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4 easy ways to improve your running when you’re time-crunched

Time-crunched? Wish you’d got more hours in the day to into your pre-hab and training? Here are 4 tips to help you make the most of your time.

Use your time efficiently with these training hacks

Training takes a lot of time and life gets busy. I often do NOT have time to do all the exercises I should to keep me strong and injury proof. I definitely don’t have time to dedicate half hour sessions to rehab, prehab like I used to. I want to be spending that time doing something much more important, reading with my kids, or sleeping.

I have learnt to make the most of my time by incorporating four exercises into my day. They help directly with running, take hardly any time at all, and I can do them simultaneously with daily tasks.

1. Calf  / ankle Stretch + drinking coffee or catching up on social media

Calf stretch while drinking coffeeI used to be able to wake up in the morning, roll out of bed, put on my trainers, and go straight out the door for a run. Now I need coffee and have very tight ankles, calves and achilles.

So, every morning I wake up and walk around abit barefoot. I make myself a coffee and, whilst drinking, do little knee bends forward, and then forward and to the sides. Also I roll my feet to the sides, in and out. This is a really gentle stretch in the mornings and strengthens my feet (I try and walk around barefoot as much as I can in general).

2. Blind balance while brushing teeth

running hacks  - blind balance while brushing teethBlind Balance is a pilates exercise.

Whilst barefoot, I stand nice and straight, take one foot off the ground slightly and balance on one leg – easy. Then I close my eyes – a lot harder. I try to imagine an iron rod running from the top of head to the bottom of the heel.

My proprioceptors have to work like crazy to tell me where I am in space. My ankle and foot twitch non-stop to compensate for lack of vision. This is a fantastic exercise to strengthen feet and lower limbs, improve balance and proprioception. All of which really helps running.

I do a minute on each leg while brushing my teeth in the morning (I can’t be bothered in the evenings).

3. Standing head to knee pose + putting on socks

Instead of hopping around like a fool in the dark, trying to put on my socks every morning; I throw a bucket of Dandayama Janushiransa (the correct yoga name) over it. I lock out standing knee, carefully lean torso forward while lifting opposite knee into chest, then put sock on deliberately and elegantly.

This pose is not a joke. It really strengthens my whole leg, whilst improving balance, hip flexor mobility, and core strength.

4. Hamstring stretch + typing shoes

Really simple one. Rather than putting my shoes on while sitting down, I stand up and do it. It results in a nice, gentle hamstring stretch. I find tying shoelaces boring and often question why I still have to bother with it here in 2018. I enjoy it a lot more (perversely) when I allow myself time to do laces slowly and get a longer stretch.

30 seconds on each leg twice a day, is 14 minutes of pure hamstring stretching a week, which I would definitely not otherwise do.

 

So there it is, 4 really simple and time saving excersises that help keep me running 100 miles every week.

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Russell Bentley
Russell Bentley
Track runner. Trained in Kenya, Won the Snowdonia Marathon 2018, PB Berlin Marathon 2:20:20

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