We find out how to strengthen and stretch from the comfort of our own homes, so that you can make the most of your time outside running
We know some of you are hardcore, out-in-all-weathers types. But if running in the cold or the wet takes all the joy out of it for you, then it might be time to have a bad weather back-up plan. We talk to Nat Voyle, trainer for VAHA (a snazzy interactive fitness mirror), to find out what we can do to support our running training when going outdoors isn’t an option.
Read on for her advice, or click here to jump to her must-have indoor exercises for runners.
How indoor training can help your outdoor runs
Winter is definitely upon us now – darker mornings and shorter days are here for the rest of the year. No doubt this will have an impact on the will to want to train outside (or train at all!), so instead we want to use this time to focus on how we can help our running through the means of training inside.
We all know that we should be cross-training around our running, and now is the perfect time to get into the habit of it – especially when your run gets rained off.
If you’re new to running, here’s what that means: alongside your regular runs, you should also do some strength work and some stretching to support your body to run.
Strength training can be hugely beneficial to runners – it will build stronger muscles to deliver more power when running. By strengthening your muscles it can also make you less prone to injury.
Stretching can help improve flexibility and mobility. When running you should always aim to stretch before and after, especially stretching the muscles in your legs, hips and lower back.
How to make the most of your home workouts
Of course, home fitness is not a new thing to us – especially after the last 18 months. But we want to make sure that we’re still getting the most out of our exercise efforts, which can be tricky when we’re going it alone. Lack of motivation, variety and correction can leave us feeling uninspired and no longer enjoying any benefits.
I’m a trainer for VAHA, the UK’s first interactive fitness mirror which acts like a home gym and personal trainer wrapped into one. Disguised as a sleek, stylish mirror, you can stream a combination of live and on-demand fitness classes and 1-2-1 personal training sessions directly into your home to help take your home workouts to the next level. We have over 2,000 workouts on the platform, that range in intensity and duration, with something for everyone.
The exercises and stretches all runners should know
I teach V/Build classes for Vaha – these help to build upper or lower body muscle through the means of six different exercises in each class. Movements are taught in detail, with form and technique broken down and then progressed adding weight or increasing volume of work.
Here are my top three strength exercise for runners, as well as my three favourite stretches to work on that flexibility.
3 strength exercises for runners
Perform 30 seconds on each exercise, taking a 15 seconds break in between each move and aiming to complete 4 rounds. Quality over quantity first, so take your time to work on your form and technique. When confident with your movement patterns, you can then start to add weight from week to week.
- Glute bridge
Lying flat on your back on the floor, heels placed into the ground and knees up, squeeze and thrust your hips towards the sky, engaging your glutes.
- Bodyweight squat
Feet hip width apart, sit your hips back into a squat, knees at 90 degree angles, chest up and then stand up to full extension, squeezing your glutes.
- Reverse lunge to knee drive balance
Take a big step back and down with one leg to have your knee an inch off the ground and both knees at 90 degree angles. Step this leg back in and knee drive up towards your chest.
3 stretches for runners
Hold each stretch for 10-15 seconds. Try and take time out to stretch for 5-10 minutes at least 2-3 times a week.
- Seated hamstring stretch
Legs out in front of you, reach down and aim to touch your toes. Relax the chest over the knees.
- Downward dog
Hands on the floor, pike your hips to the sky and start to peddle your heels into the ground, stretching out your hamstrings.
- Calf raises to balance
Standing with feet hip width apart, raise up onto your tip toes and back down. Add in a longer balance at the top to make it more challenging.
- Seated hamstring stretch
About the expert
Nat is a trainer for VAHA. Find out more about VAHA and the range of on-demand and live classes, as well as PT sessions available on the UK’s first interactive home fitness mirror www.uk.vaha.com