From the 4th of May, except for some limitations in the Red Zones, in many European countries, it is possible to training individually outdoor. We all have a great desire to run and our instinct pushes us to perform “long” sessions, often with an effort beyond our physical condition compromised by the Corononavirus quarantine.
During the Soft-Lockdown, it is important to take care of both progressive and balanced restart. It is essential to carefully evaluate our condition and avoid the high risk of injuries.
Let’s see together some Q&A about the correct steps to follow.
Q.1. Should I plan the restart by myself … with standard tables … or with a coach?
The choice depends on your goal.
Are you unmotivated or have all your target races been canceled? Or is your goal just to compete for the pleasure of visiting new places? In this case, probably the best choice is to plan your training by yourself and take your time to get back to your athletic fitness and “tough” trail running sessions.
Q.2. Is your target race planned in the next 4-5 months? Have you continued to train at home managing to maintain muscle tone and healthy weight? Well, if you have enough experience, you probably know the race that awaits you and you are in a position to resume training regularly, roll up your sleeves and start again! Maybe picking up your old tables from last year and adjusting them to the new goals.
Are you an athlete who does not give up? Do you have a strong determination and, regardless of the mathematical certainty that your target race in August or September will be maintained, you are convinced to keep training hard anyway? …. An ultra trail, sooner or later, will take place! In this case, if you want to be competitive and want to take advantage of achieving a better ranking than other years, taking advantage of the delay in preparation and indecision of others, then choose a Coach. The personalized scientific preparation and your determination will make you make an unprecedented leap in quality. Start immediately!
D.2. How long would it take to recover my lost athletic form?
If you totally stopped running or you limited yourself to performing a few exercises or you only used the exercise bike, you must consider that you have lost 75-80% of your training. In particular, you will have lost resistance, strength and flexibility in the joints.
You will, therefore, have to plan a gradual return to trail running with initial sessions of 20 or 30 minutes on 3 days a week, reaching 1 hour in the fourth week.
Consider that to return to the pre lockdown level you will need more than a couple of months or, in all cases, to easily perform 40-60km in the high mountains with significant d+, you will have to wait about 3 months. So, be patient!
On the other hand, in case you managed to run on the road or in nature, near your house or on the treadmill, you probably have covered a distance close to 50-60Km per week. In this case, your situation is more positive and the recovery of the starting athletic performance will be faster. You can start right away with a correct training program and, in a couple of months, you will surely have the bases for competing in August. Most likely you will not reach the top of performance, as in other years, but with revised chronometric objectives and the right programming, you may be able to achieve a satisfying goal … In fact, other athletes will also experience the same problems!
D.3. How should I set up my restart plan?
The quarantine period has upset our lives. Not only the goals but also motivation. The return to “normal” sporting life must take this into account.
You will have to work in progression, focusing on all physical qualities, running technique and supports. In the beginning, focus mainly on flat training and in the execution of pace changes based on your sensations. Schedule fartlek and interval training sessions also to recover muscle reactivity and elasticity. Start reprogramming uphill reps only when you have achieved an acceptable base condition. Perform your first running sessions in the mountains with great caution and at low intensity, using the poles (especially if you have not followed any Circuit Training Sessions) with the aim of regaining confidence and technical gesture.
D.4. How can I adjust speed and intensity during my training sessions?
During the quarantine, all of us have lost speed and reduced our thresholds. Consequently, your heart rate training zones are probably very staggered. If you follow tables from previous years, pay close attention to the HR references you use.
Check the parameters! Run and train for 3-4 weeks and then perform some functional tests (i.e. Athletic Test) that will indicate the correct parameters on which to set your tables or training sessions and start again with determination!
D.5. How can I reduce the recovery time without getting injured?
The best way is to take into account the above and adding some tricks that, on average for our athletes, lead to increases of between 10 and 15% in less than a year.
There are three methods:
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Happy back to trail moments!
Digital Strategic Marketing Director – certified Innovation Manager – in multinational companies, she is still today the only Italian female athlete to have ran 900 km and 55,000m D+ in the mountains in a single stage race (Transpyrenea 2016, 3rd women overall). She counts numerous Podiums and international Victories on races over 100k. She holds a SNaQ CONI certification as a Trail Running Coach, Athletic Trainer and in Nutrition and Sports Supplementation. Since 2014 she is President and sports executive of innovative technology startups and companies, including Trail Running Movement and Digital Sport 360. She trains elite trail running athletes and she teaches in trail running coach certification courses. She is an author of sports articles on training, nutrition and supplementation in trail running and running, both in Italian and in English and Spanish. She manages relationships and collaborations with Federations and Race Organizers.