Training at home is not ideal but so convenient, says runner

Cyclist Mirsab Jordan. Picture: Lonwabo Marele
Dealing with a fridge filled with food and countless WhatsApp messages from friends, can be a distraction during this period of self-isolation and lockdown.

But, if like star UWC long-distance, runner, Ruchen Blaauw, 18, you have specific goals in mind, there’s no need to shut down while locked down. The runner from Eersterivier in Kleinvlei, says training at home, without a coach keeping tabs, can be tough, but it is doable.

“The worst part of training at home is firstly the space. In my case, it is not big enough for me to do all the stuff I need to. And then also the distractions. It’s very hard to stay disciplined.

“You don’t have to go anywhere, you can do it at home. 

“You can also be creative and do your training with literally anything available,” he said.

Blaauw, made the provincial under-20 1500m and 3000m team again this year after clocking the qualifying time at the Parow Athletics Track last month.

An economic development student, the UWC athlete was gearing up to represent WP at the national championships, in Paarl, this month.

However, all sports events were postponed after President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the 21-day lockdown to curb the spread of Covid-19.

Blaauw, an aspiring teacher, said one of his biggest ambitions is to represent South Africa at the Olympic Games or any other international athletic events.

For now, like everyone else, he’s had to put his plans on hold, but remains optimistic.

“I think the lockdown is really helpful in terms of stopping the spread of the virus. Even though for some of us especially athletes it’s very difficult during the lockdown period in terms of training.

“At the moment I’m unable to do some proper training and therefore cannot prepare for SA junior champs. I do some stretching and strength training to keep myself active and to make myself mentally stronger,” said Blaauw.

He’s not the only one putting his time, space and place to good use. Promising cyclist, Mirsab Jordan, 19, from Pelican Park is using his father’s garage as a makeshift bike training centre for his cycling schedule. The top-ranked junior provincial and national cyclist was a part of the team that represented the country at the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) Junior Track Cycling Championships in Germany last year.

He bagged a number of under-16 and under-19 track podium finishes, including a silver medal at the African continental champs early last year. He said it was a brave but very convenient decision for Western Province Cycling to cancel all cycling events during the lockdown, to encourage social distancing and a safe environment.

“The experience of the lockdown is definitely something different considering that I’m used to being on the track and on the road every day. And you have to adapt to it as well. 

“We just have to suck it up and make the best of it,” he said.

The young runner said there are many ways athletes and non-athletes can stay active, but the bare minimum would be the stretching.