Running on the treadmill is not something I look forward to…but for a variety of reasons, I spend more than a few miles per week on the treadmill. With the cold weather and short days, Reid asked me to share a few hints that may help you survive the treadmill and ultimately help you keep that winter base.
1. Write yourself a weekly mileage plan and stick to it. If weather, or child care, or odd running hours mean you need to hit the treadmill, just build it into your back up plan. And just like you may carry your running gear with you in your car, make sure you also have the gear you would need in case you do your running at the gym
(shorts instead of pants, etc.)
2. If you’re using the local gym’s treadmill, and you’re planning on running longer than 30 minutes, you may run into anxious patrons waiting for you to be done. And while covering the display is always an option, there are other options: ideally, you can go at less busy times and avoid the problem altogether; if that’s simply not an option, you can break up your work out by running for 30 minutes, then hitting another piece of cardio equipment or doing some of your core or upper body work until another treadmill frees up.
3. If you know you have a long workout (2 hours+) coming up and the treadmill will be an inevitablility, figure out ways to make it more palatable. I am fortunate that my gym’s treadmills each have their own TV, and usually I use that time to watch TV — maybe even a full length movie — something I typically don’t have time for during the week. If you can’t do that, consider downloading podcasts or audiobooks to your iPod. I need music for tempo runs, but for my longer, slower distances, a story is perfect and something I can look forward to.
4. For those shorter runs, I recommend changing things up. Make it a tempo run one day and a hill run another. Pushing the pace beyond your comfort zone on the treadmill is something I’ve incorporated recently and it minimizes boredom and ensures you’re getting the most benefit for your time spent. The best way to do this is to wear a heart rate monitor to make sure you’re spending time in each of your training zones. If you don’t have a treadmill, you can simply do surges throughout the run and practice changing your pace. Mix it up and try to have fun.
5. Finally, running on a treadmill creates no wind resistance. Because of that, it’s best to add some incline for all your miles. All treadmills are a little different, so try somewhere between .1 and .3 and select the most comfortable realistic feel for you. Also, because there’s no wind resistance, I tend to get pretty warm running on a treadmill – so I keep a bottle of water for those longer runs so I can stay hydrated and cool off a bit if I need to