Among many runners the treadmill has a very poor reputation. It is the word you never speak of. The purists who enter races and run outside would never dream of running on one. It is tantamount to cheating should you ever step foot on a treadmill. And everyone seems to agree with these points of view.
We at Treadmill Running disagree. We love treadmills and we love them for many reasons (yes more than one). We think people should embrace their treadmills. We think treadmill runs are fun. And to help those who disagree and hopefully change their minds. We've compiled a list to help make your treadmills runs more fun.
- Entertainment - OK the ipod can be taken outside. You can get your fix of the latest running songs anywhere. But a TV can not. Only a treadmill can you enjoy some TV. If you're fortunate enough to own your own treadmill then make sure a TV is nearby. And make sure it has a DVD player attached. Nothing gets you through runs and makes them more fun than your favorite TV show. Maybe you're still going through The Sopranos box set. Instead of getting comfy on the couch get busy on the treadmill.
- Talk to people - This is similar to entertainment. But those who usually do a lot of their runs outside alone. If you're in a gym and there's someone on a treadmill next to you. Then strike up a conversation! You have quite a lot in common so you'll find something to talk about. You both like running and fitness and you're both stuck on a treadmill, that's a start. After a while you'll be chattering away and you won't know where the time went.
- Vary Your Runs - This is the big one and what makes a treadmill such an advantage over running outside. You can change from a slow run to a fast run at exactly the right time. You have a timer on the console in front of you. You can specify the exact gradient you want and how long it will last because the incline button is there as well. None of these things you can do outside.
- Hill Work - What you could do is a pyramid of hills. Run at 0% incline for 5 minutes then 1% for 2 minutes. Then back at 5 minutes regular pace. Then incline at 2% for 2 minutes then regular running. Increase the incline gradually to high and then gradually back down to form the pyramid of the routine. This can be a real challenge or not it's up to you. It's great way of strengthening those calves for when you tackle hills outside.
- Speed Work - We're including fartlek, tempos, intervals, sprints. Anything you can think of. What better way to do this than on a treadmill. You have that timer and distance in front of you so you can keep track of your progress. I would specify some speed work you can do, but this is very much down to the individual, how fit you are and for what race you may be preparing for.
Remember an outside run is equivalent to running at 1% incline on a treadmill. So if the weather is good or bad or for any other reason you can always copy your outside run. You may even enjoy running on a treadmill. We do. Maybe you'll start looking forward to your fun treadmill run, after all, running is fun anyway. It's just that a treadmill is a run that doesn't go anywhere. So enjoy it for what it is.