Stationary Running without a Treadmill

Although trail running was my primary form of endurance exercise in college, it was also limited. I only had the chance to hit the trails when I visited my parents' house in the province.

This was during weekends or the semestral breaks from the university. And for the rest of the year, I stayed at my aunts' house in the city.

I was already doing strength training with an improvised barbell, and found my level of endurance wanting. The streets in the city were always busy and so I didn't want to run outside.

I was just a poor student on a budget and so couldn't spend much. That meant no bikes and no equipment.

Appropriate Indoor Cardio Exercise

Although my aunts' house was spacious, there was no place to run within the lot's compound. And so the decision to do cardio exercise in an area near the dining room came easily. I also did my school work at the table in this area.

Jumping rope is one exercise I did fairly well and so I brought my jump rope to my aunts' house. The first time I swung the jumprope there, I already knew I was looking for trouble.

My aunts were fond of vases and figurines to adorn every nook and cranny of available wall shelves and dividers.

And I concluded that a misstep with that jump rope was sure to quickly break one of these porcelain ornaments into a hundred pieces.

So what else was left to do other than to just do stationary running? Decades ago, stationary running was one of those standard exercises done right after stretching and warming up to calisthenics.

Nowadays, the term sounds foolish, considering the variety of cardio exercises and equipment now in vogue. Say "stationary running" now and everybody immediately thinks of running on a treadmill.

How I Performed Stationary Running

It was quite simple, really. I already did trail running and my body has been well adapted to the running motions.

I positioned myself in a corner that was out of the way from the usual foot traffic. The last thing I needed was to get distracted by my aunts who just love to sweep the floors, dust and wipe clean almost everything in sight.

To "run", I mimicked my usual running style by heaving the chest as needed and swinging the arms just as I normally would do in trail running. A wall mirror that was a couple of meters to my right side was invaluable.

That I was always able to check and correct my posture and running gait while running in place.

The feet, though a few inches away from each other, were together and never moved forward. The feet did not completely lift from the floor.

The balls of the feet remained planted to the ground and it was only the heels that moved up and down.

The knees, up to the hips slightly twist to compensate for the feet's fixed position on the floor. Everything else, from the waist upwards, were moving the way the body parts of a runner would.

Motivation to Stationary Running

Since I was always on the same spot, the scene never changed. Believe it or not, the running reflection on the wall mirror to my right kept me company as I "ran".

I suppose moving images could easily trick your mind into thinking there's somebody there other than yourself. I'd break a sweat as I normally did and could go running this way for an hour or so.

Music from radio on top of the table kept my mind a bit occupied. It was only from the radio's FM band. A cassette tape recorder would've been a luxury at that time.

The music source didn't matter much to me because my mind would be "in the zone" after 15 minutes of stationary running anyway. Yup, with my trail running experience, I've developed my mind to go on automatic pilot and block out anything else as I ran.

Go ahead, post your comment below!

violette said...

Thanks so much for this!!! I'm in exactly the same situation as you are and i don't have any equipment or treadmill to aid my running and I don't have the time to do my running outside the house and I figured that i should just run indoors but the question was how? and then i came across your post. and it gave me an idea on how to do it. thank you for this one! This will really help me a lot to keep in shape! :D

Anonymous said...

For years i had the problem in the winter months with the cold and snow and the ice and could not run.Not anymore ! I have tried the method you describe and it was great!You are smart! Thank you for sharing your knowledge!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your write up! I found it very helpful to me and my situation!