Adapted Training during COVID19 - Jess Collins
27 Apr 2020
We reached out to all our ambassador athletes to see how they were going with training and how they'd adapted to training for changed or undetermined race dates. In Tasmania, most of the trails are closed to the public for the time being, as well as Gyms. This is how Australian ultra trail running team athlete Jess Collins has adapted to continue performing wilder.
- Yes I am still training as I love to be active and enjoy improving/beating my personal bests more than competing with others.
- I have returned more to a base building training style. I have taken this opportunity to try and improve my aerobic base rather than focusing on race-specific fitness. For example, usually at this time of the year I am building up to UTA100 and so would focus my training on building stair running strength. Without UTA100 coming up I don't need to focus on these race-specific and quite taxing workouts and can focus more on building my general aerobic base fitness.
- I am also focussing a little more on improving my weaknesses. I am quite at home running up steep hills, but fast and flat is a little less my comfort zone. So I plan to also work on this by sprinkling in some flat tempo running and interval training amongst my aerobic base work.
- We obviously can't run on the mountain, tears. I luckily have a couple of trails near my house in Margate which are still accessible. The only problem is that with the closure of other tracks, these tracks have become highly trafficked (especially on weekends) and it is quite hard to adhere to social distancing rules. Therefore, I am still using them, but try to go on them at times when there is less traffic and not as often as I would like. This has led me to do a lot more road running or running on this nice little, mostly gravel bike path in Margate along the highway. I luckily enjoy both trail and road running for differing reasons =)
- With the large increase in road running and decrease in trail running I have found small little niggles cropping up in my body. This is probably due to both the change in running surface to a much harder surface and the increase load due to the fact I can run much faster paces on smooth, reasonably flat roads. I am mindful of this and so am doing a bit more aerobic cross training so that I don't end up injured and unable to run.
- Cross-training is fun. Without the pressure of having to be in top form for a specific goal race I have concentrated more on just keeping fit and enjoying myself for when the time comes to get ready for a race again. My cross-training of choice is cycling and I have re-discovered my love for my road bike. I have also invested in a cycling trainer so I can use zwift to virtually cycle with friends and race if I want to. This has been great for a couple of reasons: it allows me to connect with running friends whilst we cannot run together, if I am craving a bit of competition or to push myself I can race others, and my work schedule like many others is very disrupted and all over the place and this allows me to fit my training it around work. Also, the decreased traffic on the roads makes road cycling much more enjoyable.
- I am using this time to develop better self-management habits that I can hopefully stick to once things go back to 'business as usual'. By this, I mean finding the time to stretch and roll-out tight muscles and do more strength work. When I get really busy with work these are usually the things that start to fall by the wayside. I have used this time at home to set up a gym area where this can occur. I am finding I have extra time on the days where I am working from home, rather than the lab and don't lose over an hour to travelling and so I can spend this time stretching and rolling and even trying my hand at things like yoga (which would be quite funny for anyone watching I have been told).
- My next race was UTA100 which has been postponed. I have unfortunately had to defer to next year as the new date was too close to TDS in Europe which still is yet to be postponed or cancelled. I was also planning on taking part in many of the local Tassie races which have also been cancelled. So my next race is supposed to be TDS at the end of August - I think although this has not been cancelled or postponed yet I think it is highly unlikely that I will be racing it this year, because even if it is not cancelled, I don't suspect international travel will be allowed from Australia for quite some time. So I plan to keep fit and be ready to step-up my training in the event I can still attend. Otherwise, I have nothing plan, but who knows with all this road running I may force myself to have a crack at a domestic marathon or something =).