Are you making these common training mistakes during lockdown?
Given we are halfway through lockdown 3, with lockdown rounds 1 and 2 behind us, many athletes whom I’ve spoken to have spent January making the same mistakes or brand-new ones. Note here though, mistakes are not all that bad; if you realise them before they become detrimental to your training and your health, you can learn a lot about yourself from them. So, embrace this article and see whether you can tweak some things in your training week, or at least be aware of these traps that are so easy to fall into.
Failing to plan is planning to fail
Without the commute to work, many people have found themselves with more time… much like lockdown 1 and 2. Perhaps think about how you could use this time to your advantage. Before COVID-19, athletes stuck to a plan. Now, because our known world continues to be up in the air, athletes don’t seem to have quite settled back into a routine. There are many coaches and organisations that will be happy to tell you that x is better than y, but at the end of the day, you need to find what works for you. Mixing up your workouts can be good for your body and your mind. Therefore, I’m not saying to have a strict routine that you follow to the ‘t’, nor do without a plan, but find a happy flexible medium in which your physical and mental state can thrive in this new world.
Not doing what’s best for your health regarding the ‘1 exercise per day rule’
Athletes seem to have evolved into one of three categories since Boris’ ‘1 exercise per day’ rule came into action:
- Strict 1 hour of exercising – despite there being no government guidelines in regard to allowed timing of exercise (you can exercise outside once a day, within your local area), some people minimise their risk by restricting themselves to 1 hour outside. If this makes you feel comfy, whilst also achieving your training, then go for it!
- Exercising once every day religiously – just because we are allowed by the government to exercise once per day, doesn’t mean you HAVE to! Remember your rest and recovery days are just as important, as well as the fact that a stroll around the block to get fresh air can also be just as useful for your mental health as that 5km run that’s on your training plan.
- Taking the chance when they need it – this category of lockdown athletes takes their time outside when they need it. They neither feel obligated to get fresh air nor put off by this once per day rule. These athletes find their exercise routine takes them to the turbo or a living room gym session several days a week.
Which of these categories do you fall into? Leave us a comment at the bottom of this blog or on social media!
Dismissing the water bottle
Many people take water bottles to work to help them stay hydrated and focused. Since more people are working from home, many are swapping the water bottle for glasses. Whilst the fact that you have your own glasses at home means there is nothing wrong with drinking out of a glass, many people report that a water bottle is more effective at keeping them hydrated. It is easier to track how much water you have drunk, and the fact that your water bottle has a larger volume than your glass means that filling it up feels like less of a chore.
Neglecting the strength work
With gyms closed, indoor PT sessions banned, and your favourite Wednesday night gym class postponed until after lockdown, you may have focused more of your training on cardio activities like running and cycling. Whilst these are great activities to keep fit, they won’t really help you build up your strength for race season or helping you towards that goal of yours. If you stop doing strength w
ork for as little as 3 weeks, you will notice your strength deteriorate and your muscles waste away. We recommend doing 2-3 strength workouts every week. That may sound a lot but these workouts don’t have to be long, they don’t have to be boring and they certainly don’t have to use fancy equipment! You just need to find what motivates you to get creative and do these strength workouts.
There is such a thing as too much too soon
In lockdown, it is so easy to set yourself unrealistic and high-level goals, to motivate yourself and get that sense of achievement. But it’s important to realise that you can do too much too soon. The physical stress that exercise puts on your body, as well as the mental stress that the ever-changing world potentially brings you day to day, can lead to you burning out. Therefore, acknowledge the place you are right now, the realistic aspirational place you want to be, and respect the *slow* process of getting there. Despite this, I am delighted to see that people are maintaining their regular exercise and the growth of the running community.
Forgetting the whole ‘recovery’ thing
For many athletes, recovery is built into their training routines, and they avoid the stage where they burnout so much they need a ‘reduced load’ week. However, lockdown seems to have given many people the gift of exercising regularly without interruptions. If you have noticed this, perhaps pay extra attention to your body, and realise when you are experiencing a drop in performance, or the feeling of being tired more frequently. If you are or do feel like, program in a recovery week of reduced load, reduced sessions and reduced intensity. Let yourself recover again and you’ll find yourself to be fitter and stronger because of it.
So, give these points some thought. Reflect honestly. Are you making, or heading towards, any mistakes? Use this time to self-improve as an athlete and come out of this lockdown stronger than the last 2.
Please like, comment and share this blog post if you found it useful! We’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences.
By Bronwyn Tagg