Hi CNC readers! I’m Hillary, a.k.a. the nut that writes the blog Nutrition Nut on the Run . As you’re probably aware, Miss Tina (and Mal!) is recently an accomplished marathoner, and has since caught the race bug as she just announced her full race schedule for the month of March. Running is just one of the many things Tina and I have in common – aside from our extreme love for sweets, iced coffee, breakfast and baking.
With four races around the corner, Tina’s not letting the frigid Boston weather prevent her from training around the clock. As an avid runner myself (training for half-marathon #4), I wanted to share a few of my tips for successful indoor training and maintaining your exercise motivation.
1. Walk into the gym with a plan.
After a long day at school or work, it can be tempting to rush your workout in order to get home to relax. Going to the gym without the intention of having a structured workout can often send you home feeling a bit unsatisfied. When you’re pressed for time – or even if you have all day – I recommend planning out your workout before getting into action. Set a time or mileage goal and stick to it! Try scribbling your workout on a note card and place it on your machine to remind you to keep moving.
2. Learn to love the ‘mill.
As any addicted runner would say, nothing compares to running al fresco. I used to do the majority of my running outdoors and saved the dreadmill for my lazy days. Things are different now! Over the past year, I’ve learned to love the ‘mill. I think it significantly contributed to my recent PR, as it’s a great tool for increasing your speed. To me, running on the treadmill takes a lot more mental effort than it does physical effort. Try to keep your iPod stocked with an array of tunes and switch up your treadmill routine. Need ideas? Try a couple of my most recent runs: 5-mile tempo or go the distance with intervals .
3. Don’t fear the iron.
Another thing that Tina and I have in common is our love for BodyPump. Running mile after mile will certainly create a strong pair of legs; though, I’ve learned that adding light weight training into your routine will create a lean ‘n’ mean racing machine. If your gym doesn’t offer BodyPump (or a similar class), do not worry. Look no further… you can find great strength training workouts right here on CNC!
4. Value variety.
Cross-training is vital for any running plan. My current training schedule has me doing something other than running at least 2x/week. I, personally, think cycling is an excellent way to build leg strength while giving your body a break from the impact of the road. I also enjoy the relaxation and added flexibility from1-2 yoga classes each week. Switching up your activities keeps both your mind and muscles happy. What’s your favorite way to cross-train?
5. Accept rest days.
Many of us exercise enthusiasts fear rest days; though, there is no need to feel guilty about revitalizing days away from the gym. Training day in and day out takes a lot from an individual physically and mentally. With all my training schedules, I “schedule in” 1 day off per week. Not only do I do so to prevent injury and allow my body to recuperate from any strenuous exercise… I do it to recharge my mind. And when an unexpected rest day(s) arises – from illness, injury… life – keep your chin up!
6. Utilize social media motivation.
I love nothing more than having a heart to heart with a friend on a long, early morning run. However, when exercising at the gym, I like to do my thing solo. As a busy student, I need to be efficient with my time, so I like to get straight to business with my workout that I’ve planned beforehand (Tip #1). I’ll admit, training solo can get old fast and it’s easy to let your motivation die. A few months ago, I joined DailyMile to track my training and share my athletic accomplishments with strangers and friends alike. The virtual support and encouragement is incredibly inspiring. I definitely encourage any/all of you runners and non-runners to join J
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Whether you’re training for a 5K or 26.2 mile journey, I hope you’ll take these tips along with you in your gym bag for a more effective and enjoyable sweat session.