The SCTS 8 Week Virtual Challenge


Although I left South Carolina a couple years ago, I’ve always kept a soft spot in my heart for the South Carolina Triathlon Series and all my friends back home. But even with everything going on in the world today regarding the spread of Covid-19, there are still some silver linings out there. With all of the recent event cancellations going on, the South Carolina Triathlon Series has created a Virtual Challenge running from March 30 through May 31. It’s a great way to encourage people to stay active while following the guidelines to minimize the spread of Covid-19. To find details on how the challenge is being run, then click here. My purpose for this post is to help athletes navigate how to approach this challenge best, though the advice can be applicable to many others in our current situation too.

It’s actually 9 weeks long…

Be Prepared

With a lot of us being thrown out of our routines, it’s important to think ahead and be prepared for your rides and runs. Especially if you’re heading outside make sure that you have everything you need to minimize any stops at gas stations or any other public places. This means carrying enough fluids and nutrition to get you through your activity, and then a little extra just in case. Running out of fuel before you’re even halfway through your workout will not make for a good time!

Perhaps even more important is carrying tools in the event of a flat or mechanical when on the bike. Having to hitch-hike or calling a friend would be less than ideal currently. This challenge is based on training time, and not speed or distance. So don’t worry about getting that extra 0.1 mph by saving a few grams by not carrying a multitool.

Bike stores are also often being characterized as essential businesses and are remaining open. While you don’t want to go perusing in the store, you can call ahead or order online to make sure your equipment is ready to roll. For my Columbia area friends Outspokin Bicycles is an excellent option, as well as Carolina Triathlon in the Upstate.

Still open for business!

Lastly, make sure to check the forecast before heading out the door. I’ve started rides and runs in beautiful weather to only be stranded once the weather turned sour. I luckily followed my own advice today and rode inside, saving myself from a hail and thunder storm that popped up just an hour into my ride.

Pace Yourself

A lot of people have more time on their hands than usual right now, leading them to believe they have a ton of time to train. But even if you have the time, that doesn’t mean you’ll suddenly be able to jump from 5 hours of training a week to 20. To avoid injury or burn out after the first couple weeks, make sure to slowly build your volume in each sport. Running in particular is important to be smart with any mileage increases, as it can carry large risks of injury if things are ramped up too quickly. And even cycling can cause injuries or leave you overly fatigued if you overdo things.

Even if you don’t have any impending events, now may be a good time to look into hiring a coach. They can not only help you navigate this challenge in a smart way, but will help you build your fitness and navigate obstacles on your way to when races are back on the schedule. Even a smart training plan can be useful to keep you accountable and building appropriately.

Stay Healthy

One of the most important parts of a challenge like this is consistency. Meaning avoiding set backs such as sickness or injury. The main goal here is to make sure your immune system stays in tip top shape. There are a number of ways to go about this, including:

  • Following guidelines regarding the current pandemic put out by your local or federal government.
  • Not running yourself down with training, especially by avoiding excessive intensity that you aren’t used to.
  • Eating healthy foods and fueling workouts appropriately before, during, and after. Especially avoiding any fad diets that may leave you run down.
  • Getting plenty of sleep and recovering appropriately.
Try to avoid the Operating Room!

Have Fun

Remember, the most important part of this challenge is to enjoy yourself! Still getting to do what we love is fantastic, even if it’s in a slightly different format than normal. I hope to see a lot of friends competing and making the best of our current situation!

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