Pro triathlete Sam Appleton started the 2020 season in fine style as he finished a narrow second at IM 70.3 Geelong in February and the Australian was looking forward to another superb 12 months of racing.

Having won two half-distance races and finished in the top-10 of the IM 70.3 World Championships last year, Sam could be forgiven for thinking that there were bigger and better things to come this year.

Hopefully there still will be more racing and success to enjoy in 2020 but, for now, the shutdown caused by the coronavirus situation has meant he has had to realign his hopes for the season pretty swiftly.

In an interview with Precision Hydration, Sam said, "Fortunately, I was able to race early and race quite well. Things were on track for a good season, but it all escalated so quickly.

"I was a bit of a sceptic early on as I thought things would pass and it would be fine, but it wasn't until I got back to the US that you'd wake up each day to new developments. It's amazing how quickly it's taken hold of the whole world."

So, how does the lack of racing, social distancing and lockdown guidelines affect the Australian, who lives and trains in Boulder, Colorado?

"I've pulled my training back a bit because I don't see the value in training really hard when I don't know when I'm going to race next. So I'm trying to keep the mental strain of training at a nice, even level.

"Once the racing does resume, hopefully sooner rather than later, I'll be looking to ramp up the training."

And how will Sam make sure he's race-sharp and ready when the season does eventually get started?

"We might not be racing for a few months, so if you're training really hard it can be difficult to stay motivated.

"For someone like me, I prefer a shorter, more intense build-up. I find it hard to stay at a high level for months and months. If I'm training really hard and I don't race until August or September, then I might find my level drops.

"So, I'm trying to keep myself in check a little bit."

You might imagine the lack of pool access and swimming would mean Sam has dialled those hours back considerably, but he's still packing them in.

"Hours-wise, I'd hazard a guess at around 20 hours a week. It's not huge, but it's still quite a bit. I'm doing two sessions a day, sometimes three. Because I'm not swimming, there will be days of double-rides or double-run days.

"A lot of it is for sanity as well. It's not all about fitness. It's about keeping a rhythm and keeping a purpose to your days. I love the quote: "mood follows action".

If you wake up and you have a plan, it gives you that routine. But if you wake up and think 'what should I do today?'... although I've had those days too, don't get me wrong."

Outside of triathlon, Sam is a big fan of craft beers and computer games, so the lockdown hasn't been all bad for him on a personal level - "the uncertainty with the season means I don't mind having a drink or two over dinner" - although he had one glass of wine too many the night before we chatted to him.

"We were playing some puzzles and board games last night and had a little bit too much wine. I woke up a little bit 'dusty' this morning. It's only 1 o'clock here in Boulder so I may have to wait a couple of hours before I crack my first beer". 

We've heard a PH 1500 the morning after can help fix that hangover, Sam. Not that we'd know anything about that...