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At-home workouts to do this holiday season

Efficient and effective workouts for the hectic holiday season

Athletic woman warming up doing weighted lunges with dumbbells workout

With a week of holiday travel and social engagements upon us, runners can become concerned about when and how they’re going to fit a workout in. Gyms are closed, roads conditions are touch-and-go and social obligations are reaching their annual peak.

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With all of this in mind, here’s a list of exercises that require optional equipment and can easily be done at home. On top of that, here are a few suggested low-maintenance running workouts for snowy, wintery conditions. Any combination of these exercises and running workouts will help you to get a workout in efficiently and effectively this holiday season.

At-home strength exercises

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Standing A’s (video one)

With this exercise, focus on engaging your core and arms. Running is a full body movement, and this exercise really reinforces that. It’s a great way to improve form along with hip and oblique strength.

Single leg dead lifts (video two)

The dead lift works on a runner’s back, hamstrings and core. With the dead lift, start without a band if it feels too difficult (these exercises are all about form), and once you’ve got your form down, add the pull-back with the band. Again, focus on moving slowly and engaging your core.

Walking lunge, part 3

Walking lunges

These are best done while bringing the knee up high before stepping forward, and while holding a light weight such as a foam roller, which you raise up and to the side with each step. Tip: Maintain an upright upper body without hunching forward.

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Cross crunch flex – The key with this exercise is to keep you back pressed into the ground. This promotes good form and makes the exercise more difficult. Lie down, lift your shoulders off of the ground and bring your left knee toward your right elbow. Repeat on other side for 30 seconds to one minute.

Reverse crunch – Lie flat on the ground, lift your shoulders and head up while fully extending your legs (keeping them one inch off the ground.) Bring your legs toward your chest before pushing them back out.

Toe touches – This exercise doubles as a hamstring stretch (another area where runners can get tight.) Lie on your back and bring your legs to a 90 degree angle. Lift your arms toward your toes. Keep this movement controlled to make it as difficult as possible.

Seated Twists – Sit in a ‘V’ position with you feet crossed and twist your upper body from left to right. Remember to pause and hold at center.

Plank – The key with the plank is to keep your back flat, if you can do that–you’re getting the most out of the exercise.

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Low-maintenance running workouts

Fartlek, roughly translated from its original Swedish, means ‘speed play’. These workouts can be as structured as you’d like so runners can head out and do a few pick-ups with friends or simply mess around with pace during their solo run. During the winter time a Fartlek workout is idea when conditions aren’t. When you’re on a solid patch of road of trail, pick up the speed and when you hit some snowy ground, then take your rest. This workout allows you to play with pace and can mimmic a tempo effort without the structure of intervals.

If you were supposed to do some speed training, do hill repeats instead. Hills are a valuable part of any training program, regardless of the race distance or the time you’re aiming to run. Hill workouts provide a number of benefits to make you a stronger, faster, more efficient and mentally tough runner. If you’re looking for a structured hill workout, check out this video of the Bowerman Tack Club doing their repeats. If you want something a little more low-key, then find a hill and structure your own workout. Remember, hills aren’t about pace, they’re about working hard but maintaining good form.