If I can’t run, what should I do? How do I maintain my conditioning as much as possible? Is it possible to maintain aerobic conditioning at home? How do I do it? How many times per week?
I’m attempting to answer these questions (and a few more) in this article.
I’ve already spoken about most of the subjects I’m going to cover here in a live Q&A session in the R&RT Facebook group. I occasionally hop on a live video to talk about running and answer a few questions so click the link above to join the group if this sounds interesting to you.
ANALYZE THE SITUATION AND ADAPT
Here’s the first step… Stop for a second and take a look around. What is your government saying? In Portugal, which is where I live, the government has asked the Portuguese citizens to quarantine themselves and only leave the house to buy essential items and for brief exercise (by yourself or with one family member) near your residence.
Knowing this, I believe it would be ok (according to my government) for me to leave my house and run 5km briefly around my apartment complex, staying as far away as possible from any of my neighbors.
However, Spain has placed their citizens in a FULL lockdown. I’ve heard (from Spanish members in the R&RT group) you’re not allowed outside for any reason – not even for a short run.
So, take a look around and understand what your options are. What has your government said? What is the current situation in your country? Analyzing the situation is the first step.
Next, you will need to adapt.
As I mentioned above, I’m allowed to go out for brief runs (maximum 30 minutes). I do my best to be as safe as possible and to be as efficient as possible in these thirty minutes, but I still need to add some extra workouts to my routine at home. I don’t have much exercise equipment at home, so bodyweight training is my go-to resource.
What’s your situation? If you’re allowed to run and you are not quarantined, enjoy the freedom my friend. If you’re allowed on short runs, make the most out of them! Have one slow 30-minute run, two medium paced runs, one-time trial and a hill training session per week. That’s five solid runs! This routine alone will benefit you, it’s short and will keep you in the streets for a minimal amount of time.
If you’re stuck inside your home… what exercise equipment do you have available? It’s time to blow the dust off of the old Ab Wheel! Make an inventory of the equipment you have available and make the best use of it for strength training purposes.
While at home, you will also need to keep your aerobic conditioning up as much as possible so it’s important to do some exercise that will elevate your heart rate. This means you’ll be doing lots of TABATA and HIIT workouts! Don’t know what these are? YouTube is your friend.
To sum it up – if you’re stuck at home, your best option is to develop your strength (through strength training) and maintain aerobic conditioning (through TABATA and HIIT workouts). You’ve got seven days in one week so you can use strength training on one day and TABATA on the next day. On the third day you can strength train again and rest on the fourth day. Keep switching back and forth between these two training techniques and remember to throw in one or two rest days per week.
I’m helping out dozens of runners in the R&RT group during the COVID-19 pandemic, so if you’re unsure of how to structure your training week, send me an email and I will gladly help you build your training plan.
Not many runners know about this training tool – but lots of pro athletes do this every week! Plyometrics are essentially a series of jumps, leaps and bounds in all directions. Plyometrics will improve the way your muscle accumulates and releases energy, propelling you forward more efficiently.
This is useful in running because running is basically jumping for long periods of time. Every time you push off the ground you’re doing a small jump!
Does this sound confusing? Maybe a visual example would help! Here’s lots of different variations of plyometric exercises.
The best thing about plyometric exercises is that they can done at home, with limited space! They’ll benefit you greatly once you get back on the road. Just be sure to have an easy training session on the day BEFORE plyometrics and rest on the day AFTER to avoid injury.
THE HARSH TRUTH
We’re all going to lose some performance and conditioning. It’s unavoidable.
We’re in a frustrating situation that most of us have never been in. It feels like our freedom has been taken from us! However, frustration will not help us. It’s important to understand that we ARE in this situation and there is no way around that. We just have to adapt and do the best we can while we are going through these trying times.
And right now, the best you can do as a quarantined runner is keep training – strength training, doing cardio (HIIT and TABATA) and throw in the occasional plyometric session.
With this, I want to leave you with a positive message… we will get through this! Stay positive, stay safe!
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