Keep you ideals high enough to inspire you, and low enough to encourage you.

Welcome to day 17. We have three more days of running challenges left in your week, and the pace has picked up. However we have offered an alternative to running today, because we understand that sometimes running just isn't going to happen. The weather is rubbish, or your running shoes are not calling your name. We've all been there, but exercise alternatives are great to consider just to get you moving!

Warm up

Complete each warm up for 30 reps

Leg Swings: Keeping one leg stationary, slowly swing the opposite leg forward and backwards in a single smooth movement. The aim here is to stretch the back of your hamstring as you swing your leg forwards, therefore after a few swings, aim for your leg to swing higher. 

Adductor Leg Swings: As you swing your leg back across, aim to drive your leg up high, opening and warming up your hip. Ensure to repeat the same motion with your other leg, crossing back and forth, aiming to open your hip high on each repetition. 

Opening the Gate: Stand tall, engage your core, and pull your shoulder blades down and back.  Move this leg in and across the centre of your body (your left knee should cross over the right leg). Abduct (move out) to the left, opening your hip as far as possible. 

Closing the Gate: Similar to opening the gate, this time you are driving your leg up out to the side to begin with, then you drive your knee and leg into your midline and down. Make sure to keep your core tight, hips pointing forward, and body still while closing the gate. 

Walking Lunges: Have open shoulders and a straight back, tuck your pelvis sightly. Stand upright, feet together, and take a controlled step forward with your right leg, lowering your hips toward the floor by bending both knees to 90-degrees. 

Kick Backs: Quickly bend your left leg behind you, almost connecting your left foot to your left glute, repeat the same motion with your right. As you begin to perfect this motion, speed it up.

Knee Drive:  Start by taking a large step forward, drive your knee up high and let the back leg also lift and drive through the back heel. Your aim to create air with both feet. Using your arms to assist with momentum. Keep working on the same leg for around x100 metres. Then practise with the other leg on your return. 

High knees:  Drive one knee up to around 90 degrees, if not higher. At the same time step forward and drive your other knee up to 90 degrees again. Move swiftly between the two along the 100-meter distance. To assist, move the arms back and forth and keep the head high and back straight. 

Running Challenge

Hill run for one minute, walk for one minute (repeat x6)

Alternative:

Skip for 1 minute straight, rest for one-minute straight x6

Today Running challenge is another hill run session. Again find a hill and run for one minute straight followed by a minute walk. This is a lengthy period of time to do a hill run, therefore really go at a comfortable pace. This will be a lot slower then your regular runs, and 1 minute may be too much for you at this stage. Implement longer walking breaks if needed. This is your most challenging run yet, so listen to your body and slow it down if it asks you to!

Your alternative is to pick up your skipping rope and skip for one minute straight then rest for one minute. Repeat this 6 times to get your heart really pumping. To help you when you skip, get your bouncy, reactive running shoes on and try keep to the balls of your feet rather then flats. Pick up that pace once you get comfortable.

Running Challenge

Hill run for one minute, walk for one minute (repeat x6)

Alternative:

Skip for 1 minute straight, rest for one-minute straight x6

Today Running challenge is another hill run session. Again find a hill and run for one minute straight followed by a minute walk. This is a lengthy period of time to do a hill run, therefore really go at a comfortable pace. This will be a lot slower then your regular runs, and 1 minute may be too much for you at this stage. Implement longer walking breaks if needed. This is your most challenging run yet, so listen to your body and slow it down if it asks you to!

Your alternative is to pick up your skipping rope and skip for one minute straight then rest for one minute. Repeat this 6 times to get your heart really pumping. To help you when you skip, get your bouncy, reactive running shoes on and try keep to the balls of your feet rather then flats. Pick up that pace once you get comfortable.

Cool down

Hold each stretch for at least one minute

3 Step Rotational Hamstring Stretch: Driving both hands down to your feet, twist your torso so you aim to try and connect with the back of your heels. Repeat to the other side. Next, take a step further in and again drive both hands around the side of your body to try and touch around the back of your heels as much as you can. Third step, take another step in, your feet should now be touching. Repeat on both sides. 

