Active Travel



The Best Indoor Workouts For Distance Runners

Apr 28, 2020 | Cross Training, Running, Running Advice | 12 comments

Have you seen those runners who have completed marathons on their balconies, in their driveways or around their gardens? On Sunday Tom and I joined them by running 131 laps between us in our garden, completing 2.62 miles for the London Marathon #TwoPointSixChallenge.
I know how disappointed many of us were when all of our spring and early summer races had been cancelled, although it was obviously the right thing to do. We can’t control when things will be opening back up, or races re-started (fingers crossed that the autumn races can still go ahead, although I’m sure that race directors and local governments will make the right choice nearer the time). But we can take control of how we respond to it all, how we adjust our training and work on our mental strength.

Indoor Workouts For Distance Runners

At the time of writing, in the UK we are allowed out for one bout of exercise per day, whether that’s running, walking, or cycling. I’ve seen quite a few runners swapping out their outdoor run for family/dog walks, meaning that indoor workouts are key for keeping up fitness (and even more so for those countries where running outside isn’t allowed currently!) Here are some of the best workouts you can do in your house/garden during this period of lockdown, either to complement your weekly running or to supplement some of your miles whilst we aren’t on our usual schedules…

Peloton bike home gym UK

Indoor Cycling 

Whilst I’ve struggled to motivate myself to get out to run recently, I am loving jumping on our bike each evening as a chance to work up a sweat, reduces stress and spend 20-30 mins of downtime once I get home from work.

I know not everyone has access to a spin bike at home. They can be pricey and take up a bit of room, but there are a variety of options available to suit a number of budgets, plus pay monthly options. I also know that some local spinning studios and gyms are renting out their bikes during lockdown – my friend borrowed one from Digme in London.  Another option is to get a turbo trainer for your road/hybrid bike. Again there are different options available depending on budget, and these can be the perfect solution if you don’t have a huge amount of space or don’t want to fork out a big amount for something you might not use a lot in the future.

For those that have an indoor bike, there are a number of apps that you can follow for a great workout;

Zwift – a virtual online training platform that allows you to ride anywhere in the world (and in other worlds!). With options to ride in the desert, up a volcano, or as part of the Tour de France. Ride alone or ride together – this app is part of many cyclists indoor training plans, with over 1000 workouts from guided intervals to help build strength, endurance and speed. The app is £12/$14.99 a month with the opportunity to cancel at any time.

Peloton – if you’ve seen my instagram recently, you’ll know that I’m a little obsessed with my peloton (sign up here to my email to find out why we decided to buy a Peloton). You don’t need the bike to use the app, and right now they’re giving a free 3 month subscription for access to the bike, yoga, hiit and running workouts. It’s usually £39 a month for an all-access pass or £12.99 for just the at-home-app, so definitely worth taking advantage of this freebie while you can!

(I’m planning on doing a whole post on my Peloton experience when I’ve tested more workouts and had it a little longer, but if you’re thinking about it, or have any questions, feel free to DM me. And the code FMHYD3 gets you £100 off your shoes/weights/mat in the UK, US & Canada).

Apex Bikes – New to the UK market, Apex Bikes are available this Summer in four colours (the navy looks super sleek!) Starting with an £120 deposit, the £1200 bikes utilise your own iPad or iPhone to keep costs low. The subscriptions are £30 a month, although for those that get in early, Apex are offering 12 months free. Their instructors are from Boom Cycle (I thought some of them looked familiar!)

Echelon is another company to look at although they are temporarily sold out, and SoulCycle announced that their at-home bikes are now available for pre-order.

Instagram Lives 

A number of trainers and studios that I follow on IG are generously providing regular live workouts. Whilst it may be a little overwhelming to log in and see so many LIVE IG’s at the top of the app, it’s just about finding the right one for you. And they last for 24 hours! If you can’t make the actual live workout, you can do it at a time that works for you (somehow I didn’t know this and only found out yesterday!)

Alice Liveing – posts regular live workouts plus saved home workouts on her feed for you to follow at anytime

Barry’s Bootcamp – multiple lives hosted by their trainers everyday, there’s something to suit most fitness ‘red roomers’

Lily Sabri – her workouts are perfectly scheduled so that you can do them in the UK, on the East Coast USA or on the West Coast!

Run on the Spot? 

