Quarantine routines: Ultramarathon runner Ryan Sandes

South African Ryan Sandes is one of the best-known ultra runners in the world. He's had great success running up and down mountains and was the first person to win an ultramarathon on each continent. Recently, during the COVID-19 pandemic, Sandes got a bit stir crazy and decided to run 100 miles around his house, with a little help from his kid. Check the video, it's fun.

We checked in with Sandes to find out his quarantine routine, the second in our series:

Where are you isolating? 

I am isolating at home in Cape Town, South Africa with my wife Vanessa and son Max

How's it going? 

We had five weeks of not being allowed to leave home, even to exercise. It was really tough as I am used to spending lots of time running out in the mountains but the positive was that I got to spend lots of quality time with my family. Two days ago our lockdown has been eased and we are allowed to exercise for three hours in the morning within five kilometres from home. My first run felt so good! 

What are you looking forward to most when you are able to move around more and start getting back to normal?

I have really missed the outdoors and can't wait to do a long run in the mountains or go for a swim in the ocean. I have really missed going on impromptu micro-adventures with my friends.

What is your current fitness routine?

During the lockdown, I have not been able to do much running as we have not been allowed to leave home. I did a bit of daily barefoot running on my front lawn and then about four kilometres of 110-metre laps around my home. The one day I did go big and run 100 miles around my home!


A post shared by R Y A N S A N D E S (@ryansandes) on Apr 19, 2020 at 5:59am PDT

I have mainly focused on strength work. Three to four times a week I have been doing strength and mobility sessions on Zoom with my coach. This includes lots of mobility and dynamic strength work like drills up and down my front entrance steps. I think doing a good block of strength training will be really beneficial for when I can get out into the mountains again.

Check out this video for some ideas.


A post shared by R Y A N S A N D E S (@ryansandes) on Apr 3, 2020 at 8:32am PDT

 And how are you managing your nutrition in quarantine?

I am not overly strict with my diet. I make sure I eat clean and healthy whole foods and go according to what my body feels like it needs. 

And what about mental fitness?

With most of my events being cancelled and one or two being postponed, its been really tough mentally to keep focused.  I have really tried to focus on the positives and what I can control for now. I realized that I was not going to be able to do much quality running so instead I have been focusing on my strength training to make me a better athlete when we can start running properly again. On a daily basis, I have set myself mini goals that I can tick off during the day so that I actually feel like I have achieved something during the day.  This has been DIY stuff around the house, sorting out admin or trying to learn a new skill etc (see my Instagram video of my Turkish Get Up with a can).  


A post shared by R Y A N S A N D E S (@ryansandes) on Apr 23, 2020 at 5:59am PDT




“You don't have to go fast. You just have to go.”

More motivation on Facebook