Image via: Con Chronis.

I thought this might be helpful to everyone out there even if you’re not stuck in as extreme a situation as hotel quarantine but if you’re maybe now at home more than you used to be, not getting the same amount of incidental exercise as you used to from being at work or commuting or maybe can’t train as many hours outside due to restrictions.

I’d thought I would share with you some things that got me through hotel quarantine for two weeks this year in November. Which went on to set me up for some great form for the Australian summer and the GC win at the Tour Down Under.

I was quarantined at a hotel in Perth, Australia.

The reason Australia has done well to keep covid out of the country is how strict they are with quarantine. We landed and it was a crazy experience. All airport staff in hazmat suits and you are escorted by bus followed by three police cars to your hotel. The hotel reception was covered in black plastic and you are taken up the staff elevator to your room. Where you can’t leave or even crack a window for 2 weeks.

As you can imagine a lot of anxiety going into that situation for anyone but especially an athlete who exercises for a living. I’m sure my wife was nervous about how to handle me for two weeks. But what I do love is a challenge, I love a plan, a process, and an end goal.

So my plan going into these next two weeks was to stay mentally sane, to do something mentally challenging, not put on heaps of weight, and do a bit for my fitness so I wasn’t too far behind when I got out.

I looked at ways to serve each category and tried to be a bit creative with it

Mental exercise 

Enrol in a short course
I enrolled in a free online course through a university on Sports Physcology and entry-level coaching.

There are a lot of basic courses free online that you can go through. This is something I’m interested in and each day I would sit down for a few hours and go through the course. It was pretty basic but it’s been a while since I had used my brain in that way and was a nice change. Also helped time fly by. Pick something

Meditation
This is something iv been doing for a while now so I continued this each day to de-stress and be in the moment. It’s been a massive help for coming down after stressful races and to bring you back to a nice even level.

Physical exercise

I organised with a friend of mine to drop off an ergo and a kettlebell. I’d never really used a kettlebell so it was a pretty novel thing to do. But I loved it. 

The first session broke me as I hopped into it pretty hard from the get-go. 

But once my soreness went away I really felt it help my performance. My core and back on the bike felt improved and it’s something I’ve actually continued into my training. 

All I did was find 30/40min kettlebell workouts on YouTube and just went for it. There are so many great videos online you can pretty much find what area you want to work on and there is a guided workout for it. 

Indoor Trainer and FulGaz

As I was in a slow build phase I didn’t really commit to crazy hours on the ergo. I would do 1-1.5hrs per day. 

I would choose a ride on FulGaz that was roughly that length and would ride it to the end. It helped the mind as all you had to do was finish the course and you finished your ride. Could be 1hr,1hr 20min whatever just once you were done you got off. 

Towards the end, I started to add some simple low cadence drills to start the strength phase. A basic session was 4 by 10min at 50rpm at Z3 hr with 10min recovery. It was solid enough as there was no ventilation so towards the end you were overheating big time. 

Running
I like to do a bit of running in the off-season so I ran around my hotel room to get used to that impact again. I think I did 3 by 30min runs around my room. Just put some good beats in and ran in a figure of 8 pattern. It was pretty funny at the time as the apartment block across the street where wondering what the hell we were doing!

Nutrition

As you are stuck in your room all day meals become quite a nice thing to pass the time. So we made sure to always set the table to sit down and enjoy the meal.

The food was pretty reasonable so that was nice but on the odd occasion we ordered some good Japanese on Uber eats to change it up a bit. Also an online shopping order to get some extra snacks for in between, pretty much hummus and crackers really.

One thing I did do to help the weight was canceled breakfast. I did a rough 16hr fast each day until lunch. This helped take a meal out and I like to incorporate intermittent fasting into my training normally so I thought this was a perfect time to do a lengthy period of it.

Other tips and ideas

Dress up and show up
I made sure I got dressed for the day. A thing my wife and I did during our two-month lockdown in Spain. Make sure you get out of the trackies each day and dress as you would normally. Amazing what that does to the mentality for the day. 

Netflix
I did one episode a day after dinner to unwind. This is something that can help waste time but also makes me feel like crap so limited it to one episode a day. The Queen’s Gambit was our go-to.

Quiz night
A Team BikeExchange teammate of mine, Jess Allen, was also in quarantine at the same time and she made a quiz night online for a few of us. This was awesome to keep that social aspect alive.

That’s about it. I won’t be rushing into doing it again but I’d say all in all we made it through well. Plus the bonus was to go out to an Aussie summer full of family, friends, and some great racing.

Until next time

Durbo

About Luke Durbridge

Hailing from Western Australian originally, Luke has grown into one of the world’s best domestiques on the WorldTour. He is a dual national time trial champion and has a string of notable achievements at the international level having represented Australia many times at World Championships, Olympic and Commonwealth Games.

Luke Durbridge's ride collection