Ok, bear with me on this one. When I was in Israel a few years ago, I was given the chance to try MoonRun    It allows you to workout virtually at home (or from anywhere!). It is a portable, aerobic trainer that has been designed by a physical therapist to reduce body weight impact – you sort of lean forward into the harness and run! You can use it with Zwift, Arcade Fitness or their own MoonRun app. As well as running, you can squat, jump and twist. I wonder if you could also recreate a somewhat budget version with a TRX!


For those lucky enough to have the space and finances to have a treadmill at home, it’s a great way of maintaining running fitness and endurance during lockdown. (I would imagine that treadmill sales have increased recently!). Utilise the treadmill to complete intervals to work on your speed, crank up the incline to replicate hill work, enjoy a gentle run whilst catching up on Netflix or get your long run done while your kids/dog/partner sleeps! You can also use apps like Zwift and Peloton to make those treadmill runs more interactive.

We have the NordicTrack treadmill in our gym/shed and I love it. I’ve used it a lot over the winter months and Tom has been running 5K a couple of times a week. Treadmills can be very pricey and bulky, but there are a range of options to suit many budgets and spaces! Prior to our NordicTrack, we had a folding treadmill that we were able to store in our sitting room and cost under £500. Let me know if you’d like a full post on Pros/Cons of having a home treadmill and options at different price points.

Try one of these 30 Minute Treadmill Workouts 

Home treadmill Nordictrack

Stairs/Step Ups 

Remember step-aerobics? (is that still a thing?) Well, they were on to something.

Why it works for the distance runner? Firing up your quads, glutes and hamstrings, this single leg exercise reproduces the pounding our legs take on when we run, alongside the drive forward/up with our arms. It demands single leg postural stability, co-ordination, and dynamic control of hips and core/trunk area. It is a staple in many rehab programmes and can be used effectively by most runners. You can upgrade it with weights or slow it right down to suit your fitness/strength levels.

I found these awesome drills from Nike Training Club and created a Pinterest Board with a couple of other great step drills/workouts.


Circuits are designed to work the whole body through a series of exercises, combining high intensity, heart rate raising CV exercises with strength/resistance moves. You can use body weight or equipment such as dumbbells, medicine balls or resistance bands to improve overall strength and fitness.

If you’re anything like me, strength training is often forgotten about somewhat when it comes to marathon training, and yet distance runners can become stronger, faster and reduce risk of injury by working the core, legs and back. Many of us also neglect our upper body, which we use to propel us forward and help us keep form on longer runs. It is also important for runners to work on incorporating upper back/shoulder/arm exercises within a circuit which can help get a full-body workout and make us stronger runners in the long run (pun intended!).

I’m kind of doing the Strong in Spring programme (although instead of 3-4 workouts per week, I’m doing 2 and making the challenge last 2 months!) but Danielle Pascente has some incredible workout plans with circuits that will leave you dripping! There are plenty of modifications if you’re new to strength training, and can be scaled up or down.

Give my friend Amanda’s ‘Strength Moves For Runner’s Circuit’ – no equipment needed a look!

How are you exercising during this time? Are you using your outdoor time to run or are you making the most of home workouts? 


  1. Eleanor

    Hi Charlie, Pros & Cons of treadmills/treadmill review would be great 🙂

    • charlotte

      Glad you’d be interested!!

  2. hikki

    Hey Charlie, did you ever try the Peloton treadmill runs? Or not something you think you’re into?

    • charlotte

      I plan on giving them a try but haven’t got around to it just yet!

  3. Sheryl Reitter

    Love to have a full on post on in home treadmills please!

    • charlotte

      Sure, will do! The nordictrack website wasn’t working for me yesterday but will try to get one up next week!

  4. Miranda

    I would also love a review/post on home treadmills. Impossible to buy one at the moment but preparing for our cold winters. Xx

  5. Miron@ROD Gerberowa Koszalin

    Hi very nice blog and interesting posts. Stairs are very great for leg strength. You can do everything on them, just by using your creativity. Jumping, one leg, both legs, sprints, foot work (karaoke kinda), burpee jumps, knee jumps. Try it you wont regret. Godbless.

  6. Md. Mahafuzur Rahman

    Wow!, its very helpful for us, Thank you for this post

  7. Linda

    Very helpful. Would love more info on the pros and cons of treadmill as I’m thinky of investing. X


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