Did you find you didn’t like it as much as you thought you did with few races to focus on and (for long periods) no training partners?
Did you learn patience?
Did you experiment with different kinds of training?
Did you run more?
Did you run less?
Did you get faster, slower, or no change?
I am largely a former runner, and now Masters cyclist (MTB, CX and a bit of road). Interesting question-- I ended up doing more ‘steady’ training with lots of moderate to high volume weeks, and a good dose of intensity throughout the season. It was ‘nice’ in that I didn’t have to worry about resting for/ recovering for races, but also tough in that sometimes I would realize I had gone 3 months without taking a down week. I also found that not having a goal race took away the pressure from event specific sharpening. I still did alot of great training with faster riders, and got faster myself. I trained about the same amount as I did this year and the year prior but just in a different way.
Interesting. As a coach, the pandemic presented many challenges, one of which was periodization. Until they were gone, I didn’t realize quite how much the various racing seasons helped regulate periodization. In particular, I’d forgotten how important the cycle of emotional build and release around racing was in determining when to take breaks and switch up training stimuli. Otherwise, as you say, it was easy to lose track of the weeks and stretch out a training phase by several weeks! Unfortunately, the pandemic restrictions went on long enough that I was eventually able to sort things out— and even gains some insights in the process (one of which being that we can all afford to be more patient with the training process than we typically are).
Fortunately, with no racing, it was a low risk experiment for me. I shocked myself when I hopped on the trainer a week or so after the snow hit and did a fully rested workout at a much higher power than I had done in a long time. Opened my eyes to the general fatigue I had been carrying all season. I should add that as a Masters athlete whose competitive career is more or less complete, I consider any racing to be a ‘bonus’ or optional. I understand that lack of competition would have a MUCH more profound impact on developing athletes.