INDOOR TRAINING ACTIVITIES
We recognize that training indoors isn't exactly what everyone wants to be doing right now, but for many it is the only option. Truth be told, there is a lot that we can do indoors that often gets neglected when we have the option to train outdoors because we are in such a hurry to get out the door for a run. As runners, we understand that there is only so much time in the day and the thought process is generally, "If I only have 'x' amount of time in a day, I might as well prioritize the run."
While we recognize that this mentality might be correct in some respects, we also know that most of us have a bit more discretionary time than we acknowledge. If we use even a bit of that time to activate our bodies before running and rehabilitate them after a run we'll be able to train more consistently without as great a risk of injury. This increased consistency in training and reduction in interruptions due to injury will lead to greater gains in the short and long terms.
Below are some activities, movements, and routines that we've designed to help you make the most of your time indoors. Let's get through this time, more durable and better prepared to handle the training and racing that we aspire to.
Injury impedes most runners from progressing and reaching their full potential. In this the Foundation Series for Injury Prevention, we share some general skills, drills, and strength activities to help you avoid injury and train more consistently so that you can reach your peak performance. Please start with the into and work your way through each activity.
Strength training, like running, should start with the basics. Building muscular strength and endurance can enhance running performance and injury resistance. However, jumping into an intense strength training program without proper preparation is a recipe for injury and frustration.
Before adding heavy weights, start with body weight exercises that emphasize core strength and isolate key running movements. By using our body’s natural levers rather than the levers of machines we develop balance and strength in injury prone areas. And for most of us, our body weight provides more than enough resistance to build a strong foundation.
Here are some exercises that I do regularly because they target key areas and don’t require much additional time or equipment. The entire routine only takes a few minutes and can be done just about anywhere - at home, at the gym, or at your local park.
For an article with photos of many of the same movements, please read: Do Anywhere Body Weight Circuit.
Minimize the risk of injury by activating key leg muscles with this multidirectional lunge matrix before you run. Focus on one movement at a time. Master the form of one movement before moving on to the next one. Don't add resistance until you have learned how to do the entire routine and can do it regularly (3-4 days per week) without it leaving you overly sore.
Running is all about efficiency. One way to become a more efficient runner is to run relaxed and transfer the energy you exert into moving forward.
These RUNNING FORM CUES can teach and remind you what to think about and what to do with various parts of your body when you run to ensure that you are using your energy and momentum as efficiently as possible.
These cues can be practiced in front of a mirror before heading out for a run. They can also be practiced while running on a treadmill or a trampoline in front of a mirror and / or with a large mirror to the side.
These RUNNING FORM CUES were taught to Peak Run Performance Coach Jacob Puzey by his first college cross country coach, Doug Stutz. Coach Stutz was a successful steeplechaser who went on to coach countless collegiate team and individual national champions in cross country and track. While Jacob ran for Coach Stutz, both the men's and women's cross country teams won back-to-back cross country national championships.
Running form drills should be part of a comprehensive running program as a means of teaching and reinforcing correct running mechanics and ultimately preventing injury.
These drills can be performed indoors before exercise or as standalone exercises as part of a dynamic routine.
Regardless of the distance or surface of the goal race for which you are training, CRUZ INTERVALS can help you develop muscular endurance, agility, stamina, speed, and strength all in one workout.
This workout was one of the orIginal HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workouts.
Namesake - Olympic Gold Medalist Joaquim Cruz
JOAQUIM CRUZ, a Brazilian 800m Olympic Gold Medalists (1984) and one of the only men to ever run under 1:42 for 800m, did workouts like this when he was training for basketball, soccer, and track as a teen in Brazil.
Cruz and his coach believed in training the whole body and becoming a complete athlete. Cruz was fortunate to have the same coach as a teenager and later as an olympian. They did variations of this workout as he progressed throughout his storied career.
Variations on a Theme
Depending on one's objectives, the phase of training, and the distance and surface of your goal race, there are several variations of this workout that you can do. And if you are limited to the indoors, you can either do the intervals on a treadmill or trampoline, or simply do the agility activities (i.e. jumping jacks, seal jacks, burpees, etc.)
Warm Up is Key
One key part of the workout that is not included in the video is to precede the exercises and faster running intervals with an adequate warm-up of at least 15 minutes of easy running and dynamic stretching.
CRUZ INTERVALS as a Dynamic Warm-Up Routine
One way to incorporate CRUZ INTERVALS into your training routine, is to include them as part of a dynamic warm-up routine.
For example, after 15 - 30 minutes of easy running, alternate between 10-20 x the agility exercises (jumping jacks, lunges, etc.) and the running intervals as 15-30 second strides or accelerations. Effort for the STRIDES should be between 75-85% of max effort.
This routine, along with other DYNAMIC DRILLS AND STRETCHES will serve as an adequate warm-up before longer, more intense workouts.
CRUZ INTERVALS as Mid-Run or Post-Run Stride Routine
Another way to incorporate CRUZ INTERVALS into your training is to simply add them to the middle or end of a run as you traditionally would add strides or accelerations.
For example, alternate between 10-20 x the agility exercises and the running intervals as 15-30 second STRIDES in the middle or toward the end of a 30-60 minute EASY RUN. Effort for the STRIDES should be between 75-85% of max effort.
Increase Muscular Endurance at Critical Velocity
CRUZ INTERVALS can also become a longer, muscular endurance session if you extend the run intervals to 90 to 120 seconds or up to 400m at Critical Velocity (30-40 minute race pace).
Specificity & Simulation
You can do CRUZ INTERVALS on any surface: track, grass, paved path, dirt road, treadmill, or trampoline, etc. They don't have to be precisely measured by distance or pace. The important part is to practice running hard, under duress, between agility exercises.
Doing the entire workout on a track is not necessary. In fact, performing the workout on grass may add a bit more of a challenge while giving your legs a break from harder surfaces. Doing the agility exercises on the grass also increases the difficultly of the exercises while simultaneously making the activities more specific to trail or cross country racing.
CRUZ INTERVALS are a great way to help you transition to trail running or simulate trail running without regular access to the trails.
Limit recovery between exercises and harder running efforts. This will allow you to practice transitioning between hard running and more skill specific activities without the need for recovery. Also, be sure to cool down by running or spinning easy at least 15 to 20 minutes after the intervals to facilitate recovery.
For more training resources, please visit and subscribe to our YouTube Channel, visit our resources page at https://www.peakrunperformance.com/articles, like our FaceBook Page and subscribe to our newsletter.