Deep Lunge leg Lift: Bring the right leg into a lunge position at the front. Lift the back left leg to open the stretch within the groin area. Create small circles or movement back and forth. Where you may feel a tender spot, bounce a little to open the stretch. Repeat on the other leg.

Foam Roll Glute:  Ensure a mat is on the floor. Pick up a foam roller and place in on the mat. Sit directly on top of the foam roller, so that its right underneath your glute. Place both hands behind you for support, and bend both legs. You can use your left hand to gently place your right ankle onto your left knee. Gently roll back and forth until you find any other trigger point in the fascia tissue. You will feel where the trigger points are by the level of sensitivity. 

Foam Roll Hamstring: Find a spot on the floor where you can roll out. There should be at least enough space for you to lie down comfortably. Place the roller on the floor and sit down in front of it. Place the back of one knee on top with the foam roller facing horizontally. Prop yourself up on your hands next to your glutes. Bend the leg that isn't on the roller and plant that foot on the ground. Walk your hands toward the roller so that it rolls up your hamstrings. Go slowly up the entire back of your leg until you get to the point where your leg meets your hips. Stop there and roll back down to the bottom of your knee. As you roll, turn your leg to the left and right to hit different parts of your hamstring.

Myofascial Pole: Using a pole or another household item like a broom, place yourself onto your knees and bring the pole to the back of the knee. Slowly sit down onto the pole and breathe through the sensation (which will be quite intense!). Hold for 15-20 seconds, slightly lift the legs up and bring the pole down by 1cm. Place weight back onto the pole and repeat further down the calf. You may find as you reach the bottom of the calf that you may ned to apply extra pressure onto the pole. You can do this with both hands

Myofascial Release with Ball: To release trigger points in the leg. Begin in a seated position. Place the ball underneath one leg. Lift the hips and place pressure onto the ball. Move in small circles or up and down until you find a specifically sensitive spot. Exhale and place extra pressure onto the trigger points of the fascia. Continue for a minimum of x2 minutes. Repeat on the other leg.

RUNNERS TIP

Ever wondered what those extra lace holes are for at the top of your shoes? If you make two loops and thread either laces through, pull tight and tie your trainers normally, then you will physically feel your shoe support increase. This is great for those trainers which may slip a little or for those runners looking for that extra support. This is called lock lacing.

Banana and Pecan Muffins

These healthy, tasty muffins are ideal for fuelling your long runs or re-fuelling afterwards. They contain less fat and sugar than traditional banana cake, and the pecans provide healthy omega-3 fats. A batch of these doesn’t last long in my house. I recommend wrapping individually in foil and freezing so you can just take out and defrost as needed. 

Makes 12 muffins

200g (7oz) self-raising flour

75g (3oz) brown sugar or honey

2 ripe bananas

50g (2oz) olive spread or butter, melted

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

4 tbsp milk

100ml (3½fl oz) plain low-fat Greek yogurt

50g (2oz) pecans, chopped

Pre-heat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas mark 6. Line 12 muffin tins with paper cases.

Place the flour and baking powder in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, mash the bananas and sugar or honey, then mix in the melted olive spread or butter, egg, vanilla, milk and yogurt, then pour into the flour. Stir until just combined. Fold in the pecans.

Divide the mixture among the muffin cases and bake for approximately 20 minutes until the muffins are risen and golden.

Banana and Pecan Muffins

These healthy, tasty muffins are ideal for fuelling your long runs or re-fuelling afterwards. They contain less fat and sugar than traditional banana cake, and the pecans provide healthy omega-3 fats. A batch of these doesn’t last long in my house. I recommend wrapping individually in foil and freezing so you can just take out and defrost as needed. 

Makes 12 muffins

200g (7oz) self-raising flour

75g (3oz) brown sugar or honey

2 ripe bananas

50g (2oz) olive spread or butter, melted

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

4 tbsp milk

100ml (3½fl oz) plain low-fat Greek yogurt

50g (2oz) pecans, chopped

Pre-heat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas mark 6. Line 12 muffin tins with paper cases.

Place the flour and baking powder in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, mash the bananas and sugar or honey, then mix in the melted olive spread or butter, egg, vanilla, milk and yogurt, then pour into the flour. Stir until just combined. Fold in the pecans.

Divide the mixture among the muffin cases and bake for approximately 20 minutes until the muffins are risen and golden.