Cool Weather Fitness: Treadmill Workouts
by Jessica Remitz
Nearly every runner, from novice to seasoned expert, will agree that as the weather cools down, hitting the pavement every morning becomes less and less appealing. But how do you get the same “runners high” from using a treadmill? And what can you to do change up your humdrum routine? We’ve asked an expert to share their tips for treadmill running, below.
Treadmill vs. Outdoor Running
While you may want to believe running is just as tough indoors as it is outside, hitting the treadmill is easier for a variety of reasons. There are no weather conditions to contend with, nor are there any people, cyclists, or cars in your path. Because the treadmill assists with the turnover of your legs, you won’t have to work as hard to propel yourself forward and you’ll have less friction as you would outdoors. You also won’t spend as much of your run focused on holding a particular pace, said Charlie Hanley, competitive racing and running coach and trainer at CLAY Health Club + Spa.
Just because running on the treadmill is easier doesn’t make it any less of a training tool for both new runners and seasoned athletes. Runner’s World recommends using the treadmill for a convenient way to practice your speed work, tempo runs, or intervals in a controlled setting.
Indoor Training to Try
As with any workout routine, varying your treadmill session will help increase your fitness level and prevent overuse injuries that can be caused by repetitive motion, Hanley said. Make your indoor run more efficient and challenging by utilizing intervals, speed workouts, and fast hill climbing. Hanley recommends putting your treadmill on its maximum incline and climbing for 30 minutes or more as one workout. For another, he suggests doing 60 second intervals alternating between a fast and slow pace for ten consecutive minutes. As you increase your stamina, work your way up to 20 minutes of continuous, repeating intervals. Here are a few other expert-recommended tips for treadmill running:
- Start Slow: if you’re a beginner runner, the key is not to do too much too soon. Begin your workouts at a slow pace, work on maintaining that pace and increasing your total run time by no more than ten percent each week, Hanley said. Be sure you’re fitted for proper running shoes before you even start and rest whenever you feel like you need to.
- Prevent Injuries: taking things slow can help prevent common running injuries, which can be to the back, knees and feet, Hanley said. In addition to your treadmill routine, do some resistance training to strengthen your leg and core muscles to help with your running. You should also make sure your treadmill is completely turned off before stepping off of the machine.
- Check Your Heart Rate: make sure you’re getting the most out of your workout by checking your heart rate with a monitor or on your treadmill. Calculate your maximum heart rate (220 minus your age) and focus on staying between 65 and 85 percent of your maximum heart rate, depending on your fitness level. Start at the lower range and adjust your workouts as needed to keep your heart rate within the appropriate range, according to WebMD.
- Set the Incline: if you’re running faster than an 8.0 setting on the treadmill (or a 7:30 mile pace), Hanley says to set your machine to a one percent incline to equal the effort of running outdoors.