Although we all would love to be able to run outside every day throughout the year, let's be honest about where we live. Upstate New York has some pretty harsh weather at times and there are times when a treadmill run is unavoidable. So how do we keep motivated when they are forced to run on the ‘mill?
If you just set the treadmill at one pace and run for an hour staring at a wall, you’re not going to find what brings you joy. But there are ways to make your treadmill experience a little more interesting.
Vary the pace and incline
Use the treadmill for a hill session. When you use the treadmill you should always set the incline a little (about 1%-1.5%) to better replicate running outside. To make the time a little more interesting throw in a few steeper inclines throughout your run!
Have a Plan
Running on a treadmill with no real idea of what you’re going to do, you are likely to feel less motivated. Go on the treadmill with a clear plan of what you are going to do, whether that’s distance, duration, or intervals - have a plan.
Have some Entertainment
Don't run in silence. Listen to a podcast, watch some Netflix, or put on some bangin' a$$ music to fly to.
Hide your Screen
If you watch the clock tick away on your screen or the line going around the track, you’re in for a very boring workout. It will feel like time is standing still. Cover your screen with a towel and just don’t look!
Try virtual running (like Zwift)
If you’ve not tried Zwift yet, it could be just the thing you need to stay motivated on the treadmill. Connect your Strava or Garmin Connect account, and run in real-time with others around the world. You will need a treadmill and a footpod to connect to Zwift. Then you need a device (tablet or phone) to run Zwift on.
Here are some treadmill workouts to make the time fly by:
Have you ever gone to the derby and watched a race? You probably noticed that you did not see any horses stretching before the race. Horses, our puppies, and other animals do not stretch before or after they run. Now, at your last half marathon how many people did you see in the corral stretching? It seems to be something that only we humans do. When I first started running, our group would stretch before our runs and after our runs. It was portrayed to me that in order to prevent injuries and to improve the quality of my workouts, stretching should be performed before and after each run. But was that really
The great stretching controversy. Since elementary school gym class, most of us have stretched prior to any athletic activities. We were taught that it would prevent injuries, improve performance, and reduce muscle soreness. Depending on the type of activity and the type of injury we’re trying to prevent, it is true, yes, stretching may play a safety role. If the activity includes power or springing movements, stretching can reduce injuries by increasing the compliance of tendons and improving their ability to
absorb energy. However, for lower intensity activities (that don’t include bouncing) such as running, cycling, and swimming, stretching doesn’t prevent injuries as we do not need our tendons to be compliant for these activities.
Stretching before strength training may limit how much weight lifted by an athlete because stretching affects the ability of their muscles to contract effectively. Stretching has a minimal effect on how sore someone feels after their workout. The harder or longer someone exercises microscopic damage occurs to the muscle fibers. These microscopic tears are a normal part of training. In response to the muscle fiber damage, our bodies get inflamed as blood travels to the site of the damage, the blood bring white blood cells the area to begin healing process.
An important benefit of stretching is to increase a joint’s range of
motion. When the joint is flexible the muscles are able to move dynamically through their full ranges of motion, which is important for runners. Stretching to increase flexibility, done alone and not as part of your workout, will make your running more effective. Higher weekly mileage and your long run has the potential to shorten and tighten you muscles, implementing a stretching routine throughout the week can help keep your muscle primed for your long run - before, during, and after.
Several factors that influence our flexibility:
♦ Joint functionality: The type of joint will determine the range of motion.
♦ Age: With age, muscles can shorten from a decrease in physical activity and a loss in elasticity in the
connective tissues surrounding them.
♦ Sex: Females tend to be more flexible than males of similar age throughout life, mostly due to anatomical variations in joint structures.
♦ Exercise: Exercising on a regular basis generally increases flexibility. A more sedentary lifestyle decreases
♦ Temperature: An increase in either body temperature or environmental temperature increases range of motion. That’s why it’s better to stretch after a warm-up.
Tempo runs, long runs, intervals, hill repeats, and strength training - with the amount of workouts needed to propel your running it sometimes seems that in order to run well, you would have to leave your job and be a full time runner. Luckily, there is a simple plan you can follow to maintain your training and run well - you just need to "periodize" your training.
