When you hear the word treadmill it is usually followed by a groan. While it is not as glamorous as your favorite road segment or trail lined with beautiful pines, the treadmill offers many benefits to a runner.
1. Escape from inclement weather
Winter training can be difficult due to the snow, ice, and freezing temperatures. Runners often try to run outside as much possible; however, sometimes the conditions could cause a potential injury. The treadmill is a safe alternate while you weather the storm. The controlled climate also keeps your muscles warm which helps reduce risk of injury.
2. Reduced impact on your body
One big benefit is the reduction of impact compared to running on harder surfaces. Newton's Third Law states, For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. When you run on concrete or pavement your body needs to be able to absorb the forces it endures when it encounters a hard / immovable object. Most treadmills tend to have some sort of shock absorbing system that helps to lessen impact forces.
3. Mental toughness
Come on, this is a given. Running in one place for an extended period of time will make you next outdoor run feel like a breeze! You get so many mental toughness points when you are treadmill running. The treadmill is also a good place to really listen to your body and it's sensations since there may not be as many distractions or other stimulation for your mind to latch on to.
4. Race course simulation
Another advantage of the treadmill is that it can help you train for your next event very specifically. Programmable treadmills help you simulate the race course. If you know the course profile, controlling the speed, incline, and decline will come in handy on race day.
5. Netflix and run?
Sometimes it is nice to put on a good tv show or movie and let the time tick by while you are catching up on some Netflix! I wouldn't suggest a scary movie, I was watching one once and when something jumped out - I jumped and almost fell off the treadmill.
6. Amuse yourself with a workout
Planning a speed session is a great way to pass the time. Some of my favorite workouts are: a good warm up followed by increasing the pace by 0.1mph every minute. This makes me want both the workout to end quickly but also make it so that I want time to go slow (imagine that!) so that I don't have to increase my pace.
7. Even pace
When you are running outside, you will gradually slow down when you are tired, bounding up a hill, etc. However, on a treadmill you are forced to keep an even pace and in some cases an even effort level.
The treadmill can be efficient if it's located in your house or if you use the treadmill at a gym then do your core / weight training routine. Time is always important and being able to maximize your time is always beneficial.
There are so many more benefits to treadmill running that have not been covered in this article but needless to say the treadmill can be a great tool for training as well as being a safer option when conditions or time constraints may be an issue.
So next time you are on the fence of whether or not you should treadmill run, please consider some of the arguments made above and have a great run, wherever you choose!
Many runners finish their runs and immediately check their latest form of technology's data. Amongst the countless data provided to an athlete from their Garmin, Coros, or Suunto watches is cadence. So, what is cadence? Cadence is defined as the total number of steps you take per minute. An easy way to measure your cadence is to count the amount of times your feet hit the ground in 60 seconds.
What can a runner do to increase their cadence? There are a couple of things you can do to help increase your cadence. First, I'd ask my runner: "what is the main reason that you are looking to have a higher cadence"? It's true that typically a higher cadence (~180) tends to be more efficient for most runners because generally a higher cadence means that ground contact time and distance traveled vertically are kept at a minimum. However, everyone is different and what works for you may be different than others. So if you are experiencing an unusual amount of injuries or seem to have hit a plateau in your progression of training then it is possible that you can improve both areas by improving your running economy/efficiency...one of the ways being increasing your cadence.
1. Hill Running - Find a hill that is approximately 3-10% in grade (or use a treadmill) and run up it comfortably. Hills tend to promote efficient running naturally. You do not need to put in a high effort, your main goal is to increase your cadence and over time teach your neuromuscular system.
2. End your run with some relaxed but quick short strides. Similar to hill running, short bursts of faster running will help improve economy by training your neuromuscular system.
Non Running Specific:
1. Cycling in a low gear at high RPMs (aim for 95-100+) This will help mimic the turnover needed in running, but with the aid of a wheel.
2. Developmental Drills. These are used to build coordination and help get your body ready for efficient running. Some of these drills are A Drills, B Drills, Standing Cycle. These won't directly alter your cadence but they will help aid your motor skills.