Get fit, stay strong: planning and maintenance

Make a plan

Runners love a bit of structure and a definite plan to their week. The key is, says chartered Sports Psychologist Dr Josephine Perry “we need to acknowledge that we’ve missed out on stuff, the plans we’ve made have changed, and it’s absolutely ok to be really upset. It’s ok to throw your toys out of the pram and sulk about it for a day or two, but then get into proactive mode, and start making a plan.”

So, now is the time to get yourself in gear and we’re here to help. But while there’s no question being fit helps in all sorts of ways, you do not need to go mad and train like never before because you have all this spare time!

“What tends to help most runners is having some kind of plan; it’s about setting goals but also being realistic about what’s possible at the moment. Don’t do anything that’s going to reduce your immunity.”

It’s all about maintenance

“There’s no doubt a sensible amount of running is good for your heart and lungs,” says John Brewer, Professor of Sports Science and Exercise at the University of Suffolk. “But you mustn’t use this time to do more than you have before,” he confirms. “High intensity work that you’re not used to will actually suppress your immune system and can cause upper respiratory infection, not good! Similarly, large volumes of work can also cause issues, so it’s all about maintaining where you are.”

Work constructively on your weaknesses, rather than try to train harder than usual. And for good reason; science says that’s the best thing to do for mental as well as physical reasons. When you’re working on something that you have low confidence in, or you’re not very good at, you can improve quite quickly, and when we find ourselves improving our brain releases a chemical called dopamine which is our reward-chemical – it gives us a little bit of a buzz every time we improve, so when we’re trapped inside and we can’t do what we normally do it’s a really nice way to make ourselves feel good.