Bad weather conditions can make it hard to stick to your running schedule. But there is a way to take advantage for gray skies or cold weather. Head into the gym for a workout that can help you stay in shape and improve your running.
A good workout for runners will focus on developing the core and legs – the two muscle groups used most in running. Here’s an hour-long gym workout which could help improve your running performance:
- Warm-up (5 mins) – a gentle jog on the treadmill
- Stretching (5 mins) – try 5 exercises focussing on your legs to get the muscles warm
- Running training (40 mins) – on a treadmill try to follow your regular training or mix it up with interval training
- Strength training (10 mins) – to finish spend some time doing 5 exercises that focus on core stability
Warming Up and Stretching
As a rule, try to do 5 to 10 minutes of jogging on the treadmill first to warm up before you do your stretching exercises. This way you’ll avoid stretching ‘cold’ muscles and will reduce the risk of injury.
A basic stretching routine for runners should include these exercises:
- Calf and Achilles tendon stretch
- Hamstrings stretch
- Quadriceps stretch
- Inner thigh stretch
- Groin stretch
And if you’re injury-prone, try to stretch muscles in those areas, too, and minimize the risk of the problem recurring during a workout.
For many runners, the treadmill can seem boring when compared to running outside. But when the temperature drops outside or there’s snow on the ground, it’s better than not running at all.
You can follow your regular training plan on the treadmill. Or if you find that too monotonous, you can mix it up with interval training. For example, try 10 sets of 2 minutes at a higher speed with an easy jog of 1 minute in between.
As a base level, make sure you set the treadmill’s incline to at least 1 – 1.5 to simulate the right amount of resistance for road running.
Strength training helps you become a more complete runner, and it’s also a great way to lose weight and tone your body.
The most important muscles to train are your core muscles. These muscles stabilize your spine and pelvis. To target the core effectively, focus on strengthening your shoulders, back, and abdomen. The benefits of good stability include maintaining a correct running posture, especially when you get tired.
Here’s a few exercises you can try to improve your core stability:
- Front plank (30 sec)
- Side plank left (15 sec)
- Side plank right (15 sec)
- 15 push-ups
- 15 straight crunches
From here you can build up your exercise load step by step. You can also add exercises for your leg muscles to help build the strength you’ll need for running.
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