What can you do if you want to run but you don’t have the time or a bit of a niggle is holding you back?
We all know the drill. We’ve picked up a bit of an injury because of one thing or another: a twinged ankle on the trails, a weird pain in the left knee, a pull in the hamstrings, a nagging feeling in the calf. And because of that, it seems sensible to lay off the running for a bit. But you miss it, right? Life just isn’t the same. Okay, we can concentrate on doing some of that neglected strength and conditioning work – if the ankle/calf/hip/knee allows it – but we all know that 10 reps of squats isn’t going to cut the mustard.
So what do you do? Well, the simple answer is you can walk – which isn’t as fun and sweaty, that’s true, but at least you’re getting out there. Chuck on the Women’s Running podcast and take yourself out for a bit of an explore, and we guarantee you’ll come back feeling better.
The other thing you can do is cross-train, as long as that niggle allows it. That could mean getting out on the bike, going for a swim (if your pool is open, or you’re close to somewhere lovely you can swim in), or dusting off any home workout equipment you currently use as a coat stand.
What else can you do? Well, here’s the thing: you can bounce. We’ve recently discovered this mini trampoline from Bellicon and it’s been a bit of a revelation. You see, during lockdown – and before – we’ve all been a bit injury-ridden. We’ve gone out too often and for too long, and just placed too much strain on our bodies – and we know that a lot of runners have done this. And it’s depressing not being able to run. But it turns out that a mini trampoline could well be the answer we’ve been looking for. Why? Cos of these things:
It makes you a better runner. A study published in the International Journal of Sports Science, concluded that rebounding (bouncing!) is twice as effective at improving aerobic fitness than running. It also showed that exercising on a mini-trampoline increased vertical jumping ability – and jumping is effectively what you do with every step of your running.
It’s really really kind on your joints. You feel this straight away: all those little aches that you can feel immediately when you start to run on the road, are just not there when you bounce.
It helps your pelvic floor. Yes! By just doing little soft bounces, without leaving the mat, you can help to strengthen and tone your pelvic floor, as well as your deep back and stomach muscles.
It alleviates and prevents back pain. Double yes! All this home working does not make for good posture, right? Bouncing strengthens your core muscles, helps lubricate the discs in your spine, and the unstable mat means you’re constantly working on your balance – hey presto: better posture.
Plus, it’s actually fun. Regress to childhood, put on your favourite tunes, or watch that Netflix series you missed out on, and honestly the time flies. This may also have something to do with its success with all the above stuff too – it’s just more fun than a treadmill, so it’s easier to do more often.
The Bellicon we’ve been using is in a fetching grey, but when you order you can go for whatever colour bungees you like – even a delicious rainbow. It will also be sprung specifically for your weight, so this is a good way of ensuring that no one else in your home goes on it. Children, unsurprisingly, are all over this. You may wish to draw up a timetable…