We caught up with Lewis Ludlam to see how the Northampton Saints and England back row is coping with an enforced break from rugby.
Q: How are you dealing with the self-isolation and what have you been doing?
LL: It’s a very strange time. I’ve done a few runs on my own around Pitsford Reservoir and just training on my own. We’ve taken gym equipment from the club and I’ve been doing sessions in the garden. I’ve just been trying to keep myself as busy as possible really. For me, it’s all come at an alright time because with moving house there’s actually loads I need to be doing so it’s not like I’m sat at home doing nothing. I’ve been unpacking boxes and getting the house right really. I was in the middle of town near the Racecourse, so it’s quite nice to be out in the country where it’s a little bit quieter.
Q: Chris Boyd said ‘the fat lads took the cardio equipment home, and the skinny lads took the weights’, but what equipment did you take home from the Club?
LL: I’m a fat-skinny lad so I’ve got both. I’ve got a spin bike, a couple of weights, a barbell and some bands. You make do with what you’ve got. You can always get a good workout whether that’s with equipment or not. I can always keep myself busy.
Q: You’re so used to having a regime on a daily basis, what is the situation now? Does the Club give you programmes?
LL: They’ve given us session plans, which are quite flexible really. The one this morning there was four different sessions and you pick one, so we’ve got the choice in that regard. The strangest thing is training on your own, away from the squad. Everything I’ve done for the past five years has been with the team, or small groups of the team, and to go away from that and motivate myself and get out there on my own and push through a session has been a really strange thing.
Q: It must be very weird for you guys because there’s no certainty about how long this is going to go on for?
LL: It is bizarre. Last week we were talking about cracking on and getting prepared for our next game on April 25 but now it’s about staying away from the Club, staying away from each other, staying away from the public and keeping yourself fit. It is a bizarre situation really, going from being on a schedule and having something to prepare for and wake up for every week with a focus everyday but now every day feels like a Sunday after a game. But even on a Sunday after a game you’re thinking about what you could have done better the day before or even preparing clips for the following week. To have nothing and no solid goal to prepare for – you don’t know when you’re going to play again. We work hard all season and the aim is that top two, top four and wanting to win things and now we don’t know how the season will end. It’s a bizarre situation to say the least.
Q: Your body must feel strange because you haven’t endured the rigours of rugby for a little while now?
LL: I’m aching in different ways now. It was the first time I’d been on a long distance run the other day since cross-country at school and I ran about eight or nine miles and everything hurt: back, neck, joints, knees, everything. I’m hurting in different ways but in a way, everyone at the club is keeping themselves fit in different ways. You learn how to motivate yourself away from the club – it’s interesting, it’s been a challenge and it shakes things up.
Q: Have you been sticking rigidly to the self-isolation?
LL: Absolutely. The last thing we want as an athlete is to be ill and have to be off training. We’re trying to keep ourselves as safe as possible and away from it. We’ve been isolated and who knows how much we will be able to go out over the next few weeks? It’s a weird situation to prepare yourself for, but in a way it gives people a chance to appreciate the little things. It’s a chance to work on your own health and your relationships. Our next door neighbour has been sent home and the kids are at home so it’s about them spending more time as a family together. Everyone’s try to make the best of the strange situation really.
Q: Is there a squad Whatsapp group and do the players all FaceTime each other?
LL: We’re all FaceTiming each other, there’s a forwards WhatsApp group, a back row WhatsApp group and a Club players group so there’s load of banter flying on there. On the back row group, we send in what we’ve done during the day and have a bit of a competition. It’s quite nice seeing what everyone else is doing through a screen. Lads are training with their families as well and to see that, it does feel like we’re still together as a team and still working together.