Has your Race been Cancelled or Deferred?


And wondering how to deal with that? Some words of wisdom from Head Coach Ralph Hydes

We recently had the news that Challenge Roth has been moved to September or you have the option to defer your place to next year. Majorca Ironman was also cancelled this year and I suspect lots more races abroad will probably be cancelled or postponed too.  Whilst this is extremely disappointing for those that have been training for these events for over a year now, as it was of course cancelled last Summer, it is something that I’m afraid you have to prepare for this year. It is likely that most races abroad certainly won’t take place and large events in the UK may not even take place such as the London marathon which looks likely to be another virtual event this year.

It is very easy to lose focus now and stop your training or just go into a non-focused routine but, you should continue with your training as if the race were to go ahead as normal on the planned date. Why do that?

Well by continuing to focus you will continue to follow the right training patterns at the correct times of the year. This will actually benefit you in several ways.

  • Firstly, it will keep you motivated. Continuing to have the goal even if it means doing the event on your own or a slightly modified distance and a different venue gives you a focus.
  • Second, it will keep your speed. If you don’t have the focus you will lose your speed.  Without a set date to focus on you run the risk of just racing and training too hard and can blow up due to not having the goal to modify your training and intensity.  This may also stagnate your training creating a plateau.  How many of you have been doing virtual races since the first lockdown?  Sure, they are fun but are they part of a structured training plan focusing on key progressions for your training. 
  • Third, it will keep you more engaged with your training if you have a goal which is in the near future rather than a year away.
  • Finally, it is likely to keep you injury free. Why would this happen?

Training too hard or not training in the normal peaks and troughs of a periodised programme is more likely to injure you as mentioned above but it can actually slow you down too!  Let me try to explain this further.

I plan the club annual training plan as a cycle called periodisation. This means that the training is focused on developing certain aspects of training such as building strength and endurance in the winter and then building speed into the sessions during the spring and then tapering the sessions towards the goal races so that you arrive in peak form.  If you change the cycle of these periods or train too long at certain intensities at the wrong time of year it can lead to overtraining.  Likewise, if you just do more base work thinking that you can get more in before next year then you will end up slow as you haven’t incorporated and built speed into your plan. 

So, what can you do?

Well the first thing you can do is engage with the club sessions as they are designed to make you do the correct training at the correct intensities at the right times during the year. 

Finally, maybe look at UK races. Especially local races who will be struggling for income and will benefit from your support. If you usually race Middle or Long Distance do some Sprints or Olympics. Don’t feel you have swam enough, do a Duathlon. We are lucky enough to take part in a sport that has many options. Give some new race formats a try. If you are lucky enough to have an early season race and want some preparation then there are a number of Virtual events available to sharpen you up. Or even make your own race even if it is shortened and modified on your own in a safe way. For example, do the swim at Shepperton lake once it opens, plan a cycle route which is safe and then run along the Thames towpath or Bushy or Richmond park.  Use your family as your support crew.  It doesn’t have to be season over just because the races have been cancelled.