When running is not in the cards, and you don’t have access to a treadmill, it is a perfect time to implement some cross-training and body-weight-resisted exercises. Just because you aren’t pounding pavement does not mean you can’t get a great, blood-pumping cardiovascular workout! Consider an indoor workout as complimentary to your runs, as increasing your strength and stability can improve form and reduce risks of injury.
Focus on core stability and hip-resisted exercises. These areas directly affect how your feet hit the ground with each running stride, and can help control the way force is absorbed through the legs, therefore preventing potential injury. Exercises such as bridges, squats, and lunges fire up your glutes and hip stabilizers, and using these big muscle groups will increase your heart rate. Consider side bridges to strengthen your hip abductors and external rotators, which will help control your knee position in landing.
And don’t forget about core stability! Every runner should be able to hold a front and side plank for up to 60 seconds, so work your way up to planking for a full minute. Mountain climbers are a great way to engage the core while strengthening your upper back and arms, which will help your running posture.
To get your sweat on, keep a list of body-weight exercises handy for indoor exercise days, and pick five to eight of them to create a circuit. Perform each exercise for 45 to 60 seconds per round, take a short break, and repeat. If you desire a longer workout, choose different exercises and do a second round. Perform exercises safely but quickly to increase cardiovascular demand.
While stuck inside, take advantage of the time to stretch and foam roll as well, so that when you are able to get back outside, your run is strong and smooth.
Lauren Alix, PT, DPT, CSCS, is a doctor of physical therapy at Hospital for Special Surgery. She has run two marathons and numerous other road races, and enjoys helping runners become better at their sport through running analysis, training, and rehabilitation when needed. Lauren is passionate about injury prevention in athletes, and specializes in treating orthopedic injuries. She received her doctorate in physical therapy from Springfield College in Massachusetts, and completed her Orthopedic Residency at HSS.