The legs of Christiaan Greyling, powering through the halfway point during the Otter 2017. He won the race.    (Photo credit: Jeff Ayliffe)

Five weeks of lockdown has affected more than our wallets, our waistlines and our willingness to be indoors, it has also whacked our fitness. We’ve all been gagging for Friday 1st May, being allowed to bust out of home-captivity, even if we’re not allowed to hit the trails for real. Hey, even tar will do!

But we’d be wise to exercise a generous dose of caution in the first few weeks of our unlocked running, as it’s more than our brains that haven’t been at work for weeks, it’s our running bodies. As much as we like to believe we can easily bounce back to the fitness we were at in the third week of March, it’s not quite that simple – like everything that’s good, retraining after detraining requires planning and patience.

As a coach I’ve been kept busy during lockdown finding creating ways for my runners to keep relatively fit and, of course, injury-free. Now, as we’re set relatively free to exercise (well, at least for three hours a day), we need to be cognisant of the risks of doing too much, too soon.

Click on the link below for some guidelines on how to carefully retrieve lost fitness after five weeks of relative confinement:


And to keep us all inspired, the legs sprinting across the photo in the featured image at the top of this post are those of the incredible Marc Lauenstein, as he ran across the floating bridge just seconds before finishing the 2015 Otter Run to achieve the first ever sub-4 hour Otter (03:59:29)!   (photo credit:  Jeff Ayliffe)