tips to keep injury free

Level 4 Lock Down Tomorrow

South Africa has been on full lock down since Thursday 26th March 2020 due to the coronavirus. Tomorrow, we move to Level 4 which allows a bit more freedom in some areas. We are now able to exercise outside between 6 am – 9 am within a 5 km radius of our home. A mask/ buff is compulsory (covering your nose and mouth) and no groups allowed. Here is a really great map which can show you your 5 km radius from your home. Click HERE to access it.

tips to keep injury free

What I’ve been up to in Lock down

There have been some great analogies out there. Some saying we are not in the same boat…but in the same sea…which I think is a pretty good description. I have been blown away by the South African spirit! We go on full lock down. Races cancelled. Stay at home. So what do we do?

We make a plan!

Virtual races. Regular virtual exercise classes. Supporting each other. Raising money for charities and those in desperate need for basics like food. So motivational.

I got up to a number of things. I have a pretty big garden – managed a 120 metre garden trail loop – so regularly ran in the garden. I also have 2 kids who have kept me on my toes and some great time spent doing some home DIY and tidying. Pretty chuffed with our bedroom door which I decorated!

tips to keep injury free

Shout out to a few inspirational people

Virtual Gym

I have been BLOWN away by the amazing talent that has been shared especially over this lock down period. I have been doing three different gym sessions with various people and they are all incredible.

Core Junction and Fitness is my amazing friend and colleague Kym. She will always give you a challenge and her routines are varied and aim at every area of the body. Check her out on Instagram or Facebook.

One of my fellow Balega Impi’s, Sharon Tait Jessop, runs Iron Angels and does the most intense exercises through Facebook Live. Her energy is contagious. She is also passionate about raising money for various organisations and ran a MARATHON in her garden! Here is her website to find out more info.

Coach Neville has been a very creative, inspiring coach at this rather unusual time. One of the (many) things he has challenged us with is a 3 times weekly 30 minute strength session with one of his elite athletes, Deborah O’Mahoney. Who knew so much could fit into such a short time!!! (BTW Debbie took part in the virtual Ultra Trail Drakensberg…165 km later in her garden making a 200 km week!!!)

tips to keep injury free

Virtual Races

KZNTR Garden Series

Our first Sunday, KZN Trail Running started a Garden Series which lasted 5 weeks.


They wanted to inspire and help keep us motivated. Additionally, they made the option for us to assist the Inanda Trail Club as they are in desperate need of food for their members. What a great initiative and fun time. I decided to do a different prize for each week – see below – and then our fifth week the theme was “express yourself”. I did a little appreciation rap. Take a look.

tips to keep injury free

Ultra – Trail Drakensburg (UTD)

UTD also put on a virtual race. Personalised race numbers, 10 percent of the original distances, prizes, competition, race talk and prize giving. They have raised, last I heard, almost R100 000 for the 2 charities which they support. What a brilliant way to bring everyone together!

Garden Trails to Road Running

Tips to keep you injury free

We have now gone from 5 weeks of various forms of exercise, or not, and are now allowed to go onto the open road (within the guidelines – see above). Here are a few key points to keep in mind when you get back to your running routine:

  • Take it easy. Go out, turn your watch on, but don’t look at it. Run based on how you FEEL for the first few days.
  • Be kind to yourself. We all have had different opportunities or motivation to exercise over the past 5 weeks. Give yourself time to get back into your running.
  • Warm up. Take the first kilometre of your run to warm up slowly, then get into your normal rhythm.
  • Watch your LOAD. LOAD is the amount of exercise you do in a week. If you have done more gym/ strengthening exercises in the lock down compared to pre – lock down, then you will need to balance this with your increased running load.
    • My example. Pre – lock down I would gym twice a week. Run 3 to 4 times weekly. In Lock down I would gym 4 times a week and run 2 to 3 times a week. Now I am planning on continuing with gym 2 to 3 times a week and increasing my running slowly to 4 to 5 times a week.
  • Set Goals. It is hard with the uncertainty of races. I am aiming for Monties in August (a 50 km trail run). I have also entered the Kaapsehoop Marathon in November. For me, I like to work towards a race or goal. Your goal may even be a certain speed or distance in a certain time.
  • Be Cautious with hill and speed work early on. Give yourself 1 to 2 weeks to adjust back into road running. For most of us we have had the uneven, curly wurly gardens, treadmills or a steep driveway to contend with. Allow your body time to adjust to the road, THEN plan for your hill and speed work sessions.
  • Niggles may appear. Try and recognise if it is a niggle because you are unfit and not used to the road, or if it is a start of an injury type niggle. What is the difference? Ease off on your pace, cool down properly after your run, and see how you are the next day. If it has eased and you are able to run, go for it. If it is the same or worsening, perhaps cross train and try a day later. If no change or worsening, contact a physio.
  • Enjoy yourself. 

Below is my little self – initiated project I did for Balega mostly during lock down. I had to disguise my garden in about 6 shots…but great fun to do and I learnt about the different types of socks. My brother, Brett Fish Anderson, is the lyricist!