With weather like this, I’ve run a lot of miles on the treadmill lately. 117 on a cool day is a great way to end up in the hospital. Enter the treadmill. Many runners will complain and avoid treadmill running. Not me. I actually kind of love it. If done right, a good treadmill run let’s you focus on a specific part of your training in a controlled environment. Here are a few things that I do that you can do to help you become more successful on the treadmill.
Plan Your Treadmill Run
Even before you head to the sacred spot where your treadmill is, decide what you are going to do on that run. Decide what you want to focus on that run. This contrasts with your typical outdoor running, I suspect. Your default when you go out on your run at home is probably something like, “I’ll go to the park two miles away, and then come back.” You might think about the pace, you might not. You’ve probably run the routes around your house enough that you do not have to expend any effort in order to get moving and get running. with treadmill running, you need to decide what you want out of the run before you get on the treadmill. It will pay off later once you are running on the treadmill.
Pick a Physical Treadmill Running Goal
Physical goals are the easy ones that you do running on a treadmill. You could easily do something like running fixed intervals where you run slow for 5 minutes, and then faster for five minutes. The intervals should be something that you are just a little bit more than what you’ve done before. With the ease that you can track your performance on a treadmill, over time, you can really push your performance on the treadmill. In this case, treadmill running is a great way to practice pacing. You can feel the difference. Because you have a desire for self-preservation, the treadmill does the hard part of keeping the pace, and your body will accommodate to keep pace. If you cannot keep pace, then slow it down until you can keep that pace. Then build from that point.
Or, Use Treadmill Running to Build Mental Toughness
During every marathon training, I like to do one half-marathon long training run on a treadmill, at one speed. It is the most boring run I will ever do during that training run. Just me, the treadmill, and some tunes. This builds my mental muscle. On a treadmill, you are more likely to notice every little pang your body has and you have to do a whole lot to keep your mind on point as the miles frag on. By the time you get to the end of the run, you will be tired. In addition, your focus will be exhausted from keeping yourself moving on the run. You will never work that hard on an actual run. It will make the first half of any marathon just fly by. Your surroundings will stimulate and distract you. Then, when you’re in your last few miles and could care less about the trees that looked so beautiful during the first few miles, that mental toughness you built up on the treadmill pays off. You know you can push through, because you’ve already pushed through once before.
Bring Everything You Need to Run
Bring everything you need and put it in the slots on the treadmill. If you have to get off the treadmill for any reason, you might not get back on to it. Boy scout motto time–Be prepared. I like to have two bottles of water, some hydration fluid, some snacks, my smartphone, and a towel. I use the towel to cover up the display on the treadmill, so I won’t be distracted by it early as I struggle to find a rhythm. Next, bring water more water than you normally need on a run. You do no want to run out of water while you’re on the treadmill. Otherwise, you will end up stepping off for water and never stepping back on to it. If the run is over an hour on the treadmill, bring food like a Gu or Sport Beans, or both. This is a good way to practice your race nutrition without having to worry about having pockets full of food while you run. Everything is there waiting for you.
Treadmill Running Lets You Mimic the Course
One of my favorite things to do is to look at the elevation profile of a race and mimic it on the treadmill. If the run has a big hill in the middle, my treadmill run will have a hill in the middle. A hill at the end; I’ll add some hill at the end of every run. This builds physical and mental toughness. You body knows to keep something in reserve for the end of every run because there will always be a need for it at the end. Mental toughness because you know you can finish that run with a hill at the end, because you’ve done it several times.
Love Treadmill Running Yet?
I love it. The treadmill should definitely be worked into your routine at least once a week. You can make sure you build mental tough, while getting specific mental toughness. I’m not the only one who things this. Elite athletes also work it into their regime. Wait are you waiting for? Get to your treadmill today!
When you’ve tried my tips on treadmill running, please let me know how it goes!
Featured photo courtesy of Farhad sh