2020 has definitely not been the year that anyone was expecting. With everything turned on its head and races off the calendar for a while it’s time to start looking for different options to stay fit and motivated. My main goal for 2020 was racing Kona in Oct after I turn 50 (having qualified in Wisconsin last year), but with that now being delayed a year it was time for something new. Taking a year off is just going to make you slower and left behind by the competition so it’s time to think outside of the box. For me that means adventure, doing something a bit different and pushing the limits. This means something different to everyone but now is the time to start thinking of some summer adventures.
The key is that it is something that motivates you, something that you’re willing to work towards and that’s going to get you out the door and making the time to train for it. There are lots of options, something as simple as trying to do a run every day for 30 days, or maybe you have always wanted to try a 50km trail run, you can do that on your own on a route that’s close to home. Now that the weather is warming up the lakes will be ready for open water swimming soon, so maybe a long open water swim at the cottage this summer? Or try your own Swim/Run in and around your cottage where you swim and run/hike between a number of different lakes in the area. On the bike you can easily go out and explore, don’t worry about speed or power, pick a destination that you would like to ride to and find a great route to get there. And it doesn’t even have to be swim/bike/run, even a long backpacking trip like La Cloche Silhouette in Killarney Provincial Park is an 80km backpacking loop that is an amazing place to go and see and requires a really solid level of fitness to enjoy. This is the chance to do something different this summer but having a goal to work towards is really the key. For most athletes racing is just the icing on the cake, it’s really about the process, the icing is the incentive to keep the process going and now it’s time to try a little different icing that’s all.
For me personally it started off this spring with my brother in law and I talking about riding from Toronto to his chalet in Huntsville, but we didn’t have any interest in riding on the road. So we started to look at maps and google earth to see how we could make a route that was much more gravel/path and trail oriented. It wasn’t about getting there fast, it was about doing it in the most scenic and interesting way to us. In the end we figured out a 270km route that included as many gravel roads, forest track and rail trails as we could find and it was awesome, 10.5 hours of ride time and 12.5 hours later we made it. This was my longest ever ride in terms of both distance and duration and my slowest ever 180km, but it will also be one of my most memorable rides, something I will never forget.
What will you do to make your summer memorable this year?
Nigel Gray is Head Coach of NRG Performance Training