Training Cycles, or "periodization", in your running is when we divide a training cycle with a specific goal in mind so you don’t do the same type of workouts all the time. Think of this like the "ebb and flow of hard work". Training cycles are often 12, 16, or 20 weeks phases. Periodization is the process of dividing your training into smaller periods of training where the emphasis, or the objective, of the training is altered during each period.
These cycles are broken up into high volume, easy running (base phase), low volume, hard running (preparation), race specific, fine tuning, taper phase, goal race (peak). These three phases are then followed by rest & recovery. Breaking your cycle into these phases allows you to combine the benefits of multiple workouts that collectively add up to peak conditioning. When variety is introduced into your training, you limit your chances of plateauing and/or becoming injured. Periodizaton is planning and the goal is to give you the best possible chance of peak performance at a certain time. You're always more successful when you plan.
What does each phase do for your running plan?
The Base Phase
Building a base develops endurance, the foundation of any distance-running plan. Investing in easy miles at a conversational effort will build a solid aerobic base. High volume of low intensity running and workouts.
Phase 1: BASE
This phase emphasizes easy miles. You are building a base by increasing miles and adding some speed and strength work.
Base Phase Workouts:
The Preparation Phase
This phase is a lower volume, higher intensity, short workouts. This phase also adds a layer of speed by introducing tempo runs and long repeats. When you implement these workouts into your training you are strengthen the ligaments, muscles, and connective tissues which prepares the body for the demands of faster running.
Phase 2: PREPARATION
Preparation means strengthening the body for the fast running to come. You continue to build endurance through long runs, but a few of your easy days become tempo miles or hill repeats.
Preparation Phase Workouts:
The Peak Phase
Race specific, fine tuning, taper phase. Hitting your peak is defined by short, fast workouts that simulate racing. These workouts fine-tune the speed you began in the preparation phase by further recruiting fast-twitch muscle fibers, improving running economy, and strengthening muscles and connective tissue.
To peak for key races, mark your race on a calendar to map out your base, preparation, and peak phases. Each phase should be four to eight weeks long (you can extend the base or preparation phase beyond eight weeks. Do NOT extend the peak phase, this will send you into fatigue and injury). Roughly every fourth week, recover your body by reducing your miles by 10% to 50% and ease up on strength training. After your peak/race, you work your way through another periodization - starting with the base phase.
Phase 3: PEAK
GOAL: speed. Gradually increase the intensity of your workouts and reduce the overall volume (miles/hours) by about 10%.
Peak Phase Workouts:
Endurance: The long run. Maintain your endurance by keeping your long runs slightly shorter than those in Phase 2, depending on your race goals.
Speedwork: Focus on short, fast repeats. You also have the option to run tune-up race that is shorter than your main event.
Strength: You can continue your strength training once a week, maintaining the same weights and reps or replace strength training with hill repeats one time instead. You also have the option of putting weight training off until after your race. Do what is best for your peak performance.
A little friendly competition to reach your goals or to squeeze out one last 400 meter is welcome but when does competition begin to become unhealthy? Competition is a foundational and essential component within the running world and it is viewed as a positive way to catalyze athletes and produce high levels of inspiration and athletic performance.
However, it is not just in the racing world where we find competition. Almost all human beings are naturally competitive and have an internal drive to gain an advantage over another in some form. So where does it end? When will we be satisfied? Using money as an example: as wealth is gained, a person's sense of happiness doesn't correlate–if everyone became richer, no one got happier. This is because in this case, people’s happiness stemmed from their relative amount of wealth when comparing oneself to others. The same can be said within an elite racing field or a recreational marathoner.
The difference between healthy and unhealthy competition really comes down to your frame of mind and attitude about your success and other people’s success. If your competitive nature is not kept in check you are likely to gain an unhealthy sense of competition which can leave you feeling disappointed, unfulfilled, and inadequate.
What is unhealthy competition?
Needing validation and attention. When competition is motivated by your desire to get attention and validation from others, this stems from a place of insecurity and low self-esteem. This weaker foundation negatively impacts your ability to perform and compete at the height of your true potential.
Putting down others. Competition can become even unhealthier when it becomes tearing other people down.
Winning at any cost. Unhealthy competition puts a huge emphasis on an outcome, rather than finding value the journey
Productivity level is lost if you are looking around the gym or the start line wishing you were more like someone else. If an athlete is confident and secure with themselves, they are not worried about what anyone else is doing.
What does healthy competition look like?
