In the current situation, all previous routines have been thrown over and we’re all struggling to set up new ones. I feel blessed to live in a rural cottage. With the next village half a mile away, self-isolation is easy out here. In fact, not much has changes since the lockdown started apart from working at home instead of the university.
One thing I am trying to adjust to the new “normal” is my training though. Just today, it has been announced that my planned double-marathon in June is postponed until next year. I am not surprised in the slightest. It would be very irresponsible to still be planning an event like the Race to the King, and I think the organisers made the right call. I am sad about it, though. For now, I will revamp my training plans with sole focus on the Ring of Steall Race in September. Currently, that is supposed to go ahead as planned, but obviously things may change. I also just booked a place for the Montane Cheviot Goat Ultra in December. And then I’ll absolutely crush Race to the King next year!
One thing I have always been a little too laid-back with is strength training. Not only for the legs, but for the whole body. As a runner, you obviously need strong leg muscles and adequate strengthening can protect from injury. However, your body is constantly rotating from side to side, especially on trails, and your arms are swinging back and forth. Those muscle groups are heavily engaged and also show fatigue after long runs. Therefore, extending strength training to arms and core is just as important as leg strength.
Just as my gym closed about two weeks ago, I got hold of a 3kg and 10kg set of dumbbells. I already had a set of (hardly used) resistance bands, a jump rope and an exercise mat. With that, my “home gym” equipment is complete. I have started doing two weekly strength sessions, lasting about an hour or slightly longer each. My research for those workouts has been very thorough, making sure I wouldn’t do more harm than good.
To get started, I want to get my heart rate up a bit. This can be rope skipping for 5-10 minutes, doing jumping jacks, running on the spot with high knees or mountain climbers. Once I feel the heart pumping a bit and my muscles are warmed up, I enter a workout comprising squats, lunges, glute bridges, Russian twists, planks, rowing, push-ups, calf raises, side steps, shoulder presses, step-ups and dead lifts. For each exercise, I pick the more suitable weight and do 3 sets of 10 repetitions with one minute break in between.
For now, that is enough. Eventually, I might do more repetitions, reduce rest segments or raise the weight I’m using. By then, lockdown might be over and the gym open again. Maybe I’ll like home workouts so much though that I’ll just keep on doing them. Who knows. Time will tell, I guess.
Until then, I’ll just keep getting stronger. Gardening does contribute to that as well, I certainly can feel my shoulders after digging up roots from a flower bed!