Saturday, December 20, 2008

Running indoors

One of the options I mentioned in the previous blog entry was moving indoors for training in the winter.

This may makes sense if you live where is difficult to train outdoors. I would still recommend that you spend some of your training outdoors even if it is only when the weather cooperates. To get the most out of your indoor training, I think there are several strategies to try and adopt.

1. It is a good time to recover from a hard summer/fall training to racing season. Cutting back on the running makes sense to allow the body and mind to recover and rebuild. This is especially true of the mind since the mental effort needed to sustain a hard training routine is high but we tend not to notice it.

2. Adding some strength training can go a long way to regaining balance between muscle groups that have gotten out of wack. I think we tend to forget or forgo some of the alternate training when we are in the final phase of our race season or just end of summer for those who have been building on their training over the summer.

3. Adding some flexablility training such as yoga or palates might be a good thing to help relax the mind and stretch muscles that have tightened up.

4. Some running in necessary during this time since it can be a real chore to regain that running rhythm if you take of entirely from it over the winter. Indoor track and treadmill workouts, while boring can be the way to start working on the push to spring after a month or so of easier runs. What I strive to do is to take one day a week and start building a steady state running focus by taking a pace and running increasing distances at that pace. In keeping with the rebuilding mode, strive to run relaxed while doing this. This would mean that as you get into the run, relax...if you find yourself getting tense and can't relax, this may be the limit you want to go but over time you should be able to increase the distance. Once you have reached 4-5 miles at this pace relaxed, you might then pick up the pace 10 sec per mile or so and back off on the distance a couple miles and repeat the pattern.

5. It is very difficult to run hard and fast outside in the winter. The cold air can bother the lungs in many cases and the footing is not always good to allow a full stride. This is where the indoor running can help by letting you run faster and maintain a proper stride. Doing this at least 2 times per week will help you to regain your rhythm in the spring.

6. Other aerobic activities should be added into the mix at this time. Spinning is one such activity which under a good instructor can yield tremendous aerobic workouts. One caveat on this is to watch out for routines that put undue strain on joints and ligaments. Some routines have been known to cause problems but if an instructor is not up to date on the current thought, they may not know to forgo these routines.

7. Other aerobic workouts may also be good. I cannot in this case speak from experience since I have not done any of these. However, I would only caution someone to pay attention and if the workout seems to cause undue strain or stress, I would proceed with caution. I think many of the bad raps some of these get is not because the routines are necessarily bad but the instructor may not know the proper form.

have a good run

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