5 Effective Running Alternatives For Runners

Molly Hurford
by Molly Hurford
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5 Effective Running Alternatives For Runners

It’s snowy, icy, rainy, slushy or it’s too darn early or late for any sane person to be outside running. Or maybe you want to get a workout in that helps your running but isn’t running. Maybe, you need something quick because you’re traveling. Whatever the reason, you don’t always need a treadmill or a trail to be a fit runner.

Try these five indoor alternatives:



Of course, you can use the stairclimber at the gym, but if that’s not available, all you really need is a wooden box. Use that to do a hard set of stepups that will get you prepared for running uphill. If you want a solid 30-minute workout, pick a great playlist, warm up with a few stretches and some walking lunges, then alternate 1 minute of stepping up and down (alternating legs) with 1 minute of another exercise, like jogging in place or jumping jacks to keep your heart rate up. It’ll feel like the hardest 30-minute workout of your life.



Similar to stepups, jumping rope is another great fast workout alternative when you’re time- and space-crunched. Warm up by doing a quick set of dynamic stretches or a brief yoga flow, then alternate jumping rope for a minute with another exercise like walking lunges or air squats, followed by a minute of something lower-impact like a plank hold. Repeat this 3-minute sequence 10–15 times, and you’ll be sweating like you just ran a 10K.



If you already own a road bike, you can get an indoor trainer, or you can hop on a bike at the gym. If you don’t have much of a biking background, simply use perceived exertion or heart rate to mimic your run workout for the day, pedaling hard for 1–2 minute-intervals then easier for a minute for a few cycles; shift to an easier gear for warmups and cooldowns.



Consider taking an extra recovery day by doing some runner-friendly yoga. Many gyms offer yoga, and there are plenty of free videos available online, or you can design your own practice based on your tight spots. Either way, your body will thank you for using your run time for some productive bodywork.



Try deep-water running using a flotation belt. It’s an especially great alternative if you’re trying to overcome a nagging injury and want to give your legs a lower-impact workout. Check out a few different workouts to get you started.

About the Author

Molly Hurford
Molly Hurford

Molly is an outdoor adventurer and professional nomad obsessed with all things running, nutrition, cycling and movement-related. When not outside, she’s writing and podcasting about being outside, training and health. You can follow along with her adventures on Instagram at @mollyjhurford.


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