So many people despise the treadmill. Of course, there are so many things about running outside that are wonderful. There’s the fresh air, varied terrain, and opportunities to mix up your route. But there are plenty of downsides to outdoor running and many ways you can benefit from hitting the treadmill.
At the end of my pregnancy I arrived home from a run and announced that I was done running outside and would only run at the gym until the baby was born. I got sick and tired of crossing intersections where drivers were texting or only looked in one direction before turning on one way streets. I’ve crashed into the back of a car that rolled through a stop sign and just this past week I was yelled at by a woman who turned at a red light where it was illegal. She was mad at me for crossing the street when I had the green light. It is times like these when you can appreciate the safety that a treadmill offers.
We had some slippery ice last week that made running outside unsafe. The treadmill allows you to run in any weather and not have to worry about your step. This also helps in the fall when leaves cover the sidewalks and hide potholes and uneven ground.
Sometimes it is nice to just turn on iTunes or some trashy TV and not have to think about anything. Just crank up the pace and go. Or crank down the pace. It’s totally up to you. Being able to catch up on your favorite shows also keeps you from making excuses to get your run in.
I love to do speed work on the treadmill. So many people talk about how boring this machine is and I am here to tell you that it does not have to be that way. At all!
When I hit the mill, I like to do pyramid runs or intervals. It helps pass the time, cranks up my metabolism, and makes me a stronger and faster runner. During the winter months, it would be unsafe to do my speed work on icy sidewalks or trudging through snow. The treadmill offers a great place to get these training sessions in and be able to effectively monitor my pace.
Try starting at a slow pace and building up every minute until you hit your max. Then gradually take it back down to your slow pace. Continue this building up and fall back until you have finished your goal time or distance. Or start with a slow jog for a few minutes and then enjoy intervals of 2 minutes at a fast pace followed by 1 minute at your preferred slow pace. Try doing this for 20 minutes and finish with an easy mile at jogging pace. You will love how fast your workout goes by.
The rules have changed for the treadmill. Gone are the days where it is recommended that you run at an incline. Keep it nice and flat and you will still gain benefits.
Treadmill pacing is often different from your usual pacing and all treadmills are a bit different. While you might enjoy running an 8:00min/mile outside, that might feel super speedy on the mill. Find what your preferred “fast” pace is on the treadmill and roll with it. Keep in mind that while 8:30 on one treadmill feels right for you, it might feel hard on another. Certain brands of exercise equipment feel different than others. Trust your body and find what feels comfortable for you and stick with it.
Winter running can be difficult and the treadmill can become a helpful tool to get through these next few months. Take advantage of your music and TV options. Switching it up for a few months will make your return to the outdoors even more fun in the spring.
How do you survive winter running?