Monday, January 26, 2015

Virtues of Treadmill Training

Over the last four years, I have learned the virtues of treadmill running.  Prior to obtaining a treadmill (so graciously gifted to me by my friend John) I could never have imagined how a treadmill could actually become a useful, let alone enjoyable, as a training tool.  Obviously winter time reveals the treadmill's utility more readily, but I have found it to be a viable training tool year round.

Reasons to use the 'mill:
  1. Avoidance of the cold, dark, morning runs.
  2. Avoiding dangerous ice and all the perils that entails.
  3. Steady state tempo runs: The treadmill won't slow down, so you can't either!
  4. Recovery runs: Decreased pounding/impact.
  5. Injury Rehab: You can stop at the first hint of pain/discomfort . . . instead of limping miles home.
  6. Time Crunched: You can sneak in a training run any time.
  7. Hill Training:  All the benefits of the uphill, but no injury-risking down.
  8. Catching up on TV or movies.
My Favorite Treadmill Training Runs:
  1. Commercial Intervals:  Pick-up the pace for the duration of a TV commercial.
  2. Steady-State Tempo
  3. Long Runs: Ok . . . so not my favorite, but I have a streak of four years running a marathon on the treadmill.  Usually on a nasty Saturday in February where running 20+ miles outside is equally detestable.
  4. Hill/Tempo Combo:  2M Warm-up, then for each 0.25-mile I increase the pace by 0.1 mph and every 1-mile I do a quarter at 6% grade (btw: I always keep the grade at least 2.5% to take it easier on the motor).
Anyone else have any love for the treadmill and/or favorite workouts?


  1. I love/hate my "Treadmill Death March" workout (run as many vertical feet as you can in 60 minutes). Over the years, as I've become a better TM runner, it has essentially turned into a vertical mile challenge. Bottom line, if you can run 5,280ft of climb in 60 mins, you're in great shape. Usually I'm "settling" for 4,800-5,000ft, but when the training is going well and I get a couple of these Death March sessions in a week, I can redline it for 5,300ft+. I think my PR was somewhere around 5,400ft when I was doing 3 of these a week to get ready for the VT Long Trail.

    1. Very interesting Dan. I'll have to give that work-out a try. Sounds like a good one . . . thanks for sharing!

  2. I do love the 'Dreadmill' for certain workouts. Especially tempo runs. I really have a hard time holding a tempo run pace steady. And hills. When I want to do a lunch run at work, but need hills, I'm all set. Also, I can eke out 5 miles if I must on the 'mill, but if I go run outside, the traffic lights won't allow me to get quite as much in.

    1. I agree; if I'm pressed for time I can just hop on and crank out some miles. It' funny though -- my mind never gets the same relaxed feeling from treadmill running that I get from running outside. I guess my legs, lungs, and heart don't care though?