Monday, January 6, 2014

Treadmill Training

I used to be a treadmill hater, but I’ve definitely changed my tune here of late.  When the high for the day is still below zero, outdoor running just isn’t possible.  I’m lucky to have a treadmill at home, because I wouldn’t leave the house to go fight for one at the Y.  With spring marathon training beginning, I definitely NEED Mr. Treadmill!

There are TONS of articles about treadmill training, the good, the bad, the hating, or the loving.  I think it’s a powerful training tool, if used correctly.  I’m not going to say it’s super fun and not insanely boring, but there are ways to make it fun, challenging, and worth your while.  
My favorite way to do speed work is on the treadmill.  There is no wind, no cars, nothing in your way, oh and you know EXACTLY what your split will be.   You can make your workout as structured or as unstructured as you want it to be.  Some people go by minutes, I personally shoot for mile repeats, 800s, or 400s.  It’s easier for me to break it down in my head that way for some reason.

Example of some of my treadmill workouts:
Mile 1: 7.0
Mile 2: 7.5
Mile 3: 8.0
Mile 4: 8.1
Mile 5: 8.0
Mile 6: 7.5
Mile 7: 7.2  Total time 55:21
This can be used for any distance.  I set 7 total miles as a goal for this workout.

TEMPO w/ Recovery
Mile 1: 7.0 (warm up and recovery pace)
Mile @ 8.0
400 (.25) @ Recovery pace
Mile @ 8.1
400 @ Recovery pace
Mile @ 8.2
400 @ Recovery pace
Extra miles for distance and cool down, vary the speeds, but within recovery range.

These depend on the distance and how I’m feeling.  I always start with a warm up mile and alternate between quicker miles and recovery miles.  Anything to help pass the time.  My best advice is change it up, don’t run very long at one pace or you will mentally psych yourself out of staying on for the long run.  I try to find something good to watch on TV or DVD, but usually have music playing as well.  If your treadmill is located near a window, open the blinds so you can get the outdoor feel.

My setup... TV, DVD player, facing windows and my medals
Let’s talk incline.  I’m bad about using it.  It’s obviously pretty easy to constantly run on a flat surface with no wind or obstacles.  I throw in inclines on recovery paces but the treadmill inclines tend to really bug my calves.  There are lots of ways to make challenging hill workouts on the treadmill, I just haven’t quite gotten myself to that yet.

I will post more workouts as I come up with them... and work on incorporating that good ol incline as I progress through this portion of training.