Training patterns in 2020 (so far)

I feel like 2020 is a year different when compared with the previous, on different areas, it’s easy to figure out. One of the areas is the approach to training, which changed (for me) and I want to share some thoughts and personal observations. Now that most of the running competitions in Europe (at least) are canceled or at best organised virtually, I had a look over what changed since the beginning of this year, other than not participating in any events – the data is there, ready to be analysed.

Basically, I started the year training for a half marathon scheduled in April, but things changed dramatically with the lock down on March and all the Covid-19 adjustments so I run less, I walked more (at least in the first months of pandemics), I added some bike riding to compensate and enjoy the nice summer-autumn weather.

2019 was more about running than anything else
2020 – I added more walking and bike riding
Less running in 2020, but more even distribution
Overall – the general activity in 2020 is at a higher level than 2019

The time spent doing physical activities in 2020 was higher than 2019, when comparing similar periods (January-October). The main reason for that was the fact that working from home after March is pretty static (in my case) and I felt like I need to compensate somehow my hours spent at the desk. I used the bike more, actually in 2019 a barely moved it at all but also added a regular evening walking routine in the early months of the Covid-19 pandemics.

My running fitness level is lower now when compared with the same period of 2019, but then it’s understandable since last year during this period I was training for a marathon, in 2020 I only run twice a half-marathon distance and after March the longest run was 13.3 km. Looking back, I’d say that the competition motivation in 2019 was replaced by a being healthy kind of motivation. I allowed myself to run at a lower pace, lower HR, try new approaches and stress myself less.

Since I spent more time in my home office, I had some time for experiments, wearing (for a while) two watches at the same time to compare their metrics – sleep and daily stats – I wrote about those when comparing Polar Vantage V and Garmin (945 and Fenix 6X).

I tried some other ideas, like MAF training and power based training (using Steve Palladino’s training plan), but I didn’t stick with those for more than 2 months, there might be value in both but for MAF I lost my patience before seeing the results, for power based training I felt it’s not that dramatical change from pace based training in my flat training area and the structured workouts based on pace was properly supported by Garmin/Polar unlike running power based. Recently, with the changes Stryd made on their integration with Garmin/Training Peaks/Final Surge you may enjoy structured workouts using their Garmin CIQ app – but that only appeared two weeks ago. Polar also announced with the release of Vantage V2 that they will add until the end of the year (what’s taking so long Polar?! – it’s only two years since you launched Vantage V with running power support) the possibility to have structured power based workouts (but only on Vantage V2 apparently ?!).

The world kept on moving, the companies releasing new devices and tools to support your training but I only purchased one watch this year – the Fenix 6X which is an awesome device and I currently use it as my daily watch. From time to time, I put my Vantage V on, but it stays there only for 2-3 days, because I got used so much with the notifications and body battery from Garmin, that I can’t explain myself why I would use the Vantage V if it misses those (I’ll add maybe a story about my preference for one device/ecosystem over the other).

Stay safe and enjoy your training, no matter how intense it is!

Author: Liviu Nastasa

Passionate about software development, sociology, running...definitely a geek.

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