Unlocking your personal potential. Healthy competitors are far less concerned about how they stack up against the field, and are more interested in reaching new levels of personal potential.
Honoring mutually held values. If you think about sports and sports teams there is an unspoken unity drawing the individual players and teams together – a sense of shared values. Shared values like perseverance, grit, hard work, fairness, and integrity. Healthy competition emphasizes these values rather than the individual's benefit.
Enjoying the journey along with the outcome. Effective competitive environments recognize the value of the journey. When the focus is not primarily on the end goal, more attention is paid to the wisdom gained in the process of getting there.
When other people succeed, the best thing you can do is to take away elements of their work that inspire you and incorporate them into your own routine, while leaving out the things you don’t necessarily connect with. Then you engage in your own self-improvement. As a healthy competitor, focus on yourself and your progress without concerning yourself with others who have similar goals.
Firstly, why should a runner incorporate strength training?
Bodies that are strong, lack imbalances, and have stability do not break down as much. The output of power increases and the body is more resilient in its training. In general, runners who lift weights have better running form and are less prone to injury. Running is a limited and repetitive motion; but, most runners know that including cross-training, stability, and balance into your regimen will help to compliment the continuous use of the same muscle groups that's required for distance running.
Strength training can help to improve your running form and when you put more muscle on your bones it helps to dampen the effects of the forces put on your bones when you run. In order to build strength, you need to load the tissue enough to challenge the body and force it to adapt. If you are an athlete that often suffers from stress fractures, weight training can help you out.
There are a lot of runners whose strength regime often includes light weights with high reps; however, running already does a far better job at enhancing endurance than lifting weights. So having a routine that is endurance-based (low weight/high rep) does little to improve both your strength and your endurance.
So where to do we start? This all goes back to our first blog article about progressive overload. Progressive overload is a gradual increase in stress applied to the body during exercise. This should occur with small increases to the following factors; volume (length of training or weight), frequency (how often are you performing this training), and intensity (how hard your training). This challenges your body and allows your musculoskeletal system to get stronger.
So, how does a runner begin their lifting regime? Establishing a base of weight training fitness is step one. Please don’t go into a gym to see what your max Squat or Deadlift is on the first day. Seek out a competent trainer that can train and progress you accordingly.
It is recommended that a training block of 8 weeks with 8-12 reps is completed before testing yourself with any sort of heavy lifting. Each week seek out to do more than you did the training session before, whether that is another rep, another couple pounds, or another set! However, don’t lift more than you know you’re capable of. A good rule of thumb is that there should always be one high-quality repetition left in reserve. All lifts should be done with good form because when it comes time to start heavy lifting, any poor habits will be magnified and can lead to injury.
Distance runners need to run to get good at running. We know that much, but that fact doesn’t mean lifting heavy is a waste of time for them. In fact, it can be the difference-maker that keeps them stronger, faster and healthier than their competition.
One of the first worries runners have about lifting heavy is bulking up. If you are a recreational , competitive runner or an elite competitive runner, bulking up is not the optimal body type for endurance races where there is an increase in the time on your feet. The benefits of adding power to your stride would be negated if it also added weight to your frame.
Let's debunk this myth. Muscle “bulk” coincides with several variables, which include fueling/nutrition (excess calories), specific, heavy training 4-5 times per week, and enough rest from catabolic activities (such as running) so that adaptation may occur. If any of these variables are not in place, “bulk” will not occur.
Specifically, you shouldn’t be lifting heavy more than once or twice per week and the vast majority of your training will be in the form of running. Therefore, the time you spend running will vastly outnumber the time spent lifting heavy. This will also prevent any excess bulk.
You may experience some weight gain, however, any additional weight that you put on, should result in more power/velocity and the ability to handle the additional load. This could translate to that final 5 to 10 percent improvement in your running you are looking for! Consider adding one or two sessions per week of heavy lifting.
The list of physical benefits from long is a long list. You do not have to look too far to find positive physiological reasons more than just merely the physical reasons. The responses the brain has to physical activity is tremendous. Some positive effects include more brain connectivity, improved cognitive function, greater chemical messenger changes, new neuron growth, more regulated emotions, and a boost in your ability to learn. Our mind and bodies benefit from running; however, is it possible that our running can benefit from our brains?
