Racing, obviously, has not been a thing for the vast majority of us in 2020. I personally haven’t raced in over a year, and likely won’t race again until mid-2021. But I really don’t care… and you know why? Because there are so dang many interesting endurance things to do besides racing!!!
Let’s go back to why you got into endurance sports. I mean *really* why. You might say “Kona”, or something like that, but I’d bet for the vast majority of you, it’s much deeper than that. It’s likely because you want to test your limits, discover new things about yourself, and see some great scenery while you’re doing it. Finishing a specific Ironman, or marathon, or bike race, is just a tool to provide structure and help you achieve those primary goals of limit-testing, self-discovery, and outdoor adventure.
Great, so now that we’ve stripped things down a bit more, we start to realize that we can still achieve a lot of our primary motivations for endurance sport, even without racing! Isn’t that great? I think it’s pretty great.
But how do we do this? By choosing our own adventure! This is something I’ve done my entire racing career. From wacky long rides up and down extreme mountain passes, to rowing 100 km on an erg, to swimming across giant lakes, to running up and down ski slopes for several hours. I’ve encouraged all of my athletes to do the same this year after they all asked me “Uhhh… what the heck are we supposed to do this year?” My response was always “What do YOU want to do? What do YOU find motivating? Is there a mountain you’ve always wanted to bike or run up? Is there a massive point-to-point ride you’ve always wanted to do? The only limit is your imagination!”
Overwhelmingly, the reaction has been positive. I’ve had athletes chase a sub-5 minute mile, do a 200-mile gravel ride, tackle the 4-Gaps ride in Vermont, get random KOMs that mean a lot to them, do massive mountain bike rides in the Rockies, and any number of other adventures.
So athletes: talk to your coaches, tell them what motivates you. Tell them about that wacky adventure that’s been sitting in the back of your head for a couple years, but you never got around to because you were always running around chasing races. Coaches: ask your athletes what would put a spark in their eyes. Ask them what would motivate them to drag themselves out of bed in the morning and slap some body glide on their legs.
Just because there aren’t formal races being put on by companies, it doesn’t mean you can’t go out there and find other ways to test your limits. And the bonus this year is that you get to design your own course! Yeah, I said “bonus” when referring to 2020. This year has some perks… you just have to look for them. Woo! Let’s go!
This post was written by QT2 Level 3 Coach, Doug MacLean.