With many runners in Vietnam currently unable to go outside to train, multiple race champion Đỗ Trọng Nhơn shares how he is training indoors.
(Please note that Nhon’s level of training is suitable for the more hardcore among us, so you can reduce the duration of the plank/stair sessions according to your own ability – editor)
While the pandemic situation is affecting much of the country, social distancing according to the government’s guidance is something that we, as runners, can follow to contribute to repel the disease.
However, like many, I personally worry that not being able to do outdoor activities will affect endurance, skills, and the progress I have accumulated for the next races. Some people might even lose their sleep because they can not go out to train.
So, in order for the training to happen and at least help us maintain the lowest level of workout if possible, I have built a training plan based on the available space and equipment that I have. My space includes stairs I can climb, so this plan is most suitable for those with stairs, but that aspect could be replaced with other activities.
Planning helps us stay motivated to maintain fitness and avoid exercising too little, or even too much, which may lead to unnecessary injuries.
Through these 14 days of social distancing, I have done many strength exercises and run or climbed stairs to maintain my strength.
Strength training exercise tips
Always do a warm-up (5-10 minutes) before doing main exercises. Especially if you train in the morning after waking up, the warm-up must be done carefully.
Always do stretching after doing exercises.
Use motivational music; a watch that records your workout performance; a clean mat; some basic or creative equipment. Wear an eye-catching workout outfit or do a livestream video to share with your friends…. this can be a great way to stay motivated and mentally refreshed.
Like running, strength exercises require the right training techniques and structures to make the training effective, so it is best to have an online coach or use an app to guide us.
Stair climbing Tips
Always warm up and stretch before and after training to avoid unnecessary injuries.
For the first 5-10 minutes, climb slowly for your body to become familiar with the rhythm.
Personally, to train the aerobic system (similar to easy runs), I climb slowly and almost walk step by step throughout the session (always paying attention to the heart rate on my device; when my heart is above zone 3, I will actively slow down).
To train for the anaerobic system (similar to the interval runs), I will run up and down the stairs continuously (at this time the heart will be a bit high and fall in zone 4-5 mainly).
To train for the calves – a very important muscle group for running in general – I will run up on my toes, meaning the calves will work a lot.
To train for the climbing muscle group such as the upper thighs and hamstring, I will climb two steps or run two steps at a time, meaning the upper and hamstring muscles will work mainly to push and pull the body up to the stairs.
Running or walking up the stairs depends on your physical background, training goals, and other aspects like stair structure, step height, airtight or with air-vent, bright or dark. Everyone has his own training method. Don’t run too hard when you first climb stairs as you may then just think stair climb is the most terrifying session. To be fair though, I’ve been practicing for the whole year and I still find it very challenging and hard 😊
After a stair climb session, Achilles, calf, upper thigh, glute muscles… will be very tired or even get stiff as if you are going uphill in a trail race. That is the usual positive tiredness during training. Take 5-10 minutes to massage with foam roller everyday and you will recover faster.
Lastly, I wish you all an effective and fun indoor training period! Keep the best spirit and health, so that we will meet each other soon on the trails.
Read more about Nhon in our Q and A with him here.