Despite all of the failures that came this past year, I’d say one of my favorite successes has been finding and creating so many new workouts. While looking through my training log from the past 12 months, I am remembering all the best workouts I tried, especially before marathon training, and I’m eager to get back to them in the new year! I created a list for myself of the best workouts I tried in order to get them all in one place.
Prior to these past two years, when my running obsession was first coming to fruition, I spent all of my time getting miles in and working up to new goals I’d set for myself. I ran 5-6 days a week, and on the days I wasn’t running I did nothing else. I completed a few stretches after each run, but aside from that, I was either running or doing nothing. During this time I found myself in physical therapy two times (in 1 year!) and couldn’t understand why my running was not improving.
Fast forward two years, and I have finally figured out the secret:
Balance (aka – cross training)!
Running is awesome, don’t get me wrong. But there are so many other great workouts that help out those muscles you are missing on the run! I am proud of all the workouts I tried this year, and can confidently say that I am 1000% stronger than I was when I first started running (even while running lower mileage). I can’t wait to continue this trend in the new year, and definitely plan to incorporate a huge variety of the best workouts on those off days from running.
Some of these workouts are specifically targeted for runners – they incorporate moves to strengthen those running specific muscles, or are workouts to test out on your run. However, most of these workouts are perfect for anybody! Whether you’re trying to lose weight, find cross training options, maintain fitness, or start running for the first time here are some of the best workouts to try out. And my favorite part about all these workouts, is that they are free. Yahoo!
Here are my 13 of the best workouts to incorporate into your fitness plan in for the new year.
The Best Workouts to Try in 2018
- Runner’s World Yoga: This has been consistently one of my favorite cross training workouts this year! I completed one of these yoga sessions every Monday during marathon training and it helped my running so much. There are plenty of different options on their website, from yoga for beginners, recovery, abs, and more! This is such a great resource.
- 15 Minute Complete Core Workout: I love love love ab workouts. One of my favorite areas to workout is my core (probably because it helps me feel a little less guilty from all the ice cream I’ve had, haha). This workout is quick and efficient, and always leaves me with a great burn! (Or checkout this Ultimate Core Workout for a Flat Stomach).
- IronStrength: This is the workout I credit to the beginning of my realization that running is not just about running. I remember the first time I completed this workout I could not walk for 6 days. Literally. Since then I have gotten better at these moves, but they still leave me shaky and sore by the end. I love how this workout is incredibly challenging but too hard that it makes me want to give up.
- The 30 Minute Interval Workout to Increase Your Speed: I definitely plan to get back to some regular speed work this upcoming year! These tempo and interval workouts are the ones I completed while I trained for my PR half marathon, and they helped me cut nearly 20 minutes off my time. My favorite part about them, though, has to be that they are all really short workouts but so effective! (And check out these 4 tempo run variations for another speed workout option)!
- 8 Minute Abs: I think I have every line of this video memorized. The guy on it is so happy that it makes me happy just listening to his positivity. Everyone has 8 minutes, right?! This is my go to ab workout when I am short on time.
- 30 Day Plank Challenge: This year I’ve discovered the joys of workout challenges! After the marathon I was struggling a little bit with having no goal or scheduled workouts to look to at the beginning of the week. Completing a few workout challenges really helped me stay motivated, and this plank challenge was seriously a challenge! I do feel that my core is much stronger after completing it, so it was quite an accomplishment.
- Running Hill Workouts: Again, I’m really looking to have a purpose for each and every run this upcoming training season, and hill workouts are another great way to do it. Speedwork in disguise! There area where I live is really hilly, so it’s very easy for me to find somewhere close to complete these runs.
- 15 Minute Dumbbell Workout: My arms are by far the weakest part of my body, and I really want to help change that this year. For some reason, completing cardio, leg and ab workouts seem so much easier than any arm workouts! This workout is the only one I am able to motivate myself to complete, because I can complete it in my living room in just 15 minutes.
- Runner’s Strength Workout: This was my go to strength workout during marathon training, and has been for the past two years. I learned a lot of these moves in physical therapy when I was recovering from running injuries, and they have stuck with me ever since. This workout isn’t so intense that it will leave you sore, which is great if you have a run scheduled the next day, but it definitely does the trick!
- 45 Minute Spin Workout: Last Christmas I got a spin bike as a gift, and absolutely loved it in the winter! When running didn’t seem possible because of bad weather, the spin bike helped me get in a similar cardio workout. This workout especially really gets my heart pumping and I can’t wait to get back at it in the coming months. (There is a 30 minute option as well)!
- Hip & Hamstring Workout: The two weakest running muscles for me are definitely my hips and hamstrings. These are always the areas where I feel ‘hot spots’ during training, and the areas that are hardest to stretch out. This workout targets these areas and helps maintain consistent strength! (Check out this resistance band hip strengthening workout for more options).
- 25 Minute HIIT Workout: If you’re looking for a workout to get your heart pumping and burn some calories, this is it. HIIT workouts always make me feel like I’ve really accomplished something because I walk away from them ridiculously sweaty. This is another great substitute for cardio that you may be missing due to the weather!
- Alphabet Workout: This workout is one of the most fun ones, because you never know what moves you’ll end up doing. You can make it as short or long as you’d like, depending on what word you’re spelling. I can’t wait to incorporate these moves throughout the week!
I could keep going, but I think 13 will do for now. Those are my favorites of all the workouts I tried this past year, and the ones that I already have scheduled into my fitness plan for the new year! I can’t wait to get started with a fresh plan and endless possibilities.
Check out some more workout options:
- Pyramid Workout for Runners
- 15 Minute Bodyweight Workout
- Lucky 7s Dumbbell Workout
- 14 Workouts Runners Will Love
- Full Body Toning Kettlebell Workout
Or download the 4 Week At Home Workout Plan here for FREE!