I’ve gone through many phases of my feelings about the treadmill.
When we lived in Pennsylvania I began to learn to love the treadmill a little bit more, because during the harsh winters it really was my only option. I learned how to accept it and make the most of it.
However, once we moved to Virginia I no longer turned to the treadmill as often because I didn’t need to. I didn’t neglect it completely; in fact a lot of my workouts during my training for Kiawah were done on the treadmill.
Depending on who you talk to, you will get mixed reviews on the benefits of the treadmill. However, I believe it is a critical tool when it comes to running and training because let’s face it life happens.
If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll notice that a lot of my tempo runs have been on the treadmill lately. I came to the decision last week that it was more important to get the workouts in, than keep trying to struggle outside.
Why was I struggling so much outside? Oh, I wish I had an answer for this one.
- Heat and humidity
- Early morning fears
- Lack of mental stimulation (having to run the same course over and over)
- A lack of some mental strength
I probably could keep listing some things for you, but I’m really not 100% sure. We’ve had an increase in robberies in the city lately plus a house on our street even got broken into about a week ago, so early morning running by myself has been a bit harder. I am on a lot higher alert and some days I just want to feel comfortable. If my husband can go out with me for part, I’m good; however when I’m by myself due to his work schedule I tend to opt for the treadmill.
I’ve found myself not being proud of my workouts on the treadmill because I felt I was getting “help,” but then I realized it wasn’t about what I was doing the workout on it was about the effort I was putting forward.
Here are a few tips for treadmill running:
There is a lot to be said for effort based running; however most us are focused on hitting a specific pace. Since we don’t have to ups and downs of the road (and other weather related conditions) to battle against the pace probably won’t feel as hard on the treadmill.
I try to make sure if I am doing a tempo or workout that I am more focused on the effort I am putting forward, not just hitting a specific pace. My goal marathon pace is a 7:35; however the 9 and 10 mile tempo runs I have done lately on the treadmill are varied between 7:35-7:13. I usually change the pace around every 5 minutes or so. I am going based on the effort; not on pace alone.
Test Your Treadmill
One of the worries I always had was: Is my pace even accurate on the treadmill?
Here’s a simple way to test it:
- Measure the length of your belt (or look it up in your manual)
- Put a mark (tape, chalk, etc.) on the treadmill
- Set the treadmill to a specific speed
- Wait a few minutes for the treadmill to catch up to speed
- Start a timer as the mark passes through the front of the treadmill
- Count how many time the mark passes in 1 minute
- Repeat the measurement 2-3 times to make sure results are consistent
- Multiply the number of times you counted the belt passed times its length in inches
- Take that number and multiply it by 60 (this determines how many inches the belt moves in an hour)
- Divide that number by 12 (to determine how many feet it moves in an hour)
- Divide that number by 5,280 (to determine how many miles per hour)
- Compare that number to what you set the treadmill on when testing to determine how accurate it is
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Play with Pace/Speed
This is one of the easiest ways to make your time on the treadmill go by faster. I usually always have my home treadmill at a 1% incline.
At the gym, I can usually vary it between 0.5%-2.0%. Mixing up the incline and the pace can make it mimic more of the road and help the monotony go by.
Don’t Think About It
Just like without outdoor running, don’t think about how far you go. Think of getting to “x” point. I focus on getting to my next speed increase or next time I drink water rather than thinking of having to get through 10 miles.
Listen to Music/Podcast
I don’t get to listen to music when I run outside early in the morning, so that is a big added bonus when it comes to treadmill running.
I’ve also been really enjoying Podcasts lately which I usually save if I have to do an easier run on the treadmill. They make the time fly by.
You could also watch your favorite show or movie, though I’ve never been a fan of watching anything while running.
I believe you get what you put into the treadmill. You know what effort you need to be running at, especially for speed and tempo workouts.
The only downfall to the treadmill is not getting to practice the mental toughness that running on the road can often require, so when you can try to get some of the tough work done outside; however don’t beat yourself up if you are forced to run on the treadmill due to family, children, early mornings, bad weather, etc. The important thing is you are getting it done!
Do you run on the treadmill?
Have you ever calculated the accuracy of your treadmill?