If you're used to running outside, and the colder weather has forced you to exercise inside, working out on an indoor track is a great option. Many gyms and health clubs have them, and one reason they're a pleasure to run on is that their surface is spongy, so it's easier on your joints.
It's the closest you can get to actually running outside because you're using your own muscle power to propel yourself forward, unlike running on a treadmill. While running in circles might feel a bit boring, you can easily keep track of your distance, and you know it's accurate. Who knows if cardio machine displays are all that precise?
The only downside to jogging on a track is that it feels quite repetitive. If you're interested in learning some great ways to keep it fun and fresh,
- Do interval training by sprinting the straights and walking the curves, or vice versa.
- Run in the opposite direction. If you're constantly running clockwise, you're working one side of your body more, which could result in an overuse injury. So alternate between clockwise and counter-clockwise. Just be on the lookout for other runners, since this is a little against track protocol.
- Do walking lunges around the track to strengthen your thighs and glutes, open your hips, and stretch your calves.
- Make your legs and core work harder by walking or running with high knees.
- Run sideways. Turn your body so the outside edge of your right foot is facing the direction you want to move. Take a step forward with your right foot, then step your left foot to meet your right, and repeat. Move as quickly as you want, doing one lap with your right leg leading, then another lap with your left. This is great for toning your outer thighs.
- Jump rope around the track. This is best done when the track is less populated for obvious reasons.