No gym tactics

Hello everybody!

I am starting a training regime for a 40 mile race in a couple of weeks, really excited! Partially a personal belief decision (why should I pay for a gym?/our ancestors never had them and were most definitely better athletes than me), partially due to the fact that I can't do weights anyway because of my funny back and see no point to pay 30 quid a month just for a treadmill and some mats, I called my gym membership quits.


I am in the final year of my degree at the moment and decided the best way to marry a big volume of training with a big volume of work on campus was to run to class everyday, taking detours of course to rack the mileage up to 50/60 m a week. I'm sure I'll have hurdles along the way and it won't be all so easy and beautiful, but I'm determined to train 'naturally'. Now I know some people hate this approach, and its sentimentalism is somewhat annoying, but this is a decision I really thought through, and I base it on many many reasons, quoting, amongst some, financial and health - related (as I mentioned, my back doesn't tolerate weights. Neither does it tolerate yoga.* Lucky me, it loves the all-warming, all-relaxing muscular properties of a long run.)


I'm sure some of you pretty people at some point trained with limited access to a gym. I'm getting a Garmin watch for Xmas so all my intervals will still be timed, I'll also be doing fartleks and hills. I do have a pool membership (which I really love and find the water soothing), and I access to the gym in my hometown where I travel most weekends, but lack of the gym during 80 % of my training will definitely change things up. If anyone has similar experience, did you find your running bettered or worsened with a similar approach? What is the golden ticket to still keeping my body strong and injury free? Is it terrain variation? Can you guys recommend drills/strength exercises (body's own weight only) which can prevent muscle imbalances? In fact. I still want to do strengthening exercises once a week to keep injury at bay, which ones are best and what regime worked for you? Does anyone have experience with pilates, and does it help running? 


The bottom line is I suppose, I think exercise should be play, and when I run, I'm having a blast - which isn't the case with the gym, so I thought, there's no point in me being here, and I'm just going to have to find ways to train efficiently anyway. 


That's a lot of questions, but I believe in you guysimage


*PS regarding the infamous back: Discomfort/tension/pain issues for past 5 years. Complete mystery. MRI Scans and Xrays performed and it is confirmed there is nothing medically wrong with me (no scoliosis, no slipped discs - literally nothing). Oh well. I probably have an unexplained temperamental back for life, and marathons have no negative impact on it, so I'll keep doing them anyway.


  • I don't do weights either but I cross train with cycling.

    Don't overdo the speed - you can rack up the miles but make sure you're not running them too fast. After all you are training for a long distance event and not a 10k.
  • PS are you kidding starting a plan for a 40m race in two weeks? 

    Or do you mean you are starting the plan in the next couple of weeks, and the race is way down the line? 

  • Haha booktrunk I'm crazy but I'm not that crazy. Event is in 4 months. What I mean is that I am returning to more serious running after a 6 weeks break I took after the Dublin Marathon, so I'm gonna take two weeks or more to build up before I go into more regular serious mileage. 


    Anyone know any strength drills/routines you can do with just a yoga mat and stability ball?



  • lowrezlowrez ✭✭✭

    Here are a couple of links that come with some mild warnings from me.

    I too am looking for a way into doing something in addition to just running, which is all I have done mostly for many years but learned the hard way that you really should do some other stuff at least based on flexibility, release and core. It doesn't take much to keep your body balanced, but running and only running over the years will take its toll if you don't address these other areas - imho.

    The fine people at runners world published this recently, for someone who has done nothing along these lines before the reps on these are far too high in some cases, just take a look at them and initially try to stay on your feet and understand the range of movement described once you've done that you can start to "do them properly" and build reps:

    I have not looked at the stuff in this specific 30 day thing, but I have done other exercises that this gang publish. They know their stuff, again,I would approach it cautiously prior to jumping in and doing anything with gusto if you aren't used to them:

    Basically you need to protect your running routine first and introduce the above slowly but you should benefit from these and end up a more resilient balanced runner, less likely to fall prone to injury. Your swimming will be helping with this too already.

    Last bit - I have a sports massage, just the legs, weekly, when I have lots of mileage accumulating, monthly during "ordinary" training to keep any accumulated issues away - that could chew up your saved gym membership fee easily, but I think its worth it.

    Good luck with the ultra - have you entered it yet? Which one is it?

  • Lowrez - you just beat me to it, I was about to recommend the Kinetic Revolution 30 day plan. It was recommended to me by a physio and I'm currently on day 12. It starts off quite gently with some stretching stuff, then you get to day 7 and it really ramps up. I'm feeling a differece already (I have issues with lopsided glutes).

  • for me the best way to avoid injury is to keep the running slow..very slow for the vast majority of it...and only run fast in a race or if you want to do specific speed sessions or parkruns.....

    with the back find a backpac that is comfortable.......for me its a saloman vest that I use for ultras and I can pack the minimum i need for uni in it....

    I keep showering stuff and clean clothes at uni...and I usually cycle in but I have ran it....

    make sure you dont run with a heavy load or your temperamental back will not be your friend  



  • Hi lowrez - big thanks on your long and detailed reply. The articles look very reasonable. I couldn't agree with you more, I especially notice it after a particularly challenging few weeks of nothing but pounding away that I find I can feel a bit used up, like the wear and tear of my legs is causing an overall body lethargy. In those times, even the variety of an easygoing aerobics class really helps, mentally and physically. That's why I wasn't sure about quitting the gym at first, but more and more I've been becoming convinced of one thing - that I could be putting this money towards better things (and although I've had trigger point therapy, funny enough actually ever had the pleasure of a sports massage! Unless it isn't 'pleasure' but more 'pain'image


    Running Rodent - if you're benefiting already at day 7, I will certainly be trying it! That's great news it's working for you, don't know what exactly is bothering you with your glutes, I did have my right IT seriously inflame before when during the more intense part of marathon traning I though it would be a good idea to play a charity football match. Sudden start/stop running motion and the next second I couldn't put weight on my right leg without feeling like the outer side of my thigh is screaming at me. I've been very attentive to my glutes on the foam roller ever since, and though it's a general recommendation and I'm sure you've heard it a million times, foam rolling properly (not just skimming over the sore parts, if it hurts, it works) is painful but easily the most effective DIY physiotherapy. 

    seren nos - you're probably right, I think I'm going to have one speed session a week but other than that take it easy. I am very competitive (with myself, mostly) so find it hard to chill and run slow from beginning to end but especially considering the pace and length of the ultra, it will have to happen. Sounds like your commute to uni is pretty awesome! 


    And the event is Connemarathon in Galway, 40 miles along the beautiful Wild Atlantic Way in April. Hopefully we get good weather, because in Ireland, I mean you could be going through all four seasons in one day. 





  • PG3PG3 ✭✭✭

    Another thumbs up for kinetic revolution, they have plenty of drills and exercises where you shouldnt need a gym.  The first link that lowrez sent is pretty good too.

  • I'm going to have a look at that kinetic revolution set.

    Re. Pilates, yes, I've tried it. I do think it's helped me - and not just my running: it's also kept back problems at bay. And it's something you can do alone wherever you like, once you've had some instruction.

  • Snap!Snap! ✭✭✭

    I'm going to have a look too. Sounds great.

    Ref the OP's original, Q., I also don;t like gyms and stay out of them. Yours sounds like a good approach and for busy people its''about fitting the miles in where you can and AVOIDING INJURY, which means building in rest times. Good luck.

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