Sept 2020: Let’s spring back into action

As we attempt to negotiate 2020, there is a ray or two of hope that sportsmen and women will be able to compete in some real races in the not too distant future.

Although there are still strict restrictions in place, approvals are starting to dribble through for cycling events while triathlon organisers are tentatively opening up entries, and of course there is no shortage of virtual events to ensure runners, cyclists and triathletes can at least look forward to some form of competition.

For many athletes September is traditionally the time to emerge from hibernation and spring into action. The longer days and warmer weather is a sign that it is time to dust off the training programmes and start working off the winter excesses.

Of course 2020 has been a bit different and a lot of athletes who do not normally take a winter layoff are coming out of hibernation and struggling to rediscover some fitness. For many, the enforced break could be a good thing as injuries have been given time to recover and, as long as the return to fitness is controlled, the resumption of exercise can be relatively pain free.

But what is a controlled return to exercise?

Here are a few rules and tips that apply both to the elite racer who is looking to return to PB-chasing form and the recreational jogger simply looking to shed a few winter kgs.

1) Start slowly. No, seriously, even slower than that. Don’t look to resume your training from the level you were at when you stopped. This is particularly true if you went into lockdown early this year and have not laced on running shoes, or stepped over a saddle, for over six months.

2) Give yourself a few realistic goals. Something medium term (like exercise three times a week) and something more long term (like complete your first 21km, or break x minutes for five kms in December). The key is being realistic in terms of both your ability and your return to fitness. Also, set definite goals. “Lose weight” or “get fit again” are too vague. Rather set milestones that you can work towards.

3) Don’t be lulled into unrealistic targets. Just because you entered a massive challenge on the back of six months intensive training, you do not have to take part in next month’s rescheduled event after you have spent six months lying on your couch. Ask to defer your entry until 2021 and give yourself a more realistic target.

4) Be (a bit) selfish. This is about you so make sure you make time for yourself, and also make it YOUR goal. If your mate is back running at a pace of 3:30mins per kilometres, don’t try and compete with him until you are ready.

5) Stick to a plan, even if it is Plan B. Try to do what you planned to do each day, but if life (as in sick children and work pressures) get in the way, then don’t panic. Be flexible and if you have to, adapt your plan by changing rest days. If that is also not an option, then try to even do a half session. A quick five km run in place of a 10km is better than 30 minutes spent on the couch.

6) Find a friend. Exercise with a partner is much more fun, and it is a lot harder to make excuses when somebody else is relying on you.

7) And finally, make sure you are enjoying it. Exercise should be fun and if you find the right workout then you will find it a lot easier to stick to your plan. Some people like the solitude of a long run, others prefer short, hard runs. Do what works for you, but remember that sometimes you may need to mix it up and do the workouts you do not like. The big enjoyment will come in achieving your goal.

This month we have resurrected our events calendar. Below are a few events that you may want to look at as potential goals on your road back to full fitness. You can find a longer list which is regularly updated at


01-30 Sep Trail Series Phantom Rally: Stage 3 Virtual Race Entries
More Info
12 Sep Significance Run Gauteng
12 Sep CIEL Ferney Trail Run Mauritius Entries
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14-20 Sep #celebrate40 Challenge Virtual Race Entries
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20 Sep The Peoples Triathlon E Cape Entries
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20 Sep Fast One MTB Gauteng Entries
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24 Sep FNB Joburg 10K CityRun Virtual Race Entries
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24 Sep FNB Durban 10K CityRun Virtual Race Entries
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24 Sep FNB Cape Town 10K CityRun Virtual Race Entries
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24 Sep Suit Up September Virtual Race More Info
26 Sep Spar Virtual Challenge Virtual Race Entries
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26 Sep MTN Botswana Independence Marathon Virtual Race
01-31 Oct Trail Series Phantom Rally: Stage 4 Virtual Race
02 Oct Ballito To Wine KZN
03 Oct Race to the Sun N West Entries
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04 Oct F1 Eduworks Virtual Race
04 Oct KZNDSR Big Walk Virtual Race
05 Oct Forest Hills Virtual Event Virtual Race
06 Oct Top Events Virtual Race Virtual Race
11 Oct The Sports Trust Virtual Cycle Challenge Virtual Race Entries
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11 Oct Fat Cats Virtual Race Entries
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01 Apr Inselelo Rainbow Challenge Running RESULTS HERE
01 Apr Inselelo Rainbow Challenge Cycling RESULTS HERE
10 May I RUN for Microcosmic Kitchen RESULTS HERE
23 May Sungardens Hospice Race of Hope RESULTS HERE
27 Jun Sungardens Hospice Race of Friendship RESULTS HERE
01-31 Jul Trail Series Phantom Rally: Stage 1 RESULTS HERE
14 Jul Springbok Vasbyt RESULTS HERE
18 Jul I RUN for families in need RESULTS HERE
01-31 Aug Trail Series Phantom Rally: Stage 2 RESULTS HERE
02-03 Aug Durban City Marathon RESULTS HERE
09 Aug Rentacolor & Terra MTB Challenge RESULTS HERE
16 Aug Ultra Unite RESULTS HERE
01-30 Sep Trail Series Phantom Rally: Stage 3 RESULTS HERE