become clear that classic racing opportunities are increasingly unlikely in 2020. This realization for many has been the final straw, pushing several into despair and apathy. But, don’t give up!
It has already been a long journey -- and while the training effects are banked and stored -- few of us have had the chance to truly experience the fruits of labor. It is understandable that some ask ‘what's the point?!’. Well, here it is:
You need purpose, direction, and mission in training to enable you to best navigate the stress of the times, and to set up a cracking 2021. In fact, you need training now more than ever.
This is where we find ourselves in a balance of feeling burned from months of hard work, and rudderless without clear purpose but not wanting to turn out back on it all. Good options await:
We set up a charge toward challenges and races in the fall of 2020.
I have already spoken about these, and you are going to see a lot more in the coming week or so. These challenges are sure to ignite purpose, direction, mission, and a real sense of accomplishment. They are also going to be fun. As a person who would typically have little interest in virtual challenges and events, I realize that these are not ordinary times, and this situation amplifies the need to lean in.
So, we have done good work and have a real purpose to drive toward from mid-August till November. Everyone can participate, all can accomplish. With this in mind, an important message that holds the backbone of this short piece:
It might be time to take a breather!
Rather than just remaining in overdrive, I think you should feel free to consider taking 7 to 14 days of really low stress or unstructured training time. Sometime in the coming two to three weeks I would encourage each athlete to lean into a lighter block of fun exercise, focused healing, and a short removal from structure. We need to refresh the mind and body. For individually coached athletes -- this is a perfect time to connect with your coach and has a planning session around the best way to take a deep breath. For Squaddies, take control and lead yourself with courage. If you get to integrate with friends and family time, all the better, but a short mental break will open the door of opportunity for you physically.
My call to action for the late summer and fall is to charge through a series of events. I would like pros, Matt Dixon athletes, 1:1 athletes, and all Squaddies to connect and drive forward toward at least some of the fall challenges. We go ‘all team’ -- and drive toward purpose, mission, direction and accomplishment. As we release the roadmap and details over the coming week, I encourage you to do three things:
- Consider these challenges in an evolved light and mindset from how you usually might. We are not in normal times, so approach as a vehicle to help yourself in life and set up your 2021 self as an athlete.
- Take a deep breath before diving in. It is a great time for a little break before full-throttle commitment.
- Get others involved. If ever there is a time to do this together -- it is now! Not only would we appreciate adding more friends to the path forward -- I think we will all benefit from the collective energy.
Let's line up the horses and get ready to charge into fall.
But, first, take a breather!
Matt and the Team
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