If you had to guess, how much of running is physical and how much is mental? Even if the answer is a mere 1% mental then it is imperative to learn how our running performance can benefit through mental strength. In a normal training plan, the plan is often structured to have harder days, easier days, and often one longer day. If a run is more physically demanding, it becomes much more difficult mentally. It is also true that when we feel good, we generally run well. How can we turn a difficult run day into a better day and what is your mental training strategy?
Let's consider these steps:
Find a Routine
Practicing difficult training scenarios mentally prepare you for the challenges you face on a race day. Having a routine with structured hard days that are specific to your race may calm some pre race jitters. Part of this technique is recognizing what is a superstition and what is a routine. A routine is something that truly prepares your mind and body for running. The way you fuel your body with nutrition and your warm up routine.
Leave the negative thoughts home
Our minds are only able to handle one issue at a time. Things can be as simple as replacing a negative though with a positive thought to ease your mind. Each self-destructive comment should have a positive comment to counter it. When you are running take your negative thoughts and push them aside to make room for a positive thought.
Repeat your running mantra
Using a favorite quote, singing your favorite upbeat song, or having a couple of words you really like. comes in handy when running gets hard. Repeating these words in your mind can help you gain the strength that you need. Sometimes it’s a simple reminder as to why you are out there that day. O
Turn your weaknesses into your strengths
Do you struggle to get out the door in the winter? Do you hate hilly roads? Do you dread the CNY wind? Find a way to change those weaknesses into something you can enjoy. For example, “I love the strength I will obtain from the resistance of running hills or running in the wind. I am only becoming a better runner.” A slight twist in your perspective may make all the difference. If you have a hard time doing these things it might be time to find a running buddy, make a plan, set a time, get a coach, pick a race, or treat yourself when you succeed. Once you get into a routine, you’ll start to see your goals getting closer and closer.
The psychology of the sport of running is something that cannot be taken lightly or for granted. Hopefully these ideas will help you become mentally stronger so you can continue to become physically stronger.
The long standing joke for half marathoners and full marathoners is to carb-load the night before with a big plate of pasta.
The truth is, much more planning goes into proper pre-race nutrition than just simply overloading the night before. More importantly, if you planned on doing it all in one meal, you may end up hindering your performance with fatigue, gut issues, and inflammation.
For those of you who are just starting your running journey you may be wondering, what is carb-loading? Carbohydrates in the form of glycogen are your body’s preferred fuel and for races lasting longer than 1.5-2 hours, filling up these fuel stores are key to helping you go the distance.
Athletes need carbs to maximize the stores of glycogen in their muscles and liver. Your body only has so much room for this fuel source, so carb stores are needed to help you maintain your energy. Ever hear someone say they, “hit the wall” or “bonked”? These terms are other favorites and refer to your body running out of fuel. When you run out of your energy source your pace may start to slow, your muscle will cramp, and fatigue will set in. Through carb-loading, athletes have excess carbs stored in the liver making it easier for their bodies to release during races and long runs. Carbs also help with hydration. For every gram of stored glycogen there are four grams of water stored along with it. Hydration is extremely important factor when racing.
What does carbo loading look like?
It is always a good idea to gradually introduce any new stimulus into a training or nutrition plan. Carb-loading should be no different. Runners should prepare to increase their carb intake little by little prior to their event. This will ensure you have excess glycogen in your liver for your muscles to feed from during endurance exercises.
What are some best practices for carb loading?
Typically you should start carb-loading three to four days out from a race. In general you will need to slowly add more of a mixture of carbohydrates such as rice, legumes, potatoes into your meals. As you gradually increase your intake of carbs per meal, you will want to eat less fat and fiber.
Carb heavy meals, without practice and nutrition training on the gut, can cause extreme stomach upset. Be sure not to go overboard on the carbs.
The day before the race, stick to only simple carbs that are easily digestible.
Common Mistake When Carb Loading
Consuming all the carbs in one sitting
Doing this does not give your body enough time to fill its stores properly. It can leave you lethargic for the rest of the day and the following morning!
Eating more than you usually do
You've worked so hard in your training, do not deviate too much from what you have done in your build up. Yes it is important to top off your glycogen stores but it does not mean “stuff yourself” to get fuller glycogen stores. You are simply adjusting each meal to have a larger carbohydrate component.
