When Elite Cycling reached out to me to answer a few questions about what life looks like in Covid-19 quarantine, of course I was happy to participate! I wanted to share their interview and my thoughts about how I’m staying motivated to train and my thoughts about our situation. Elite Cycling is a company based in Italy, so as bad as we have had it here in the U.S. (and California for me), they have had it much worse; no matter how bad, I have appreciated that they always maintain a positive outlook and are doing everything they can as a company to support their community and athletes, not only in Italy, but the world. For more information, please find them at https://www.elite-it.com/it .
Living in quarantine and the limitations imposed on travel and physical activity have certainly had a significant impact on everyone’s life, including us cyclists . How to live this period, at a time when many countries are still in lockdown, is one of the questions we asked three of our exceptional Eliters.
Our ambassadors, starting with the charity marathon for the Toronto Hustle two weeks ago, have shown a desire to fight isolation and to continue doing sports worthy of the greatest cyclists ever. And that’s why we chose to ask them what it means to play sports today and what cycling is now, at the time of distancing.
Because cycling is not just a love of cycling : it is love for your teammates – team, training, on the street and certainly online – and above all love for sport, understood as life, sharing, heart. A true heart, which beats constantly. Because even if we have to keep our distance, we have never been so united.
Enjoy the reading.
Covid has temporarily changed our way of life. How is Covid-19 affecting your life and your training activity?
This period of isolation due to Covid-19 is undoubtedly difficult for everyone , and for some more than others. I am a classical musician and I work in the performing arts sector; all theaters and entertainment venues are closed, so since the isolation started I am completely unemployed. I have been told that things will not return to normal at least until June, perhaps later.
Aside from the economic impact this has had on my life, I miss my colleagues and more than anything else, I miss making music. I love playing and sharing music with others, so it’s hard to give it up. Already before the Covid pandemic, the art sector was in difficulty, and I fear that many orchestras and groups will not be able to survive the devastating financial consequences they will inevitably face. I don’t know when we can go cycling again, but I know everyone will be eager to participate as soon as possible! The pandemic has affected so many human lives that, even when we could get out of isolation, I don’t know if and when the world economy can recover.
I think the most difficult thing for many people, including me, is the feeling of isolation that has arisen. Luckily we live in an era where Facetime, Skype and other apps make it much easier to connect with others , but it’s not quite the same as cycling and running with friends!
For me, this was the most difficult part of the change of training. Normally I swam three days a week with my local Master program and on weekends I participated in long bike and walking races. It has always been a great source of motivation that spurred me to work hard, and I lack the team spirit that is created with friends.
On the other hand, since I am out of work and my usual routine has gone bad, training has actually been a source of salvation in this period . It’s really the only “normal” thing I have in my life right now. I still train 6-7 days a week, but with less intensity. My first race was to be in April (it was obviously canceled) so the training was intensifying a lot, with long and heavy weeks. Having nothing planned until the end of this year (hopefully no later), my coach and I have decided to reduce the workload. This is to decrease the risk of accidents, but also of burnout.
The goal right now is more to “train to maintain”,or train to maintain physical fitness, so that when we start competing again, we will be ready to go back to work. Although I try to keep myself busy with other things, like cooking, reading and making plans for the home, I am very happy to train in this period, so as to give a sense of stability to my life.
Maintaining concentration and physical fitness is not easy. How do you keep motivation high? Did you learn anything new about yourself during isolation?
Surely I still have a routine , it is fundamental for me. I continue to follow my training schedule and daily workouts, but as I said, I have reduced the amount of hours per week and the intensity of the sessions. I think the biggest motivation for me is to know that one day we will run again, and I want to be ready. At the beginning of the pre-season I worked hard to get results, and I don’t want to blow them up and have to start all over again.
There are a couple of things that I am doing in this period to try to stay motivated, the first is to focus more on my strength work. I find that for me this is the best way to avoid injuries, and there is ALWAYS a part of the body to strengthen (for me, it is the abs!). It is an opportunity to prepare my body for the hard work that I will come back to sooner or later.
Then I changed my approach and I loosened the pressure on demanding training a bit , because I think that in these moments it is essential to enjoy what you do. I’m doing more group races with the apps, I accept more fun “challenges” and I participate in the Ironman Virtual Races. Instead of tiring and repeated uphill sessions, I run longer and quieter runs, I try to have fun and pedal just for the pleasure of pedaling, without focusing on time. The bike ride helps me a lot to reduce stress and I feel better and better after a good ride. I must say that right now I can’t wait to ride my bike.
I definitely miss swimming, but using stretch cords 3-4 times a week helps me. I feel rather sore after using them if I go heavy, so apparently they really work!
During isolation it is essential to have a valid interactive roller. Is it a simple need due to the lockdown or is it an extra resource?
I think having a roller is an absolute must right now! I have an Elite Cycling Direto X and also an SBRRockr platform that is facilitating my indoor training. Normally I train indoors 2-3 days a week, while now I use the roller 95% of the time.
I like to use Zwift because it has a video game quality, with different levels and results that you can “unlock” and hundreds of excellent pre-set workouts. I’m trying to get things moving a little bit during this period, since we don’t have to be so rigid with training, so it’s nice to do group rides or try a new challenge on Zwift. I’m a beginner with Rouvy, but I’m really enjoying it because driving is so realistic that I can open the garage door and pretend to ride outdoors! I think you can get an equally effective workout, sometimes even better, both by using the roller, and by running outdoors.
I don’t have a treadmill because I love running outdoors. I don’t mind using the bike indoors, but running outdoors (keeping my distance and wearing a mask!) Really helps me to preserve my sanity . It would be difficult for me to give up.
What is the advice that you feel to give to our athletes?
My best advice is to try to maintain a program or routine similar to that of pre-pandemic life! If you are used to waking up every day at 6 in the morning, keep waking up at that time and keep the same “working hours”. I go to bed and wake up at about the same time, have breakfast and start the first workout of the day every morning at the same time, and organize my time for the rest of the day, even if it is just simple housework , how to clean or cook.
Also, be socially active! Attend Zoom’s happy hour or the Zwift group race that your friends and teammates organize, call your family with Facetime more often, and use social media (or other means) to stay in touch. How many times have I thought that I would have wanted more free time to do all those projects that I never have time to do … and here it is!
Sooner or later the quarantine will end, try to enjoy the present moment, to be positive, and to live day by day.