Lockdown – A new training routine

Apr 15, 2020

Runner doing strength training

We find ourselves in strange circumstances in the midst of a lockdown. This complete restriction of movement is an irony for runners, as running is all about continuous movement. A few weeks ago we were talking about Comrades preparation, now we are facing uncertain times not knowing if Comrades will even take place.

As disheartening as it seems, it’s not all doom and gloom. Lockdown gives us the opportunity to focus on those little details that can positively influence our running but we bypass due to time constraints, lack of knowledge or added training routines that we would normally deem unnecessary. My suggestion would be to treat the remainder of lockdown like an off-season period where you lay off the mileage and focus on conditioning. This is a great time to perform the little things that will improve your performance as a runner, help you become stronger, prevent injury and prepare your body for when you can hit the road again.

I have only been able to run in my car park and I have been focusing on breathing methods to work out how I can better my oxygen intake and finish my session less fatigued.

Having a routine during this time really helps and the below routine will not only provide structure to your day but also condition you to come out of the lockdown primed to run. The routine is broken into 3 parts throughout the day. I suggest you get up early and do big a strength session. Most people do not have weights, so focus on exercises that use resistance bands or bodyweight which will build strength but not bulk. You have the rest of the morning to work or spend time with your family before squeezing in a short technical session before lunch, leaving you with the afternoon to continue working or catch up on whatever you need to before performing a 3rd training session in the day.

Follow the below breakdown for the next few weeks to ensure you cover all the main muscle groups, giving you a great base when you come out of the lockdown. The sessions are short so recovery is quick. You’ll find further explanations at the end.

Morning (30-40 min) Before lunch (25-40 min) Late afternoon (20-30 min)
DAY 1: Leg strength session 25-30min core Upper body stretch
DAY 2: Chest and Abs 35-40min cadence and speed 20min HIIT session
DAY 3: Breathing exercises &  Yoga/meditation Back strength ex. Lower body stretch
DAY 4: Arms & Shoulders Mobility and core HIIT- vertical jumps
DAY 5: Glutes and lower leg Steps or a bank Stretch or yoga
DAY 6: Compound exercises ABS & Hip flexors HIIT- horizontal jumps

The reason I advise conditioning rather than running is due to the negative impact of running in confined spaces. I have experienced that it has an adverse effect on your ankles and knees, causing strain in the Achilles tendon, Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) and torsion of the Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL). It is observed to cause imbalances and wear and tear of your hip joints. If you feel you prefer cardio, due to the circumstances it is safer to skip or use a stationary cycle.

The above advised routine, aside from improving your running, will counter the sedentary habits you may be developing, improve your overall vitality and your mental health by giving you a sense of accomplishment as feel yourself getting stronger and fitter. You can even get the kids involved.

Exercise explanations

Cadence and speed drill examples:


  • Lunge jumps x 10 each leg
  • Split jumps x 10 each leg
  • 3m sprints x 15 (mark 3m between 2 points, run and turn between the points, back and forth = 1 rep)
  • Mountain climbers x 30 seconds


  • 5m sprints x 20 (try improve your time)
  • High knee hops x 20 each leg
  • High knee forward and side high knee x 15 each leg

Compound exercises

These work more than one muscle group at a time. Examples include:

  • Air squats
  • Lunge and twist
  • Commandos
  • Push-ups
  • Plank
  • Ab bicycles

High Intensity Interval training (HIIT)

Routine 1

  • Double arm battle ropes x 45 seconds (we used two old sheets tied together as ropes, but you could use an old hose or see what else you have at home to mimic the movement)
  • Bridges x 10
  • Burpees x 20
  • Walking lunges x 20 each leg 

Routine 2

  • Burpees x 15
  • Bridging knee to chest x 15 each leg (Hold one knee to your chest)
  • Bear crawl x 45 sec
  • Side-lying abduction x 20 each leg

Routine 3

  • Speed skaters x 40 seconds
  • Star jumps x 20
  • Side-lying adduction x 20 each leg,
  • Mountain climbers x 1 minute as fast as you can

HIIT Vertical jumps:

  • Single leg jumps as high as you can x 10 on each leg
  • Double leg jumps x 10
  • Jumping squats x 10
  • Single hops up a step x 5 on each leg
  • Frog jumps x 10

HIIT Horizontal jumps:

  • Broad jumps (aim for 1m) x 15
  • Single leg broad jumps x 7 each leg
  • Broad jumps as far as you can x 10
  • Side jumps x 8 each side
  • Single leg reverse broad jumps x 7 each leg (jumping backwards)

Steps or bank

If you have steps at home do a step session which involves jogging up the steps, striding up the steps or sprinting up the stairs. If you do not have stairs, find an incline or you can mix the jump sessions.

Sumeshen Moodley

Sumeshen is a qualified physiotherapist in Durban who has worked with numerous international sports teams and athletes. He is passionate about running and has a special interest in human movement and biomechanics to optimise athletic/sport performance. Find out more about Sumeshen here

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