Treadmill training is increasingly common for runners who continue to train through the winter. With frigid temperatures and icy conditions, many runners must resort to the controlled climate of the gym to run on a treadmill.
But running in place for miles is so boring! Treadmills are the bane of many runners during winter training; it's no surprise they're often called "dreadmills."
If you have an important race coming up, they might be your only option to get in crucial workouts and mileage. If you absolutely must use the treadmill during inclement weather, there are certain ways to alleviate the boredom, and ensure you don't feel like a human hamster.
Instead of just watching TV like most runners do, here are three more unique ways to enjoy your treadmill workouts.
Reuse Your Power-Hour CD
College kids have been doing "power hours" for years. The simplest version: Make a 60-song CD of 1-minute excerpts of songs. When the song changes every minute, you take a shot of beer.
We're going to play a more wholesome, healthy version of power hour. Reuse your old CD (or make a new playlist on your MP3 player), and run a power-hour workout on the treadmill.
Instead of drinking beer when each song changes, run a fartlek that alternates between an easy recovery pace and a more challenging effort like 10K or half-marathon pace.
As long as you warm-up and cool down for at least 10 minutes each, this leaves you with 20 minutes of faster running. If you have a heart-rate monitor, this workout should average about a tempo effort (85 to 90 percent of your maximum heart rate). Plus, you get to listen to 60 of your favorite songs.
The Boil the Frog Workout
There's an old folk warning that if you put a frog in boiling water, he'll jump right out. But if you put him in cool water and slowly raise the temperature, he won't even realize it. It's been proven false (and creepy), but we're going to do a similar experiment on the treadmill.
Start running at your normal comfortable pace. Every five minutes, increase the pace by about 10 seconds per mile (press the "increase speed" button twice), and increase the incline by .5 percent.
Do this every five minutes for 30 minutes, and you'll soon be running a minute-per-mile faster at an inline of 3 percent. Once you reach this level, reverse the order and slowly go back down to your starting speed and incline.