South African ultra-distance trail runner, Ryan Sandes, is used to being out in the mountains clocking in more than 140km per week – not being confined to his home during a pandemic lockdown. So what advice does this energiser bunny have for us mere mortals to keep fit and sane during the 21 day lockdown?
“I think the current uncertainty of what we are going through is what is really getting many people down at the moment. For active people, we don’t know what to do, we have no goals to work towards and absolutely nothing is definite. My job is running, and for the foreseeable future all of my big races have been cancelled and even my upcoming projects have been put on hold. I think it’s this uncertainty that is causing anxiety which can lead to not being motivated to train as you don’t know what you are training for.
One way to deal with this is to set loads of mini goals throughout the lockdown period, even if they are as small as trying to run 5km around your garden or climbing the steps to your front door a thousand times. Try to set these mini challenges either for each week or even for every 2nd day, to help keep you motivated and excited.
Literally, take it all just one step at a time. Try not to focus too far forward. See this time as an opportunity to spend quality time with your family, and get them to take part in your training activities. I have included my 3 year old son, Max, in my gym routine, especially in my strength training, he has loved being on my back as I do my bear crawls along the grass or squats whilst I hold him. He has really enjoyed being part of it.
At our house, I am trying to do as many repeats up and down stairs to our front door that I can. If you have weights you can include these in your activities, I have leg weights on my legs whilst working out which adds an extra dimension for me.
I am really trying to embrace this situation, and have realised that I am not going to be able to get into perfect shape during this time. I just need to do what I can do on a daily basis, whilst still keeping some form of structure, and accept that I have to drastically downscale everything. If before lockdown I was running 140km a week, I will now only get in roughly 60km a week (I have formed a running circuit around my garden and through my house). I am also working on doing extra strength and core work – things I sometimes don’t get the opportunity to work on as much I would like to. I am also doing some more barefoot running to help strengthen my feet.
I think one of the biggest lessons I have learnt is that I have to let go of those things I cannot control and focus only on what I can control, and just learn to be patient and happy.
To follow Ryan and see what he is getting up to over this time visit his Facebook Page @Ryan.Nicholas.Sandes, Twitter and Instagram account @RyanSandes.