top of page
  • Writer's pictureJohn Hamlett


Training in lockdown - the additive to your programme that could be a blessing when you can get back to racing. Read below.

As we all know - 2020 has designed or engineered a new normal - virtual runs earlier in lockdown, limited runs around our gardens and complexes - this was met with the true South African attitude of adapt and keep going - in this blog I want to chat about what this could add to your future running in spite of covert.

Firstly in lockdown - introspecting and deep self-evaluation occurred with most runners - as we often do this when on our own silent runs this pandemic now changed the pace we live at and demanded that we revisit our priorities and this certainly has happened with many of the athletes I coach.

First point was - What now? No races, no measure of self, no motivation to keep going, this was certainly part of what was running around many athletes heads after the first “phase” of shutdown, however this thinking soon turned into something incredible - much like the decisions we made when we first decided to run Comrades or a marathon - it was a deep felt decision to continue improving and preparing in-spite of all obstacles - just as is experienced in any marathon - we consciously decide to do what will make us succeed. So, this blog is my thoughts on how to become a better and totally balanced athlete in this time using this time not as one of waiting, but rather one of improving the facets of yourself most needing correction or improvement in your running - particularly those parts of training which cannot truly be corrected while racing on most weekends.

And here it comes - strength training – no, not gym or the definition we understand but making you that stronger more effective running machine you always wanted to be.


I first now need to clarify a few things about strength - strength is specific to the movement - in other words you will not get the best running strength improvement by swimming or for example in the gym - but rather by gaining strength in the actual movement of running and this is usually done in two ways with runners.

The first way is to do hill training.

This requires repeats of hills at different distances at sub optimum or close to optimum effort, this would certainly require recovery times so the quality could be sustained to get the best return or results of each repetition or set.

The second way is by doing steps -this much like hills however with the effect of lifting the leg higher than say road running.

Hill training or step training requires time to improve and adapt without expecting to excel while getting stronger - in other words doing hill training when you cannot race or when performance is critical or important. That sounds similar where we find ourselves right now, no real races and plenty of time to work those specific groups of muscles which we require to grow and strengthen without worrying about upcoming races etc.

A point to remember is strength is one facet of running that should be done at optimum race type pace to get the idea effect and power growth you are looking for, while addressing the added requirement for muscle improvement i.e. feeding the muscles, the correct nutrition to help the growth of those muscles stimulated to produce optimum power output when needed within the specific range you run at - while ensuring ideal body composition is maintained.

Sounds simple - however the science is way more complex than these few words in a blog,

- ideal body composition for the movement you do

- optimum power output

- correct nutrition

- strength specific training within the ideal range to get the best return from this harder than hard work.

So, it would be smart to add this strength training into your weekly programme especially at a time where competing is a no no and where recovery could be done irrespective of time.

Just a tip on hills compared to steps - I personally do not like doing things that artificially change the way I run in a race compared to others - steps tends to do so, but doing steps would benefit most athletes especially if they have never done strength training or would certainly be a plus for your running programme to address the strength facet of training.

Enjoy this time we have been given to build more strength in your running.

Yours in running

John Hamlett


39 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page