Training during lockdown: Anne Rees
30 April 2020 a 9:43AM
Background: Having trained in a variety of sports at a young age I continued my passion for fitness and physical activity into my adult life and continue to prioritise it, fitting it alongside my career and personal life.
This meant that when gyms and training facilities began to shut, and we entered this isolation period I was worried for both my physical and mental health. It turns out however this sudden life change has given me the opportunity to break previous habits and, in honesty, I’ve not felt this fit in a long time [running my first sub-45 min 10km!]. I’ve outlined below the key ways I have adapted my training and talked through the benefits of this, for me personally. I hope that readers can take inspiration for their own training, be encouraged to mix up their current exercise programme or simply to evidence that you can re-frame the current situation into a positive opportunity.
Timing of workout
Before: I always trained in the morning as this best fitted my schedule. It meant, however, often training in a fasted and energy deprived state with no time for mental preparedness. Occasionally, if not busy at work, I’d also do a quick lunchtime session for 30 minutes.
Now: I still enjoy training in the morning but now, with no commute, it’s far more leisurely. I even have time for a quick peanut butter on rice cake, or handful of nuts before starting – which has made all the difference when lagging energy – and am able to take some time to mentally waken up before beginning. I’m also able to do small bursts throughout the day e.g. a 20 min stretch mid-morning or 15 min abs in the afternoon.
Length of workout
Before: I’d be in the office between 08:30 – 08:45 am, which meant being up at 06:00am. My workout would typically last 45-60 minutes, depending on where and what I was doing. At lunch it would never be more than 30 minutes.
Now: Despite believing I’d struggle to workout in isolation, my workout length has increased! Without the usual pressure of daily life, I haven’t had to cap my sessions…if I want to do an extra set or extra mile or even have some extra rest mid-training I can. This has meant training not just a little harder but also smarter.
Type of workout
Before: Always a mix – some cardio, some weights, some high intensity, with the odd long run or long cycle. Often these sessions would depend upon how I felt that day and any short or long terms goals I had. My favourite session would usually be a short run to the gym, as warm up, 20 minutes high intensity and then 3-4 strength exercises.
Now: I do miss the gym and the above session but with the current lack of facility and equipment access I’m remembering my love for other types of training e.g. hill sprints, body weight conditioning with longer time under tension and yoga. I’m enjoying these new challenges and have found it very engaging, which helps me stay motivated each day!
Everyone is currently in their own unique situation and some of us may not find our physical activity habits affected, however many of us will. I hope the above has shown you that these changes to your routines don’t have to be negative but can benefit you.
Now is the perfect time to embrace change, try a new activity or routine! A great one, if you have little space, is to use this time to better your flexibility and do some good rehab – when you can then get back to your full training you’ll be more robust and ready to go.
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