Getting ready for the year aheadAfter running the Portsmouth Coastal Marathon on Sunday December 23rd 2018, I put away my runners for the best part of two weeks.
A decent period of rest was much-needed over the festive season.
The need to chill out was only heightened by the fact it took some time to recover from the race, given the elements and conditions had taken a toll.
You get to know your body well over the years, especially when it is tired and needs a reboot.
With an important year of running ahead for me, I tend to always factor in a period of time (usually a fortnight or more) to press the reset button. I’ll do exactly the same mid-season.
That said, I don’t completely switch off during a break in play.
In fact, quite the opposite. As I do everyday, I’ve been completing strength, flexibility and mobility exercises, as well as hitting the gym regularly.
The focus has been on strengthening and rebuilding every aspect of my body, working key muscle groups with various routines from top to toe.
For long-distance runners, it’s vital to have a strong foundation and base in which you can rely on; and one in which will rapidly reduce the chances of injury later on in the year.
Below, I’ve listed a variety of exercises I undertake – many from the comfort of my own living room, (especially) if I’m short on time to access the gym or unable to rely on the weather (like I had become accustomed to doing while living in Dubai!).
It’s worth mentioning that I make my sessions fairly short, sweet and sharp (max: one hour), focusing solely on my specific routines and fitness work, without any distractions like a phone and social media.
I vary the following exercises each and every day, easing off on some; and increasing repetitions and endurance on others – but this is an overall snapshot of the physical work I do to keep me ticking over.
The only piece of technology I have with me during a workout is my trusty Garmin Forerunner 35, which keeps track of my timings.
– Lots of dynamic, free-flowing and easy stretching – starting with my arms and all the way down to ankle functionality.
– Key focus on hip mobility and rotation, as well as firing up quads, hamstrings, calves and the pelvic area (core).
– 4 x 2 minute plank holds, building in different variants – such as side leg extensions, kick-ups (using power in glutes), bringing legs into the chest and suspension work.
– x30 raised sit-ups
– x20 leg to mid raises
– Split squats – complete interchanging amount of repetitions; going on how I feel. Add in weights and alter position of back leg (i.e. raised).
– Step-ups – Using a board or physical steps, and driving the hips through.
– x100 dynamic press-ups, using bars (at home)
– Pull-ups (wide and reverse hands) – In gym
– Tricep dips – In gym
– Squats (front raise) with varying weight. Prefer to keep it nice and light; focusing on the technique and movement pushing up and down.
– Normal squats, in addition to kettle bells.
– Light work on indoor bike and cross trainer
– Foam roller work, with heavy focus on lower and upper back, in addition to quads and calves.
– Hold stretches for longer and repeat.