The lockdown and pandemic have set a lot of training programmes upside down. Initially, no one could run unless it was on the treadmill or around the garden and then there was the weird 3 hour training window that felt like a race every morning. Now at least there is a 12 hour window that most people can use to get their running programmes back on track. However, we all know that a strength conditioning programme is vital to any running programme. Gyms have now been closed for just over 3 months with no opening date in sight. Currently the regulations suggest that fitness facilities will only open in level 1… so what do you do about your strength training?
Yes, you can do your strength training at home but do you have the diligence to get it done and with the correct form? There is always something else that needs to be done or something that distracts you whilst at home and your strength training ends up falling by the wayside. This is one of the many reasons why having an online trainer can be so valuable. An online trainer or virtual trainer is a personal trainer that gives you sessions via an app, such as Zoom or Google meetings, on a device connected to the internet as they would in a gym setting. They can be done either individually or in groups but instead of meeting somewhere, you are in the comfort of your own homes.
An online trainer can help motivate you to keep focused during these trying times. With all the race cancellations, it is sometimes difficult to look ahead and stay focused. They hold you accountable to get your training done. It’s the same as going to the gym, where you have booked and paid for an appointment, so it is in your calendar and has to be done. Only now you just have to switch on your device and the session can be done in your home or garden. No more sitting in traffic to get to the gym… bonus!
You don’t need equipment to have an online session, believe it or not, your trainer is a creative mastermind. Body weight sessions will help keep your muscle tone or build what’s been lost and will help to prevent injury when you start racking up more mileage (burpees don’t use any weighted equipment). Our cores are the first thing to go when not training and this can lead to some painful running problems down the line. It is of great importance to keep up this part of your training at least twice a week, to prevent any future problems that will stop you from running. If you have basic equipment that’s great, your trainer can incorporate these, but household items can also be used to improvise weights, medicine balls and other gym equipment. Your duvet can be folded and used as a mat. Plastic bags with canned food can be used as weights and bags of flour or maize can be used as medicine balls or sandbags. Just don’t do wall balls with them…
Online trainers also give a social aspect to your training session as they would in the gym, which takes the monotony out of a home session and passes the time quickly. You will regain more fitness and strength in a short time as muscle memory is a wonderful thing and feel fitter and faster on the road or trail in no time.
When gyms eventually reopen you can then decide which option works better for you and either continue seeing the trainer online or move back into a gym setting. You could even have the trainer come to your house instead, if they offer this service.
Our lives have been turned upside down and we don’t know when things will settle down again. Adding some normalcy and routine back into your schedule can go a long way to keeping your fitness routine on track, and the fact that you can do this from the comfort of your home. You will be feeling alive and whole again and start setting some new PBs in your virtual races that your trainer has got you ready for. It’s the way of the future, for now, embrace it.
Bronwyn is a Personal Trainer and Performance Coach at Paceline Gym and Performance centre. She assists runners with personalised running and strength training programmes and offers face to face or Zoom sessions for guidance and technique assistance. Read more about Bronwyn here