5 Exercises for the stuck at home runner

5 Exercises for the stuck at home runner January 16, 2017Leave a comment

Right now the midwest is getting inundated with freezing rain and subfreezing temps. These are less than ideal conditions, and although I am more than happy to lace up the shoes and don the crampons for a few miles I feel weekend long runs on mud & ice strewn trails underneath freezing drizzle is a needless risk for a father of two. With that being said I also feel the desire to work on through these days, to help my running even when I cannot leave the house.

The obvious choice here would be to have a treadmill, but I don’t have one of those just lying around the house so I choose to use these 5 exercises in the confines of my own two car garage.

  1. Jump rope a 5K

  2. Balance board exercises

  3. Medicine ball crunches

  4. Lunges

  5. Medicine ball trunk twists

Now before I lay out the routine, let’s lay down the ground rules. For me, this work out lasts One hour. I set a timer on my phone and put on some music. Several of the exercises require timing so I usually prop the phone up somewhere that I can watch the time tick down. I find this helps me stay on task and gets the whole thing done in a fixed amount of time which is helpful for motivation as well as planning with the family. Lastly, I choose to do everything barefoot, minus the jump roping because honestly my steel braided jump rope doesn’t care if I want to run tomorrow, that thing hurts when you clip it with shoes on let alone without! Ok let’s do this.

Jump rope a 5K


This is exactly as it may sound. The 20 minute 5k is for many people a goal out there and thats what we are looking at here, jump rope for 20 minutes. I use both a heavy rope and a speed rope so I can get some arm strengthening in. Jumping rope is nothing fancy but it is the poor man’s nautilus machine. For me jumping rope enforces a number of things.

1) Landing on my forefoot, for me this is of paramount importance to staying injury free.

2) Keeps me focused on engaging my core. Just think about it, for every stride you take what do you think is lifting those legs? If you guessed those ab things that there’s always a 7 minute work out for you got it.

3) Brings me to my target heart rate for a sustained effort. By regulating my jump rope speed I can maintain my HR in that perfect goldilocks zone, not too high and not too low.

4) Focuses my breathing. If I have learned two things in the last year to further my running ability is one to maintain a comfortable deep breathe even when exerting yourself. The second is…

Balance Board Exercises

If you haven’t read the Cool Impossible, finish reading this blog post, than go to Amazon and pick that baby up. I don’t believe in miracle drugs or fixes, but this book and the little balance board exercises explained throughout changed the way I run and to an extent the way I live my life. I literally feel like I can claw through the dirt when I run now, and vice versa, when I’m in ultra shuffle mode I feel like I’m still running and using the right form.

I do the basic regime daily which is 1-2 minutes at each board angle for each foot. That’s three angles per foot for a total of 12 minutes. I am very confident in saying those 12 minutes will always be well spent, not to mention you get to use those trekking poles you swore you needed a few months back. You’re welcome.

Medicine Ball Crunches

Remember that core thing I was talking about a couple paragraphs ago? Yeah well it’s back and now it’s got a ball. Go with a ball that you can comfortably curl with one hand. I do three sets of 30, with 30 second rests.


I did not truly appreciate lunges my entire life until this July. I was running the Never Summer 100K in Gould, CO. The third ascent of the day (24,000 feet of climbing, what’s up) is up a true ball buster of a mountain. The grade is hella steep and I found myself in a now familiar position, lunging. The lunge is maybe the most simple pain in the ass exercise I know of, it will literally rip your legs to shreds after moments if not in you regular repertoire, and if you are a relative flat lander as is the case here in Missouri, the lunge needs to be in your bag of tricks for next time you want to run a mountain race. I do 3 sets of 20 inter changing legs and do 30 second rests in between.

Medicine ball trunk twists

As per the last exercise your legs should be good and trashed by now. Time to pop a squat on the yoga mat and do some trunk twists with that medicine ball. I do my twists as slow as possible, really making sure to continue to get good breathing and deliberate motion throughout the exercise. I do 50 twists three times with a 30 second breaks in between.

That’s it folks! When I’m stuck inside and can’t manage a good day out on the roads and trails I stick it out in the garage and push hard. I find this only pumps up my trail stoke even more and when the sun comes back out I know I wont have missed a step.

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