Don't be tempted to go into overdrive at a time when you need to be looking after yourself...

It may seem like a juxtaposition to include overtraining and lockdown in the same sentence, but it’s a very real possibility right now. At time of writing, we are still allowed outside to exercise once per day in the UK and I am sure we can all attest to the benefits of vitamin D and fresh air during this otherwise challenging time. There’s also a plethora of high quality online fitness content readily available to tempt us too.

For those of us who have had an unhealthy relationship with over training and eating disorders in the past, it’s time to become a little more vigilant whilst we enter this peculiar period of being time-rich and without some of our usual constraints.

I write this from experience; my relationship with running has been an interesting one over the years, and has included many self-destructive years too. I know that for my own physical and mental health, running every day isn’t helpful to me – in healthier non-COVID-19 times, I would run four times per week and strength train at least once per week, and this is more than enough to see me PB in races and frequently end up on the podium, or at least top 10 ladies.

However in the first week of working from home during lockdown, and in combination with the glorious weather we simultaneously experienced in the UK, I found myself suddenly running every single day, and guess what? My body hated it. On day 7, throughout the entire run I felt fatigued (which I had started to feel in previous sessions) and in the last two miles, every step I was taking made my shins hurt….as soon as I started feeling that pain, I knew I was verging on dangerous territory and needed to reassess what I was doing to stop myself getting carried away with this new found freedom.

I’ve found that the way to make this work for me so that I can avoid overtraining is to come up with some rules to follow during lockdown; of course, I’m expecting that at some point we will no longer be allowed to exercise outdoors, but until that point these are the rules that I’ll be following:

Hopefully some of these ‘rules’ will be helpful for others who have a similar mind-set when it comes to exercise and training. Remember it is absolutely vital to fuel for any increase in activity, and is particularly important to make sure you are eating plenty of nutrient rich food at the moment (including lots of carbohydrate!) to keep yourself fit and healthy.

written by

Victoria Stears

Head of Global Marketing - Sports/Education Sector from London

Age group: 34

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