Training Tip Tuesday – Don't Dread the Treadmill

It’s that time of year! The temperatures are dropping, and daylight is getting harder and harder to come by. What is a runner to do?

I know you see it in the corner. It is probably laden with dirty laundry…or maybe clean laundry. Or maybe it is under boxes of crap. Yeah…that treadmill. I sometimes refer to it as the “dreadmill” because some days, that is honestly what I think of it.

Fancy clothes hanger.

Fancy clothes hanger.

But you know what? I got on it the other day and it actually wasn’t all that bad! In fact, I found it rather gratifying! Why? Because I didn’t have much time that day. And it was dreadfully cold and windy outside. And I knew it would take me a half hour to dress for the run let alone run the run. I was in my shorts after finishing my P90X workout…why don’t I just hop on the treadmill?

Here are some great things about the treadmill.

  • If you have it in the right place in your house, you can watch TV while running. Maybe watch a cooking show, or catch up on The Biggest Loser.
  • You can practice different running methods, like the 3:2 Breathing Technique or practice inhaling through your nose instead of your mouth.
  • It is a great way to test drive new sneakers so you can still return them if you need to!
  • You can practice controlled paces.
  • You can practice form, foot fall, arm swing…all without the distractions of your environment!
  • You can do a quick 30 minutes any time of the day.
  • You can STILL wear shorts!
  • If it is long enough, you can walk Fido, too!
Remember this?

Remember this?

Yeah, some of them might be stretches, but that darn machine sure comes in handy.

Today, for instance, I just finished up P90X but wanted to get a little something extra in. I did a quick 30 minute treadmill run without having to face down the 30 mph winds blowing outside my front door. I just wasn’t in the mood today.

So here is how it went.

  • Minute 1: 3.6 mph walk
  • Minutes 2-5: 5.5 mph jog
  • Minutes 5-8: 6.5 mph jog
  • Minutes 10-20: 7.0 mph run
  • Minutes 20-25: 7.5 mph run
  • Minutes 25-30: 6.5 mph jog
  • 3 minute cool down walk

I felt like I accomplished something…ANYTHING…where otherwise I would have just ditched the run for the day. I also concentrated on breathing in through my nose, as this is something I have been working on the past few months. And, I was able to work on straightening out my feet as I noticed recently I’m getting a little “duck” footed.

And it kind of reminded me of all I accomplished last winter on the treadmill while training for Grandma’s Marathon. Treadmills are a great way to practice goal paces. Typically, paces vary according to distance. Being able to run a minute slower a mile to train for a marathon as compared to a 5K isn’t as easy as you think. You are always tempted to…and will…run faster than what you intend. A treadmill will control that for you. You can run it, grow accustomed to it, and when you are ready to take it outdoors, it is ingrained in your brain.

You can also do some pretty decent hill work, as long as your treadmill inclines…which most do. Many of them also come with some great built in programs to follow. You can program in your weight, pace, incline, etc. and pump out a pretty decent run.

More talented runners can study or read while on the treadmill.

More talented runners can study or read while on the treadmill.

Some things to remember when it comes to treadmill running:

  • It’ll wear out your shoes much faster than road running so a second pair might not be a bad idea.
  • DON’T stop whilst the treadmill is running. Especially if there is a wall behind you. (Don’t ask.)
  • If you set up a manual run, be sure to up the incline to 5%-1/5% to mimic outdoor running.
  • Don’t be tempted to grab a snack while on the treadmill. Sipping on a cup of coffee won’t work either.
  • If you can’t watch TV while you run, crank up your tunes!
  • If you are really talented, you can catch up on a good book while you run! Better yet, dial up a podcast or audio book!
  • You’ll have to manually enter your miles into your phone app or Garmin since they believe you haven’t run a step.
Don't drink coffee whilst on the treadmill!

Don’t drink coffee whilst on the treadmill!

I like to save my quick, short runs for the treadmill, and occasionally swap out a long run, especially when I want to train using marathon pace or heart rate training. It is just easier to control.

So don’t dread the treadmill. In the end, it may be your only hope for getting that run in!

Do you have any special treadmill workouts to share with us?

3 Responses to Training Tip Tuesday – Don't Dread the Treadmill

  1. Mandy says:

    Great tips! I typically loathe the “dreadmill”, but plan on using it more often this winter to improve my pace!

  2. runswithpugs says:

    You’re a rockstar. I can just see how not stopping with the wall behind you can be a good tip. 😀 I’m a poor treadmill runner, and we don’t have one in the house, which is probably for the best as I’d most likely end up injured. I wish I was just a wee bit more coordinated.

  3. I’m not going to lie…. I dread the treadmill. Last spring I started out running on the treadmill and got such bad shin splints. We will see this winter cause once the snow falls I won’t want to be outside…. It gets way to cold and windy sometimes.

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