Don't look at the scale
Gaining weight while carb-loading is natural. That’s because carbs help you retain water. Remember that for every gram of stored glycogen, you’re storing 4 grams of water. If you gain some weight, that’s actually a good thing. It means your body has the fuel and hydration ready to race.
Eating too much fiber
As you increase your carbs, runners should reduce their fiber intake in the last three days prior to a race. This is because fiber can be taxing on the GI system.
Experimenting with carb loading for the first time
You never want to “try” something new on race day. It is best to always plan ahead of a couple of long runs in your build up with some carb loading meals so that you know what to expect and how your body will respond.
Practicing will help you dial in your carb-loading plan just like you dial in your race nutrition plan. Then, once you know what works best for you, pre-plan your meals the last three days so you cannot stress about what to eat.
Not eating enough carbs
Runners typically eat healthy and know how to fuel themselves during their training. Race week can be a slight exception for those following low carb eating habits.
Not drinking enough when carb loading
Not all carbs are created equal.
There are different types of sugars: fructose, sucrose, glucose. Different carbohydrates have different ways to reach the bloodstream. Therefore, runners need to consider of what they’re drinking with what carbs they’re eating.
“Sports drinks contains fructose, glucose, and sucrose which are different sources of carbohydrates. They contain some sodium which helps with the transportation of glucose, meaning sodium is an important part of carbohydrate utilization." Running, and more specifically faster or higher intensity aerobic running, predominantly uses glycogen which is the body’s stored carbohydrate source. Eating a high proportion of carbs in the days leading up to an important race can ensure that glycogen stores are topped up, thus providing a runner with the maximum available fuel for the upcoming hard effort.
Do all races require carbo loading? No.
The body has enough glycogen stored to last for about 75-90 minutes. For most runners, this equates to doing a 5K, 10K, 15k, and maybe a half marathon without having drained glycogen stores. If this is the case, and assuming you already eat carbs as part of a healthy diet, you shouldn’t worry about carbo-loading before the race. As it was mentioned earlier, eating too many carbs may hinder your performance as you may feel bloated or lethargic the next day due to the additional water retained as part of the glycogen building process and ingesting too many carbs.
Those who are running 75 minutes or more however—running a half-marathon, marathon, and ultra marathon it would be well advised to consider adding extra carbs to their pre-race diet. Again it is recommended to do this in the two-to-three days prior to the race given that you have already practiced this method in a couple long runs.
A good guideline is to aim for seven to eight grams of carbs per kilogram body weight three days before the race; eight to 10 grams per kilogram two days before and 10 to 12 the day before. This will ensure that your glycogen stores are topped up and provide you with the most available stored fuel for the race.
If you find yourself in a situation where you have not practiced carb-loading, do not worry! This will not make or break your race. It won't undo any of the training you've put in. Your race day nutrition can will play a huge role in managing your energy stores during the race.
pFor most it is the internal, personal challenge that runners seek when deciding to train for a half/full marathon. You might want to test your limits and prove to yourself that you can go the distance. Or maybe it was one of your pushy runner friends who said, “it will be so much fun!” Whatever reason you had that made you commit to the training, remind yourself of it often during the months that lie ahead. When your legs are tired or the weather is nasty, maintaining your motivation will help you get out the door.
Starting to Run
Start planning early: It is important that marathoners run a consistent base mileage for at least a year before embarking on a full marathon training program. Building base mileage for half marathoners takes about 6 months time.
What is a building a base?
A running base is like the foundation of your house. The foundation supports the demands of progressive mileage and intensity that comes with a training plan. It is the bridge that connects your racing seasons together and prepares your mind/body for the harder efforts during training and racing. When you begin a training plan, it starts out at a low level and continues to build week to week until it peaks just before race day.
One of the most common causes of injury is building weekly mileage too quickly—we cannot stress enough “DO NOT underestimate the importance of consistently running at least 20–30 miles a week regularly before committing to training for a marathon”. Start small: Running a few shorter races—5Ks-10ks before a half marathon and 10ks-half marathons before your marathon.
Deciding on that First Marathon
Marathons range from quiet, low-key races on backcountry roads to spectator-lined urban races with tens of thousands of runners. Choosing a marathon close to home may offer a "home field advantage" with the opportunity to train on the course’s roads; on the other hand, choosing a "destination" race can really stoke your motivation.
