When I lived in Boston, I would run outside no matter what the weather was like! Since I’ve moved home, and there is a treadmill in the basement, I have done my quick runs on the treadmill.
Since I’ve been running 3 out of my 6 runs on the treadmill, I have been wondering what this means for my marathon training. A friend of mine approached me also asking the question and thought it would be a great blog post idea…soooo here it is!
First I’ll start with some pros of the treadmill. The Upside of Running Inside, Runner’s World gives some great reasons FOR the treadmill:
- It’s the only way to do a tempo run on a cold, sleety morning without cursing your existence.
- No need to obsess over your mile splits since the belt demands an even pace.
- Get your legs used to Boston’s hills even if you’re in space or at sea.
- No more rushing out the door to squeeze in a run while there’s still daylight.
- Less layering, less shivering, and less laundry to do.
- You don’t have to shove 45 pounds of child and jog stroller up a hill in front of you.
- You can do hill repeats without having to find steep grades—or pound down them.
- A cushioned treadmill belt is more inviting when coming back from an injury.
- You feel less guilty watching Jersey Shore when you’re running.
GET YOUR TUSH OUTSIDE!
I was also able to find a lot of helpful information in The Competitive Runner’s Handbook by Bob Glover and Shelly-lynn Florence Glover:
It requires less effort on the treadmill. In fact it requires about 7% less energy for the following reasons:
- No air resistance, no headwinds
- When your foot strikes the moving surface there is less breaking force as with stationary surfaces
- Treadmills terrain is consistent and there are no ditches or turns to be made
In order to make your treadmill training more equivalent to outdoors, increase the incline to 1-2%. Because the treadmills can be inaccurate with pace and distance, it is more important to look at your exertion (heart rate) and time.
You should also keep in mind that your form may change on the treadmill to keep up with the moving belt. You might start to lean forward and/or run too far up on your toes. The bad form combined with the pulling of the belt can cause lower leg and Achilles tendon pain.
I’m experiencing leg pain now but it is my calf not lower leg. So, I’m not sure if it’s associated with my treadmill training. Yesterday, my calf started to get really tight. This morning, I woke up to do my speed workout and it was SUPER tight. I decided to go back to bed for a bit and I’m going to either do my workout after work or tomorrow morning (my typical rest day). ..OR I might take an extra rest day *GASP* Glover’s book said not to stretch injured areas until all pain is gone…before I read this, that was my plan! Oops!
For those of you that do the majority of your training on treadmills, it is suggested to ease into pavement before the race. Slowly start to do your long runs outside on the pavement so that your joints can get used to the beating.
As always, I love my cute/funny animal videos…So just let these two use your treadmill while you get out and get some fresh air!
*Bummer…I can’t get the video to embed*
Where do you do most of your training? The treadmill or outside?
I usually did all my training outdoors until this training season. I think I am going to try to do outdoor training as much as I can, even if I have to wear 5 headlamps, a reflective suit, water proof suit, and special ice resistant shoes! …I hope it doesn’t rain when I try to get this speed workout in!
If you mainly do treadmill training, do you think you will try to incorporate more outdoor training?
Mine’s half and half, so it won’t be so difficult to get more outdoor training in, especially with it getting lighter and warmer out!
Has your calf ever gotten really tight? What did you do to fix it?