Enhance your marathon training schedule by running treadmill
27 May, 2019 • by Alex Hong • Running • Tips
It is definitely not impossible to train for races utilizing both the treadmill and the great outdoors.
Treadmill running is not quite the same as road running but, you have to deal with what you have available and with some adjustments, you can make it work for you. Treadmill running is easier than road running for a number of reasons:
- The treadmill belt assists leg turnover; this means you are able to run faster on a treadmill than you can on the road.
- Treadmills are located in air-conditioned rooms; therefore, you are running in ideal conditions: no wind, no heat, no humidity, and subsequently, no weather conditioning.
- The running plate on the treadmill gives more than a road or sidewalk, so when training solely on a treadmill, you miss some of the soft tissue physical adaptations made when running on the road.
The perception of the treadmill as the domain of beginners is outdated. Its ability to simulate courses and produce exact paces in a controlled environment gives it a decided advantage over outdoor junk miles. It's why Olympic runners and their coaches have embraced the machine for years.
Elite runners and coaches to find their favorite treadmill workouts and the purpose behind them. With everything from tempos to hills to long runs, you're certain to find something to keep you inside during the long months ahead.
Treadmills provide the following benefits for marathoners
- Good practice for running cadence
- Create a hill workout at the touch of a button
- Convenient and safe environment
- Can be an entertaining environment if access to media
- Easy access to fuel
- Consistent pacing for intervals and tempo runs
- Great mental training for focus and heart rate control
- Specificity if training for a treadmill event (they do exist)
- Forgiving running surface
- Excellent tool for the safe and gradual transition to barefoot running
Common workouts for you to train on treadmills
- Speed interval training: Run short intervals faster than race pace, then recover at a slower speed and repeat.
- Hill interval training: Run at an increased incline for a short segment of time, then recover on a flat surface and repeat.
- Pyramid workouts: Similar to speed or hill intervals but each interval involves incrementally increased effort (either speed or incline) to a set goal. Then the intervals involve incrementally decreased effort until the end of the workout.
- Tempo runs: Run at a challenging but steady pace for a set amount of time or mileage.
Few tips to help make your treadmill run a success
Set your treadmill at 1%, and leave it there - while there is some debate among experts regarding the equivalent effort required on a treadmill to mimic outdoor conditions, 1% is a good compromise and you will easily adapt to this minor shift in incline without putting much extra strain on the calves and hamstrings. Don't expect this adaptation to take place overnight however, but more likely over several weeks
Don't let your ego ruin your workout - some of you will know exactly what I'm talking about if you train regularly on a treadmill at the gym. A runner gets on the treadmill beside you and cranks it up, tempting you to crank up your treadmill. Resist the temptation to let your ego take over your workout. When you are marathon training on a treadmill, you may be in the middle of a 60 mile training week, and Jo fitness beside you might run a total of 2 5ks a week at a blistering pace to get his 'cardio' in. Focus on your goals and forget the rest!
If your gym has time limits on the treadmill, put in the full amount of time allowed and then take a break to do other cardio exercises. Add indoor or outdoor running, walking, elliptical, or rowing machine. You can even hit the stairs and do incline training in the stairwell.
You can even combine the workout by doing some of the mileage on a treadmill and then suiting up and doing more of it outdoors. Running outside for long runs also means that you won't have to deal with getting bored doing double-digit miles on the treadmill.
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