Now that the entire world is in the process of taking a breather, so should we. Stop. Breathe and look at what we can do to maintain our health and fitness, as well as keep a positive attitude amidst all this turmoil and uncertainty. We asked our coach, Nick Bester, to give us his best running tips to stay fit and healthy during self-isolation. Here is what he had to say.
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.
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’ as a 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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
Since people’s health has been at risk we have seen an increase in the number of people running. We’re excited to see how the sport is growing during this time as well as seeing people’s appreciation for their own health develop. If you are a runner, keep running and keep positive! If you’re new to running, welcome! We look forward to a healthier, happier world once all this is over. We are in this together!
If you have any questions about upcoming travel or races and how the restrictions placed on these by various countries impact it as a result of the Coronavirus, please feel free to contact us on [email protected] or ring us on +44 1932 361807 (UK) +1 844 390 1798 (USA) +44 (0)7791360170 (Rob).
Nick is currently a 29-year old South African runner living in London where he’s been based for the last 3 years.
He initially got into running by committing to do the Comrades Marathon in 2014. After finishing in a time of 7h 14min and managing to get a silver medal in his first Comrades (down run), he wanted to train a little harder and have one more years’ experience to tackle the Comrades Marathon (up run). He took this challenge on and completed his second Comrades (up run) in a time of 6h 58min. The challenge wasn’t over and he knew he could get faster so he was back the following year (down run) and finished in a time of 6h 28min, finishing 73rd overall.
Comrades is in his blood and Nick is planning to be back to run the 100th year run in 2021. He has completed many other international marathons and is aiming for the Abbots Medal by completing all six majors.
His last 23 marathons have all been sub-3 hours with his most recent Berlin Marathon finish a very respectable 2h 29min. You can catch all his running tips and coaching insights right here on Africa Marathons or visit his website on Just a little Bester. He’s excited and looking forward to working with the Africa Marathons team on achieving each runner’s goals. Feel free to email him on [email protected].