I used to dread running on the treadmill, until I discovered this…

Lifespan TreadmillIt seems like everyone is always bashing the poor treadmill!  Some call it the ‘dreadmill’, oh, that makes it sound so painful!  While most of us do find that running outside is more pleasurable then running on a treadmill, there are those times that simply call for it.  If you live in an area of the country that gets a lot of snow, there may be some days when ProForm Pro 4500 Treadmillrunning outside is just not practical or safe.  What about runners with small children?  Sometimes the only way to get in a run is to sneak one in during a nap or while the child is distracted with another activity.  Then there are those of us who for example may be on call for work and it would be impractical to carry a laptop during the run in case we got a call. Whatever your reason is, fear not, because you are about to find out how to turn the dreadmill from something you loathe into something you anticipate. I discovered that the key to looking forward to the treadmill was distraction. Here are some ways that I distract myself from reality while running on a treadmill.

    • Plan workouts around a favorite TV show, movie or sporting event.  Think about it, lets say you have a 1 hour run planned, but have to do it on the treadmill, and you also planned on catching an hour of ‘La Tour de France’, or maybe its Sunday and you want to watch football, plan to do your run and watch it at the same time.  Now you’ve not only distracted yourself from focusing on the ‘dreadmill’  but you’ve just gained an hour  in your day where you won’t be sitting in front of the TV!
    • Catch up on podcasts.  If your an avid podcast listener, then no doubt you’ve got several shows in the queue, and if your not, then get over to iTunes and start searching for podcasts on topics that interest you, its a great way to learn something new, get inspired or get up to date on all the celebrity gossip.  What ever your interest, there’s a podcast for that!.  Here’s a tip, while listening to a podcast on a treadmill, turn off the TV monitor.  Yes, that’s right, turn it off!  Why?  It will distract you from immersing yourself in the podcast and will defeat the purpose.  You want to be immersed in the sound you are hearing as it will transport you and you will forget that you are actually indoors running on a treadmill! And if your not a podcast listener, never heard of a podcast and don’t own an MP3 player or iPod, then learn more here and then start shopping :)
    • Play the hill game. Lets say I need to run 6 miles on the treadmill, but that number sounds so dreadful and I can’t imagine completing it, that’s when I play the hill game.  The objective is to alternate between running on an incline and running flat, I have to keep increasing the hill grade or the speed every half mile.  If I miss an increase at any point because I forgot or I felt it was too hard, then I don’t get the reward at the end.  The reward here is important, I usually choose something tasty like treating myself to some Gelato after dinner.  Now, you may be thinking that this sounds incredibly hard, but its not!  Let me tell you why.  You will start out at an easy speed and a 1% incline, after the first half mile, you increase the incline to 1.5%, then the next half mile, increase again to 2%.  When that half mile is complete, reduce the incline back DOWN to 1% and increase the speed from where you started, let’s say 6 mph to 6.2 mph.  Now you will notice that the pace feels easier than it did when you started.  Ok, so this is how a 6 mile run might play out.
    • Speed Incline Distance
      6.0 1% 0.5
      6.0 1.5% 1.0
      6.2 1% 1.5
      6.2 2% 2.0
      6.4 1% 2.5
      6.4 2.5% 3.0
      6.6 1% 3.5
      6.6 3% 4.0
      6.8 1% 4.5
      6.8 3.5% 5.0
      7.0 1% 5.5
      7.0 4% 6.0

      The hill portions will feel hard and get harder, but you only have to tough it out for a half mile, then you get a reprieve for a half mile. You’ll see how easy the flat portions of this workout feel, you may even notice yourself wanting to increase the speed, your legs are going to want to fly! If that’s the way you are feeling, an alternative to the workout above is to save the last mile for some fun. After you’re finished with the hills, put the treadmill back down to 1%, then start increasing the speed for the last mile. Your legs are going to feel great now, so just keep increasing the speed as long as it feels comfortable to hold it. Remember, you don’t want to reduce the speed otherwise you lose the game and no reward! So don’t go too crazy right away and have fun!

6 Reasons to do Hill Training on a Treadmill

Treadmill running may not be everyones cup of tea, most of us runners like to get outside in the fresh air and run, but sometimes training on a treadmill just makes more sense.

Hill Training on a Treadmill

Hill training on a treadmill will make you stronger and make your stride more efficient. Many running plans work in training as an alternate to speed training and some really focus on it during the strength phase of a training build up. Great, so why not just head outside to the nearest hill you ask?

Hill Training on a Treadmill

6 Reasons to do your Hill Training on a Treadmill

1. No extra stress by pounding down the hills

What goes up must come down, but not on a treadmill! Pounding down hills puts lots of stress on your joints, so save that for race day and instead go from hill to flat on a treadmill.

2. Control the length and incline of the hills

Sometimes the hills are too long, sometimes they’re too short and sometimes they’re too steep, but on a treadmill they are always just right.

3. Find hills when you don’t live near any

Some of us live near the mountains and some of us live in the prairies. Some of us live in big cities and some of us live in the boonies, but for all of us, its not always easy to find a safe, close hill to run on. When hill training on a treadmill, the perfect hill is always waiting for you.

4. Hill intervals make workouts go faster

Running the same route over and over again can get just as boring as a treadmill. Try alternating between hills and flats at set intervals and you’ll see it can make the run fly by!

5. Hills will make you stronger

Running track workouts are an excellent way to improve your speed and form, however, some of us tend to get injured more when running the track, and others simply don’t have a track to run! Hill workouts are like track workouts in disguise.

6. Treadmills are not boring!

It doesn’t matter if you’re running for 30 minutes or 2 hours, you can use the time to learn something new. Download some podcasts and learn while you run. If your into sports, you can schedule your run during a football or hockey game and kill two birds with one stone. Movie buff? Bring your iPad and watch a movie!

What are you waiting for? Try hill training on a treadmill today!

Resources for Hill Training on a Treadmill
Treadmill Pace Conversion Chart