You have probably heard runners complain about “dreadmills” and “insteadmills”. I don’t have patience for either term; treadmills are fantastic tools and should be embraced!
I get that it’s cool to hate on the treadmill, but it’s even cooler to embrace it. Even the pros use treadmills from time to time.
- It’s a controlled environment; rain, snow and crazy heat/humidity can’t affect your run indoors.
- It is easier on your knees than pavement.
- It's Easier to maintain a brisk and unfamiliar pace if you’re training with a specific time goal in mind.
- You can watch tv!
- You always have water and a towel handy without having to strap it to your body.
- You always have a toilet nearby without having to poop or pee in a stranger’s yard then deal with the cops. (Don’t ask.)
- Two Words: Steam Bath!!!!!!
- Two more Words: HOT TUB!!!!!
- When it’s icy outside, do you really want to risk running on pavement and wiping out? A fall could cause serious injury and set your training back several weeks, if not months.
- When it’s stupid hot outside, do you really want to risk running in 95+ degree heat and dehydrating or getting heat stroke? Recovery requires 2 nights in the hospital, and complete recovery time after that is two months to a year. TWO MONTHS TO A YEAR. That’s longer than my wildest training plans.
- If you have an iPad, there are apps that replicate amazing trails and marathon courses. These can be so much more interesting than your usual routes!!
Attitude is everything.
I hear you, it’s more fun to run with friends, more scenic to run outside, and a better workout that uses different muscles to run on the road. Replacing all outdoor runs with treadmill runs isn’t ideal, but if you are training for a race you need to embrace all the training tools at your disposal. A treadmill is your friend! It is unquestionably better than sitting on the couch or recovering in the ICU after heatstroke or a nasty fall on the ice.
Now that I've convinced you to hop on, let's talk about incline:
- At zero incline, the treadmill replicates running downhill. Always set it to 1%.
- Beyond 2.5% incline, you cannot maintain pace without hurting your knees. Slow down.
- Anything beyond 4% incline is very, very rare in marathon situations and should be avoided on a treadmill.
- If you MUST play with the incline, keep it between 1-2.5%
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