1. Run indoors
Exercising or running in a gym or at home is a good option before the first spring events. It lets you stay in shape, work on muscle strengthening or lose the weight you gained during
the winter holidays.
With your spring targets in mind, using steppers, treadmills or cross trainers is a very effective training method. These different machines are very useful for maintaining a good physical condition, mainly intended for runners who live in areas where outdoor running is complicated in winter (no lighting, not many places for running such as parks, tracks, etc.).
There are numerous reasons for deciding to buy a treadmill or to use one in the gym:
- It's easier: in winter, when it's raining or if you live in a difficult area, it is more comfortable to run indoors. Also, novice runners can find the motivation they need to run several kilometres. Running 12 km/h is less demanding indoors than outdoors.
- It's less monotonous: Thanks to the numerous machines on offer, indoor sport enables more varied sessions.
- It's safer: running indoors means you avoid the hazards of the cold and the injuries caused by ice and wet surfaces. (slipping, falling, etc.) - It's less physically traumatic: it's a fact, running on a treadmill enables better cushioning thanks to the regular speed and stability of the belt
- The level of difficulty can be managed: running on a treadmill means the runner can easily measure their times and speeds, check calories burnt, or follow a suitable muscle strengthening programme (pre-recorded programmes)
- Sessions are easier to fit in: people with a busy or irregular schedule can go running at all times.
Make the most of the treadmill
To maintain the benefits for your subsequent runs, preserve or improve your endurance capacity, the treadmill is an extraordinary machine which can be used both in a gym or at home. The effects on your metabolism will be slightly different, but the progress made will be the same. The principle of the treadmill is simple, in fact it's just the conveyor belt under your feet; your legs only need to ensure the stability of the body, so, at the same speed, you save energy and gain endurance.
Running on a treadmill enables the organism to adjust to higher temperatures. For their strides, the runner increases their central temperature and the organism compensates this heat production by increasing energy expenditure.
Training on a treadmill
To train effectively on a treadmill, you need to compensate for the resistance of the air that is missing by adjusting the incline settings.
Example: You want to run the equivalent of 12 kmph outdoors. On the treadmill, run the same distance with a 3% incline or at 14 kmph with no incline. To avoid getting bored, especially if you run on a treadmill at home, create a pleasant environment around you, with a good view, listen to stimulating music and vary your exercises.
IMPORTANT: Running on a treadmill causes significant dehydration; to compensate, always have a bottle of water on hand and drink small amounts regularly.
Will I make as much progress as I do when running outdoors?
Although indoor running has its critics, and the benefits of training on a treadmill are often doubted, it is in fact proven that the progress desired and achieved is the same. The work on core training, ie endurance and optimum oxygen consumption, progresses at the same rate as if you were running outside.
Tips for staying motivated when running in the winter (cont'd)
2. "Core" training
The aim of continuing to run in winter is to improve your muscle capacity and improve your "core" strength. Exercise that can be done at home or in the gym, muscle strengthening provides numerous benefits if done in the right conditions. It is important to work the muscles that are used during races.
First of all, before any session at home or in the gym, don't forget to warm up properly and do stretches before and after your workout!
Just a few simple movements will enable you to better maintain your muscle mass and gain in power and momentum:
- At home:
- go up and down the stairs several times in a row to work on your cardio endurance and leg, thigh and calf muscles.
- run on a treadmill or do rowing exercises if you have a machine.
- do some abdominal and back strengthening exercises as well as some skipping…
These exercises have the advantage of improving your endurance which minimises fatigue during outdoor running.
- At the gym:
- run a few miles on a treadmill or do some work on the cross trainer while monitoring your endurance in order to check the improvement of your aerobic capacity (built-in computer or heart rate monitor).
- Vary lower body strengthening exercises (treadmill) with upper body exercises (rower).
Finish the session by stretching the muscles you have used, and relax if you get the chance. For example, the steam room offers an unrivalled sense of well-being. Breathe in its eucalyptus fragrances, which clear the chest and regenerate tissues.
3. Slowly prepare for spring races
In order to improve your progress and endurance, physical preparation during winter should be followed by more intensive sessions. As the name indicates, this preparation will be gradual and "prepares" the organism for competition training.
To do this successfully, for a period of three months, increase the doses of exercise little by little in accordance with your objectives and your state of fitness, without forgetting the recovery and rest phases.
- To gain endurance, plan to do core muscle training (which is also called "strength training" or "core training").
Keep in shape despite the winter cold… by running!