Lockdown Benefits

It has been a while since I posted but the motivation to do so has been largely lacking in these most strange and historic times.

Obviously our main sport has been curtailed with the pool being closed in early March so we have had to do something else to ensure we stay fit and motivated. So bring on:

  1. The garden pool
  2. Resistance bands
  3. Zwift
  4. Running
  5. Virtual racing
  6. Land training

At the start of lockdown you would have been forgiven for thinking it was the height of summer, so we invested in a 3m long garden swimming pool and a resistance tether, to be honest it has been played in more than swum, but once you get the hang of the tether it is fantastic – not the same obviously but a good substitute.

I have also invested in some cheap resistance bands and am just starting to play with them working on simulating the swimming actions to ensure the shoulders do not totally waist away. A quick google search and you quickly find loads of tips and sessions, alongside those that Ed has kindly shared. This is one area that I am going to develop to build the resistance in the arms and shoulders. Watch this space….

Zwift has been an absolute god send, kept us safe, off the roads and not a risk to the NHS by putting ourselves in a position where we may need A & E. A personal decision and one that we stand by. For those who do not know Zwift is a virtual online cycling world that brings the outdoors in, racing, time trials, group rides and free riding – it is fantastic.

Over the period of lockdown I have ridden Zwift more than ever, raced time trials, done group races with the swimming club, done workouts and group ridden and all the time getting faster, stronger and increased my average power output to just below 200 watts – according to Zwift. All I will say is you will never be as hot as you are when on the turbo!!!

So does it work, is it a substitute for the great out doors, will it make you faster. Well what it does give you is a constant target, a screen firing data back at you, power output to hit, average speed, gradients, other riders to chase and in workouts a structured session tailored to your current ability. So all in all the components to make you stronger & faster, but no wind, uneven roads and the variances of being outdoors. So in my very unscientific test my conclusion is it does.

One decent ride outside in 4 months and I have put out some half decent stats. 20 miles averaging 17.2 mph with just under 1000 foot of climbing. Not too shabby, but one section shows it better than most a 2 mile gradual climb with 2 steep sections in it, the top of Yarnfield Lane to the Fitzherbert Pub in Swynnerton – PR by just under a minute:

So keep Zwifiting all year round…..

Running has continued and we have all been getting stronger and quicker, personally my highlight a sub 50 min 10k.

We have also done loads of virtual Duathlons, run, bike run. Castle triathlon, Ironman VR and the Parogon events that we have put on and coordinated. All gives a focus to the training, gives the competitive edge especially when competing against your mates. Coming up we have the Leeds ITU virtual race and a substitute swim at Alderford – not quite Llanberis but in these times we make do!!

How full will this get!!

One of the biggest revelations has been the land training that we are leading three times a week for club members via Zoom. It started as a bit of fun but has developed into a great session and it is fantastic to see the progress being made by the regulars. We have introduced weights, done yoga, increased the difficulty of the exercises and the length of the sessions and it is all paying off.

The main benefit people are seeing is a difference in their core strength and the associated benefits of that, better running / swimming form, better balance and overall fitness. Personally I have noticed it in that ‘touch wood’ no lower back issues. The biggest testament to this is that people have asked for it to continue once the pool is reopened….

So we are by no means out of the woods yet, this virus is not going away and the pool will remain shut for a while yet – but we need to remain positive, focus on the benefits and look to the future.

Who knows a Parogon fitness session in a park coming soon?

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