So we are now three months into 2021 and what a year it has been at least for exercise. Yes, we are still on lock down in many areas (in Nova Scotia we are quite lucky that our lockdowns are minimal) but staying fit is still something we can aim for.
One thing I opted to do this year was really focus on a good quality base training season. With no events to taper for, I was able to just hunker down and put the time on feet in, with the aim of building a really strong base of aerobic fitness.
While I say three months, in reality, we need to go back a little further into December with my goal of achieving a 100+ km week of running during the BLT Runner Xmas Marathon Challenge. From there, I took an easy day of just hiking on January 1st and then began training hard.
While I say training hard, I really mean training smart and pushing my body slowly to adapt to a much bigger than normal work load. This meant being very cautious with things like running hard. While I still did some tempo work and the occasional time trial, for the most part, my efforts were "easy."
Running certainly made up a huge portion of this base training (25% of distance and 41% of time) with almost 840km of running in. In general I run around 60-80 km a week. This is the biggest producer of training stress for me as well, being a full body activity. Stress is a good thing when it is planned for and you allow for recovery. This accounted for 61 hours of workout time.
I do suggest cycling to runners as a great way to occupy days off. As well, I have been pushing the distance a lot more than normal on the bike due to a virtual fundraiser ride around the coast of Nova Scotia called Route541.
And for once we had enough snow that I was able to get out for multiple snowshoe adventures. Trust me, moving quickly on snowshoes is a great push for the aerobic system. Add in poles and you get back to that full body work out, but with low impact.
Now, I won't say that I didn't also put in a few fast efforts to test the legs. It is always good to do a little bit of speed to change up which muscles are working hard. You just have to be really mindful during a hard base training session. So I would do a fast 5K or tempo run on Saturdays as part of my effort to get a parkrun in and or race in a virtual series hosted by VDot2. While these are races, the concept is actually set up for coaches to be able to use these as fun tester workouts for athletes.
I even managed a few runs to pace some friends, and got one to his new PB in the 5K.
So, while I am glad to have done this big base training period, I am also happy to be tapering down a bit and focusing on some speedier goals to come in late May. This means stepping back the cycling particularly so that I have more rest time.