Household running

When Covid hit and the gyms closed up, I cancelled my gym membership. Finances got a little bit tighter around the same time for us, so the timing worked out well in that way. Soon after, we had our second child, and our lives got that much busier.

So I’m looking forward to getting back to the gym, but for the last couple years I’ve been making do without.

One of the best times for me to get a bit of exercise in is during my kids’ quiet time in the afternoon. Strength training is pretty straightforward (eg with calisthenics), but cardio is trickier. Of course I can’t leave them alone in the house while I go out for a run!

So it’s been a slow process, but I think over time I’ve figured out a pretty decent way of going for “a run” without leaving the house and without access to a treadmill. I thought I’d share in case it might be useful for anyone else.

The first step is finding the longest uninterrupted stretch of floor in the house; the stretch of floor can have a bit of a curve, but there shouldn’t be any corners. And of course “longest” will be relative. The length doesn’t actually need to be very long.

The next step is to figure out how to run that section in a figure eight pattern (even if the loops are small and don’t happen until close to the end of the length of floor). This helps me feel like my muscles and joints are being used more evenly than if the run was more of a circle or oval pattern.

The last step, I think, is the trickiest one. You fluctuate your speed to adjust for the space. This is the one that is hardest to put on autopilot. The temptation will be to do the entire run at the same speed, which means, at the speed of the slowest part of the run. What’s better (though harder) is to choose a good speed, and then slow down for the parts where it’s necessary to slow down (eg for the loops at the end).

If you do all those things, you can go for a pretty decent run without ever leaving your house or needing to buy a treadmill!

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