Sometimes, even if you love running, the idea of doing it is not pleasant, safe or advisable.
Maybe it’s raining or snowing outside, or you’ve got an injury and need to rest up for a bit. The obvious solution the first two is to train on a treadmill, but what if you don’t belong to a gym, or hate the treadmill – should you brave the outside or sit and wallow?
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Well, maybe there’s a middle ground…I have been inspired by a press release I got from a trainer called Greg Sellar headed up ‘how to improve your run while it’s raining.’
Obviously aimed at fairweather runners like me who think they are going to melt if they go outside in bad weather it gives a few tips of things to do on days when weather, or injury, stops play.
1. Build Your Foundations
This is Seller’s main tip – running might involve putting one foot in front of the other, but it goes a lot more smoothly if your hips, back and shoulder are flexible and your core is strong.
So, work on your stretching and try these amazing core strengthening moves that are based on the moves you do on a Pilates reformer (although you don’t need one to do them) so that when you do head out again, you’re stronger and more flexible.
You can also try foam rolling which helps lengthen the muscles, stimulate circulation and, if done correctly, helps release the fascia tissue that runs alongside the muscles. There’s a good set of exercises here – and you can pick up a foam roller online or at your local sports store.
2. Get a Training Plan
If you’re training for an event, work backwards from the race date and schedule in every run – and the distance you need to cover (and the time you want to do it in if that’s how you train) and put them in your diary like a business appointment.
If you’re not training for anything specific, then at least schedule your daily workouts and what you’re going to do during them – or, for a burst of extra motivation, check out this post on the Daily Greatness training diary which actually helps inspire and spur you on you as you train.
Reading through that and setting your goals would be an awesome way to power up your training when you can’t work out.
If you’re already sold, I’m talking about The Daily Greatness Training Journal
3. Find New Routes
Changing up where you can run can be incredibly motivating so, scour google maps for new places to visit.
Are there any parks near you that you can add to your run, or if you normally run in the park or countryside, is there a city route that might shake things up. If you normally run on the flat, can you find a hilly route to try? Or vice versa – the first will build your strength and endurance, the second is a brilliant way to try out your speed.
I decided I might even take the train to the seaside or into London for a couple of my longer runs and meet The Boyfriend afterwards to make a day of it. Running somewhere new always makes the session go faster.
You could also try a technique called Colour Walking. This is normally a good way to liven up walks where you’re trying to rack up your 10,000 steps, but it also works for slower runs. Find out how to do it here.
4. Hit the Pool
Underwater running is a great way to keep your fitness up and it’s particularly helpful if you’re injured and had to limit impact work.
All you need is a pool that’s deep enough that you can’t touch the bottom that doesn’t mind you moving slowly.
You’ll then need a bouyancy device like the Aquajogger. This keeps your head above the water and your feet off the ground.
Then, all you need do is try to run as close to your normal gait as possible. Keep your fists closed, your back straight and your tummy pulled in.
It won’t be easy, you’re running against the resistance of the water which is tough – but that’s the point.
Oh, and if you are injured you don’t need to give up your cardio entirely. You might not be able to run, but, you can keep your heart rate up with this list of cardio exercises that you can do with a leg injury.
5. Wake Up Your Playlist
Music has an immense power to keep your moving – and interestingly, it’s suggested that you don’t listen to the songs on your workout playlist at any other time as that decreases their power to motivate you. So, try shaking yours up.
In the past, I’ve tried running to musicals, nostalgic tracks and megamixes – and that one is scientifically proven to make your run seem quicker.
I decided I’m going to create themed playlists. There’s a lot of songs out there with the word ‘run’ in them – and ‘move’ and ‘fast’ – the permutations are endless.
As the next race I’m doing is the Disney Dumbo Double Dare (half marathon one day, 10k the next), I’m even wondering if I can come up with an hour’s worth of tunes with a ‘Dumbo’ theme – so far I’ve got Africa by Toto, Fade to Grey by Visage – and my piece de resistance Elephant by Alexandra Burke (the remix), which is actually a pretty good running tune by the sounds of it.
6. Read Running Mags
This can inspire you to try different training techniques, or alert you to new gizmos you might want to try.
Runners World or Women’s Running are great ones to try as they get access to amazing running coaches and Olympians who share their tips.
If you don’t want to buy paper copies – or the snow is too heavy to drive to the shop, sign up for a service like Readly that lets you check out heaps mags for one small monthly fee.
You might also find some good ideas in this post on the best running tips I’ve ever heard.
7. Get Inspired by Others
There’s a lot of books out there by runners that can help keep your motivation up while you’re inside. Have a look at…
Eat Drink Run: How I Got Fit Without Going Too Mad by Bryony Gordon.
Journalist Bryony has been very honest about her struggles with mental illness and alcohol addiction – in this book she talks about how she used running as part of her recovery – and ran the London Marathon while doing it.
Running Like a Girl by Alexandra Heminsley
Aims to help break down your limiting beliefs about running – via the story of someone who did it!
A Beautiful Work in Progress by Mirna Valerio
Plus sized runner Valerio doesn’t fit the normal image of a long distance runner, but she is one. Read her story about how she got started and what she learned along the way.
Ultramarathon Man by Dean Karnazes
This is one of my favourite running books – bits of it have made me laugh out loud. Plus, you get to find out why someone decides to run 262 miles in one go – for fun!
Let Your Mind Run by Deena Kastor
Marathon runner Deena explains the mindshift that turned her into a champion – so you can learn it too! Find it here.
Have I missed anything? Do you do anything interesting to help keep your fitness up when you can’t run outside for some reason. Let me know in the comments if you do.
What to Read Next
Oh, and if you also like to cycle when it’s cold or dark, then you might also want to take a look at this post on how to enjoy cycling when the weather isn’t brilliant.
Who is The Wellness Nerd?
My name is Helen Foster and I’m a health journalist and wellness author. Publications I’ve written for include Women’s Health, Reader’s Digest, Body and Soul, Good Health at the Daily Mail and more. I have also written 16 books on health and nutrition.