When we think of treadmill running, most of us instinctively look down on it as a second-class form of running. But there are times weather, travel or other circumstances will have even the strongest opponent to the treadmill line up and start pushing the buttons for a workout.
Regardless of where you fall on the treadmill love/hate spectrum, running indoors can be incredibly effective. First off, treadmills are safe: no uneven terrain, no scary dark streets, no icy patches or road running. Second, treadmills are convenient: they allow you to have all your food and nutrition, you can multitask with news and/or music, and they are located in almost every gym on the planet. Finally, treadmills are simply consistent: not only do you get the same run every time, but you get to run in a temperature-controlled environment with similar terrain and conditions.
Inside Marathon Nation, each marathon training schedule is built around quality workouts. Think intervals, repeats and specific paces. Once the winter hits and the snow starts to fall, our athletes are faced with the no-so-fun prospect of trying to hit specific zones in less than ideal conditions.
The treadmill is the default winter weapon of choice to make sure that we can incrementally increase the workload and ensure increased fitness regardless of the weather outside. Having treadmill access means you have zero excuses for missing that next run workou.
Let's take it one step further and see how you can make your indoor running insanely effective instead of something you just do to kill time until the temperature comes around.
Running indoors when it's cold outside can be logistically challenging. To make sure you are 100 percent ready for a great treadmill workout, you'll need to have all the right gear and equipment to handle the indoor temps.
Treadmill Clothes : Regardless of your pace, you'll most likely get your sweat on. As such, we recommend a well-fit technical T-shirt and a quality pair of shorts. Wear your regular running shoes — just make sure they are clean. Additional items to consider could be a sweatband (old school but effective) or wristbands (also to catch excess sweat).
Treadmill Gear : Given the indoor nature, you'll want to keep yourself well-hydrated and as dry as possible. An easy to use waterbottle that you can operate with one hand is critical, and keep the water as cold as possible. A hand towel is also a good idea (I use a face cloth from home), just to wipe your face, hands, and arms as needed. If entertainment is your thing, you'll want earphones to plug into your fancy treadmill—or at least your own music source if you are on a regular treadmill.
Warm Up Right
It's all too easy to just jump on the treadmill and start cranking away at your set pace. This is forgetting that when you run outside your body naturally rolls into its optimal pace. Here's a basic warm up to help make your workout as safe and effective as possible:
- Walk for 3 minutes: Start easy and build it up to a brisk walk in the last minute.
- Jog for 3 minutes: If you know your marathon pace, this effort is about 1 to 1.5 minutes slower per mile.
- 3 x 20/40s: This is 20 seconds fast, 40 seconds recovery. Goal here is to get the blood pumping and have you ready to hit your intervals / training session at 100 percent.
And let's not forget about cooling down, too. Ideally you'll be able to walk your run out. The basic golden rule here is one minute for every mile run; a five-miler will net you about five minutes of easy walking.