Primary Building Blocks of Marathon Training
Most marathon training plans range from 12 to 20 weeks. Beginning marathoners should aim to build their weekly mileage up to 50 miles over the four months leading up to race day. Six runs per week is adequate giving yourself one day off for recovery. The majority of these runs should be run at an easy enough pace to be able to carry on a conversation. When building base mileage, never increase your weekly mileage by more than 10 percent from week to week.
The Long Run
Your next step is to build up to a weekly long run. This should be done once a week on either a Saturday or Sunday. Your long run will extend about 10% every two weeks. Every 4 weeks, scale it back by a few miles so as not to overtax your body and risk injury. For example, you might run 13 miles one weekend, 14 miles the next, then 15 miles, and then 13 again before moving on to 16 on the fifth weekend.
A long slow distance “LSD” is substantially slower pace than usual, it builds confidence, lets your body adjust to longer distances, and teaches you to burn fat for fuel. Long runs for half marathon training can train up to 10 miles and most marathon training plans usually peak at a long run of 20-22miles. With proper training, your body will take advantage of the peak fitness state your body will be in, the recovery and rest you offer it during a tapering period, and the race adrenaline and ambience of race day will provide you the rest of the miles needed to complete your distance.
Speed work is an critical, albeit, optional, element to incorporate into your training program. Speed sessions increase aerobic capacity and make your easy runs feel even easier. Intervals and tempo runs are the most popular forms of speed work.
Intervals are a set of repetitions of a specific, short distance, run at a substantially faster pace than usual, with recovery jogs in between. For example, 6X 1 minute hard pace, with 1 minute of slow jogging (or even walking) between the repeats.
Tempo runs are longer than an interval—generally in the range of 30-60 minutes, depending on where you are in your training. During a tempo run you will run at a challenging, but sustainable, pace. This teaches you physically and mentally how to sustain challenging work over a longer period of time. Remember, it is important to always allow your body to warm up and cool down with a few easy miles at the beginning and end of any speed session.
Rest and Recovery
Rest days mean no running. They let your muscles recover from the week's workouts and help prevent the greatest enemy of of any runner - injury.
If you are really needing some activity on your recovery days, doing some cross-training is a great option. Nothing high impact.
Tapering: In the two or three weeks leading up to your marathon, scale back significantly on overall mileage and difficulty of your runs to let your body rest up for race day.
Hydrating on the run
Nearly all half/full marathons include water and aid stations along the way. If you plan to carry your own water on race day, buy a hydration pack long in advance and get accustomed to running with it. Never try something new on race day.
Fueling on the run
Many marathoners tell the tale of "hitting the wall" or "bonking." Your body can only store so much glycogen. As this level gets depleted over the course of your marathon, your muscles will begin to tire and feel heavy. Consuming small amounts of carbohydrates can help prevent you from hitting the dreaded wall.
Again, be sure to practice fueling on your training runs to see what your stomach tolerates best, so you can fuel confidently on race day.
Full/half marathon training takes a lot of time and you are running for long periods of time and usually at early hours. Joining a training group provides direction and friends for mental, physical, and emotional support, along with safety.
There are two basic ways to keep track of your running—by time or by distance. with so many tech tools designed to track your mileage with considerable accuracy it makes this debate even hotter amongst the running community. Truthfully, there are advantages and disadvantages to each method and the one that you choose should depend on your specified needs and preferences.
Running by time often works better if you are on a tight schedule; while running by distance can push you to stay motivated. If your running a consistent pace, your mileage and speed will likely be the same no matter which method you choose. A good idea is to run by time for each individual run, but be sure to track your overall mileage for the week to be sure that you are running enough miles or not running too many miles.
Running for Time
One reason to run for time is that it is easy to fit a run into your daily routine. When you only have a certain amount of time available, a timed run ensures that you can get in a workout without having to worry about hitting a certain distance.
Running for Distance
If your training for a longer event, running by distance can be an important factor. Covering a certain set number of miles each run can be motivating at times and it encourages you to keep a continuous pace so that you can achieve your day's goal.
As mentioned at the beginning of this article, it is a good idea is to run by time for each individual run, but be sure to track your overall mileage for the week. Personally I like to run 60-75 minutes 6 days a week and then have a specific mileage goal for my long run. But, when things are not feeling easy, it is nice to switch gears and make your long run 2 hours - no set mileage. Time on your feet is what matters, not pace, and not mileage - especially as a beginner.
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!