In an exclusive blog for Verve Cycling, Dame Sarah Storey talks about the postponement of Tokyo 2020 and how she is adapting her training.
Dame Sarah Storey will need to wait another year to compete in her eighth Paralympic Games, however she remains focused and motivated.
Sarah and her family are staying safe at home, but she’s still finding ways to keep up her training so she’s ready for the postponed Tokyo 2020.
In an exclusive blog for Verve Cycling, Sarah talks about the postponement and how she is adapting her training.
On 1st March, I returned to the UK after my first big road camp of the final build up to Tokyo. The track worlds at the end of January had gone to plan and in my pursuit final I made the catch at half distance well under world record pace.
It’s amazing how so much can change in a month and now the whole world has much more important things than sport to win a battle against. The acceleration of the COVID-19 pandemic in Europe has seen major changes to the way we are all living and with much of the sporting calendar cancelled or postponed for the next three months, it was inevitable that Tokyo 2020 would need a plan B too.
I was lucky to get one race under my belt before the cancellations and lucky again that here in the UK taking one form of exercise a day is still a permitted reason to leave the house. Whilst my plan for this block of training had been to develop my power in the short time trials, I have made some significant adjustments to ensure my health and immunity are prioritised.
At the end of next year I’ll celebrate my 30th anniversary as an international athlete and there have been some significant challenges during my career. What’s different this time is that the challenge affects every athlete across the world and recalibration is now required to ensure optimal performance of our current Paralympic cycle which now occurs 12 months later than planned.
I’m quite used to training to a moving target and an unknown end point is something other Athlete Mums can probably identify with too. Throughout my pregnancies I didn’t know exactly when my first race back might be and I was training with the focus of maximising health and minimising the chance of complications. I’ve always trained to power data alongside my own ‘feel’ as an athlete. I think they are powerful tools that complement each other well, so I’m adopting the same approach now.
My road rides are around a couple of hours each day or if the weather is bad I’ll be on the turbo. Apart from picking up an illness, now isn’t the time to risk sliding off in the wet. I’m definitely riding slower on descents too and making sure I’m very careful to not take unnecessary risks.
Whatever the date that is published for the postponed 2020 Games, I’ll be ready and raring to try and get selected. Tokyo could be my eighth Paralympic Games and as a family we have been building towards the culmination of another brilliant four years since Rio. The fact it’s now going to be a year later just adds to my motivation to make it happen. My motivation is borne out of a desire to find the very best performances I can, the buzz of building up to a race day, like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle gradually fitting together, as the journey progresses. Of course we are still missing a few pieces right now, but the uncertainty of dates and new qualification criteria is out of my hands. I’m fortunate to have an incredibly supportive family and strong team around me and will always rise to follow the Storey Racing motto #BestVersionOfYou.