Squamish's elite athletes adapt their training to COVID-19 era | Squamish Chief

Squamish's elite athletes adapt their training to COVID-19 era

UFC fighter Cole Smith and pro mountain biker Miranda Miller share their new workouts

Some of Squamish's elite athletes are finding new ways to train in the COVID-19 era, which has caused massive disruptions to sporting events around the world.

For both professional mountain biker Miranda Miller and UFC fighter Cole Smith, the pandemic has caused their sporting seasons to come to a premature end.

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The UFC has put a stop to its fights, and the mountain biking season has seen upcoming events cancelled. While some riding events scheduled for later in the year haven't been shut down, it's still uncertain as to whether they will ultimately go ahead.

In the case of Miller, she says she's nevertheless finding ways to keep on top of her game, despite the limitations that the pandemic has imposed.

 

"I've kind of changed my approach to focusing on 2021, and anything that happens kind of between now and the first race in 2021 is a bonus," she said.

"Training is definitely a bit weird now that all the races aren't really your goals anymore."

Miller said she's decreased the amount of riding she's doing, and that she's adapted her biking style to mitigate risk as much as possible.

"Mountain biking is my job, so everyone's perception of risk is different," she said. "I'm still comfortable to go ride, but that doesn't mean that accidents don't happen. But I'm definitely more mindful of my actions."

She said that she's now focusing more on home-based activities.

For example, Miller's putting in more time running and has been lifting weights.

With respect to riding, it's still possible to hone your skills even if you're not out on the trails, she said.

"A lot of people are almost like taking it back to the basics sort of thing," said Miller.

"Even if you just set up... something like a cone slalom where you practice your body positioning, line of sight. Practice weird little flat ground skills like nose-pivots and stuff that do transfer over onto more technical trail riding. That's like a pretty easy way. You know, practice wheelies, manuals, things like that. That's all super low-risk and actually is a useful skill that translates over to your riding."

She said it's also been a good time to work on her bikes. She's taking them apart and cleaning them.

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

We came out here with a task to complete; to kick someone’s ass. Tristan wouldn’t stop until he was done his job. He refused to let anything get to him. He wasnt letting shit effect this fight; New opponent... new location, even a fucking pandemic wasn’t gonna stop this guy. He offered to fight at 170lbs on a weeks notice. Even a 0.1% chance of fighting was worth the risk of not being able to come home for months. It was a risk we were willing to take if it ment the fight would go on. Tristan’s a dog who won’t quit. Respect to The Boondock 🇨🇦 @mmatristan - - #theboondock #ufc #neverquit #lasvegas #wontstop #manonamission #corona #virus #dogonabone #mma #bellator #kickboxing

A post shared by Cole (@thecoletrain01) on

In Smith's case, he had a front-row seat to the effects of the pandemic.

The athlete was in Las Vegas in March, around the time the NBA had announced it would shut down the season due to the disease.

"Like, 'Holy — man this is getting serious,'" he said, recounting his reaction when he heard the news.

At the time he heard the announcement, he was on an exercise bike at the UFC Performance Institute. Smith was there as a cornerman to support his fellow teammate and UFC fighter, Tristan Connelly, who was scheduled to fight.

They were then faced with the decision of staying for the event and risking getting stuck in the U.S. or leaving early and being able to make it back to Canada.

But the decision soon made itself apparent. The UFC announced the fight was off and Smith and his teammate soon found themselves on a plane back to Canada.

As a result, Smith has just finished up his 14-day self-quarantine.

To stay in shape, the fighter has had to adapt.

Martial arts often require sparring partners, but he's had to make do without that.

"I have been keeping busy, but I'm starting to get antsy," said Smith.

He's been hitting a punching bag and doing some padwork with his brother and coach, Kasey.

"I can smash that a little bit. It's not terrible. I'm not super ultra-aggressive where I need to be punching... people all of the time," Smith joked.

Smith has also taken the opportunity to work on his cardio, doing a lot of running up and down hills. His gym, The Sound Martial Arts, has also challenged everyone to post their best five-kilometre run times and has been posting workout routines online. Smith's also broken out the road bike for some longer trips.

While these workouts aren't necessarily the best, Smith notes that staying in shape, and in "fighting shape" are two very different things.

With no matches on the horizon, it's not vital to maintain peak fitness, but maintenance is certainly required, he said.

When it comes to training hardware, Smith has been using an agility ladder, a kettlebell, free weights and a medicine ball. He does a circuit, which consists of sprints, plus sets on the weights and equipment.

He'll finish off with several rounds of shadow boxing, plus skipping and stretches.

Smith says a good way to maintain some level of fitness is to do a consistent circuit that gets the heart rate up.

"The easiest is running. That's the most basic thing. But if you could set up some sort of circuit... then you can do 10 pushups, 10 jumping jacks. I like to get the lungs going," said Smith.

"Go for a real run."
 

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