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:
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!