1) This is the first and probably the most important tip. Try stay positive!
It’s only been a few days and already negativity has crept in all over the place. Being negative does not help and can cause a downward spiral that is hard to get out of. The situation is what it is, we cannot fix it and it’s likely to get worse over the next few weeks. Stay in close contact with the optimistic people you know and leverage off their good vibes. A winning attitude is contagious and far more infectious than coronavirus, so let’s spread positivity as best we can because we are all in this together.
2) Start each day with the ‘Morning Routine’ video I released.
You don’t need to do this exact routine – slight variations are just fine depending on where your weaknesses are. Make sure to spend more time on the areas you need to. Those 10-15 minutes are a lot easier to find now that we all have more time. Doing this ‘morning routine’ once off won’t help, however getting it done daily for a consistent period of time will make the world of difference to your running. Link is below;
3) Spending the majority of your time at home can make you lethargic. It is really important to get out there and get your runs done (while we still can).
No one knows what could happen over the next few weeks but for now we need to take advantage of the fact that we are still able to run outside (and the sun is making an appearance!). It’s been great to see more people than ever jogging around my local parks over the past few days. The endorphin release is definitely what we need at the moment. Do what it takes to release those endorphins and one always feels better after a run!
4) Run Solo. This virus is no joke and we need give ourselves the best possible shot of containing it.
I know it’s a lot easier and more enjoyable to run in a group, however during this time it’s not fair to yourself and to others to do so. All group sessions have stopped and running tracks have been closed in London. This just means that these interval/track sessions can be done on a nice, flat, fast, piece of road/grass. I’ll be doing my track training in my local park. There are big benefits to doing these sessions on grass as it’s softer on foot, which means there’s a lot less impact on your body. My advice is to get a good playlist going and try your best to take your mind off the current situation when you’re out on your run. Solo running is also great for developing that mental strength that we always need in the last 10km of a marathon.
5) Work on improving speed. Now is a great time to get that ‘Hot Spot’ time as quick as possible.
A ‘hot spot’ is a 1km pick up which is done in the middle of your run, preferably on a slight downhill, and as quickly as possible. For your time to improve at almost any targeted distance, your ‘hot spot’ is a key element to work on. From there you can build into a 3km, 5km, 10km and so on. It’s also a great idea to run your own time trial every week. I personally like doing a 5km or 8km fitness test and if you do this weekly, it’ll give you a good indication of where your fitness levels are and whether you’re making progress.
6) If you do have any serious niggles or running injuries, now is the time to get these sorted.
Depending on how severe your current niggles are, will determine the amount of time you need in order to fully recover. Taking 4-6 weeks off or occasionally running comfortably or easily is usually enough to get the body fully recovered and ready to go again. I personally have done a lot of racing this year and can feel my body needs to break down slightly before building up again. It’s just going to be predominantly easy running for me over the next few weeks before I’m ready to start with an ‘operation speed’ plan.
Things to do whilst at home
Invest in a turbo trainer.
First prize is to get a treadmill for home, however money doesn’t grow on trees and this isn’t exactly feasible to everyone. So the next best thing would be to invest in a turbo trainer. This is a piece of equipment that allows you to complete a focused training session on your bicycle, in the comfort of your home. There are a few programs/apps you can download but one of the more popular ones is the ‘Zwift’ app. It links up from your turbo trainer to your computer, iPhone, Apple TV, letting you ride with other cyclists in a virtual environment. Mine is getting delivered shortly, so let me know if you’re all set up and we can link up for sessions.
Extra Strength and Conditioning Work
Now that we’re not ‘emptying the tank’ on races, it allows us to increase the intensity and frequency of our strength and conditioning workouts. During peak marathon training it is so difficult to fit in quality strength and conditioning sessions. I find that if you push too hard in these sessions, your legs become too fatigued to hit the target running times over the following few days. Now is the time to do more strength work to give your body the fuel it needs to build muscles as well as recover. If you going to be doing extra strength work, like me, then I highly recommend increasing your protein intake that your body/muscles will require.
Do Yoga in your lounge by following YouTube videos online
One thing that’s helped me in achieving PBs has been the weekly yoga session I’ve started doing from the beginning of this year. It’s helped in two main areas; firstly, it’s improved my posture when I run (my back is a lot straighter and shoulders drawn back). Secondly, it’s increased my flexibility. Like I’ve said before, if your flexibility increases, then so does your stride distance. If your stride is longer by just 1cm, over a marathon that is a huge gain! There are some really good YouTube videos for all different levels of Yoga that can be done at home.
Lastly, stock up on healthy food for your fridge and reduce the amount of treats you have at home
If your discipline is anything like mine, if there’s a treat in your cupboard, you will eat it! Live by the theory, out of sight, out of mind. Stock up your fridge with as much healthy stuff as possible, especially fruit and veg that’s high in vitamin C. Also bear in mind that we don’t need to consume as much as we would under normal training conditions. Being as healthy as possible over the next few weeks will only make the return to full on training and racing a whole lot easier when it goes ahead again.
Most of all remember why we run;
Running is a gift and if you’re lucky enough to have the ability to run, be grateful and embrace it
It’s good for both physical and mental health.
It gives you an endorphin release like no other
Gets us out the house
Keeps us fit
Gives us goals to work towards
Allows us to help others
Clears the mind which is much needed during these times
Gives us the opportunity to run through some of the most beautiful cities in the world