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Don’t dread the Treadmill

Why the treadmill can be a real asset

Now treadmills people love them, other hate them. It has the nickname ‘dreadmill’ and I will be the first to hold my hand up and say I was one of them. However, I have embraced the treadmill for over a year now and it is a vital part of my training. When I was still new to running I frowned upon treadmills and after I finished my PT’s and started running seriously I avoided them at all costs. However I am very susceptible to chest infections between November and March as I pushed my body during the winter months.

At the back end of 2017 I had enough of getting ill, then going on antibiotics and writing off at least 4 weeks due to illness (2 weeks on the meds and then 2 weeks to get them fully out my system). That’s when I re-joined my local gym and not looked back since. At first it was just using it on very cold days or extreme weather. Then when the beast from the east hit, it became a saviour but also resulted in my first long term injury. This was self inflicted as I jarred all my back trying to jump on treadmill when it was going at sub 5:40 mile pace. This put me on the shelf for the first 2 months of 2018. Lesson learnt but as 2018 continued I made use of very limited time to do everything from short runs, time trials, interval sessions and even long runs. With my current record being 18 miles on the treadmill.

Now I balance my weekly mileage between outside and the treadmill. It takes a lot of the stress off my legs, allows me to run in any condition and I’ve found it’s great for interval sessions and long runs at target paces. Where I live I’m in a valley and hills every where so if you want to run say 15 miles at 6:40/mi pace it is impossible due to the hills. So the treadmill has meant I’m hitting my targets. One thing you will learn is all treadmills are different. At my gym we have 4 and each one runs at different speeds. I use my Garmin footpod and keep it calibrated on a regular basis and it’s 98% accurate and you only have to look at my indoor/outdoor runs to show you there is little different in pace, distance or cadence (the last one is most important as that’s how a footpod works out its data) I know on a flat route what my cadence will be for at easy run (175 spm) and as long as i’m the same on the treadmill I know my stats are spot on. The same can be done for speed work as I know as I hit sub 6:00 my cadence goes up to 180+ spm. So it’s well worth learning and knowing this if you want to make treadmills a vital training tool. A Garmin footpod costs around £48 and it’s worth doing if you are serious about getting accurate data etc. To finish I found treadmills are harder mentally as you’ve got the same view etc but if like me want to build your mental strength for longer races then if you can do 2 hours on a treadmill then you know your mental strength is improving.

To help I want to share this excellent iconograph with loads of tips and advice when it comes to treadmills.

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2 Comments

  1. Great post, and a timely one for me. My aversion to the treadmill is probably one of the reasons why I find myself injured at the moment. I was running consecutive weeks with mileage close to my all time weekly high, and doing that outside in Norwegian conditions adds a lot of load and strain. In the end, it proved too much for my knee.

    Right now I can only run on the treadmill, as running on the snow and ice aggravates the pain in my knee. In other words, the treadmill is my saving grace and helps keep me sane as I’m recovering from injury. I will definitely spend more time inside next winter, to try and balance out the extra load that comes from running in wintery conditions.

    1. I think as runners we are very stubborn and stuck in our ways. This means we only learn by doing things the hardway. It’s not till we get injured to we look at prevention. As I said get a footpod and you’ve got best of both world, it means then you don’t miss target races. When marathon training the hard part is getting to start line uninjured.

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