Tag Archives: treadmill

4 Reasons to Love the Treadmill

Treadmill.  A running dirty word.  Affectionately known as the dreadmill, ask just about any runner and you’re sure to hear how much they loathe running on one.  They’re inside and they are boring.  Unfortunately treadmills get a bad wrap.  The gym staple can be both a valuable training tool and steady partner.  Here are four reasons Team ECRP (sometimes) loves their treadmills.

Safety.  Hopping on the old ‘mill can help keep you safe.  Running indoors can keep you away from potentially dangerous streets in busy or strange cities.  Especially during dark early mornings, late nights or slippery winter months having the ability to run indoors is great.  Sometimes it’s hard to beat a place where the temperature is controlled, the running surface is dry and the lights stay on.  The softer surface of a treadmill can also keep your body safe from injury.  Reduced pounding and a level belt will help protect tired tendons, ligaments, muscles and bones while staying out of the sun can help prevent skin cancer.

Weather.  There’s bad weather and then there’s bad weather.  Heading for cover every time it sprinkles or the wind picks up isn’t the best way to prep for race day but sometimes mother nature has other plans.  Hurricanes, blizzards and heat waves are all good reasons to stay inside and, maybe, away from windows.treadmill

Speed.  The last chunk of a hard workout is usually hard.  That’s the point, right?  If you really want to push yourself and work on maintaining a hard pace for longer, let the treadmill help you.  The belt won’t unintentionally slow down due to fatigue so as long as your feet keep moving, neither will you.  More time at a faster pace can contribute to faster race times and build confidence.

Hills.  Hill training can be tough for those who live in the flat lands.  Long, steady hills that are safe to run might be hard to find no matter where you are but usually a treadmill isn’t too far away.  Since incline is a feature on almost all ‘mills, put it to good use.  It’s easy to get in a killer hill session while working on both form and strength by pumping up that incline just a bit.

Coach Meredith

4 Treadmill Workouts for Bad Weather

When the weather’s bad runners can be stuck inside earning their miles on the dreaded treadmill.  It can be incredibly boring to spend lots of time running in place and it’s not known to be many runner’s first choice.  Luckily, a little variety can help and as long as you don’t fall for these treadmill myths, you’ll get a good workout in regardless of where you have to do it.  Here are treadmill workoutsfour treadmill workouts to try the next time you’re not able to hit the road.

Build It.  This 30 minute pyramid workout makes a great tempo session.  After your warm-up, start running at an easy pace.  Increase your speed by a comfortable margin every 2 minutes for the first 18 minutes then decrease by the same amount every 2 minutes to finish back at an easy pace.  When it’s time to up the ante, 0.2 miles an hour is a good jump.  If you’re not comfortable with your top speed being over a mile an hour faster, cut it down to 0.1.  You’ll still get a solid session in and your time on the dreadmill will be over before you know it.

Mix it up.  Intervals can be done anywhere and that means even on a treadmill.  No need to be afraid, most treadmills can handle whatever speed your workout calls for.  Determine whether you should stand, walk or jog between speedy sections and set the treadmill to do it automatically for you.  It’s a good idea to give yourself a few extra seconds at each speed, however, because the mill takes longer than we do on the road to speed up and slow down.

Start climbing.  Build strength by running treadmill ‘hills’.  Ramp up the incline and then lower it back down at predetermined minutes or distance.  Mix up the height of your ‘hill’ while trying to maintain your speed for a challenging session.  While you won’t get practice running downhill too, you will get stronger as the time flies by.

Do something else.  Add some other exercises to your treadmill workouts.  Warm up, run a mile then hop off to do some squats or push-ups.  Repeat several times to build full body fitness while still racking up some of those needed miles.  Pick a treadmill at the end of a row and choose exercises that keep you close.  Body weight and dumbbell movements are perfect, especially upper body ones that give those hard working legs a breather.

Of course, you can always put on a favorite show and just run.  If you’re looking for a little more fun, give any one of these treadmill workouts a try.  You’ll stay on track with your training no matter what’s going on outside.

Coach Meredith

Prepare for Winter Running

Training for a spring race often means training all winter long.  Winter, for lots of people, means snow, below freezing temperatures, ice, wind and the potential for missed training days.  Even when we do our best, combating the challenges of winter running is tough.  Our bodies start to react differently when temperatures dip below 50 degrees Fahrenheit whether we like it or not.  Here are Team ECRP‘s favorite ways to stay warm all season long.

Layer Up.  Wear sweat wicking layers close to your body and heavier layers on top of them.  A wind and rain or snow blocking outermost layer winter runningis ideal.  It’s always easier to remove something than put more on.  Stocking are great under running tights and wool socks are always cozy.

Grab add-ons.  Winter running requires a few more accessories than the summer does.  In addition to your usual fuel and hydration, you’ll need gloves or mittens, a hat or ear warmer and maybe some Yak Trax to help you handle the road conditions.

Warm up.  The colder you are the harder it is to warm up.  Instead of heading out like you normally do, get going indoors.  Try jumping jacks and burpees along with some intense breathing exercises to get your blood pumping, heart rate up and mind ready to tackle a chilly outing.

Dry off.  Get somewhere warm and put on dry clothes as quickly as you can post workout.  Not only will this help your body start recovering faster, you’ll be less likely to catch a cold or become ill.

Break it up.  If the weather is nasty and it’s dark out or you’re too busy to get all those miles is at once, split them up.  Do one run in the morning and one in the evening.  With the exception of your long run it’s usually OK to break things down when you need to.  Just make sure you maintain an adequate recovery window between them.

Get friendly with the treadmill.  Ah, the dreadmill.  It’s an unfortunate necessity of winter running.  Luckily when you makes friends with one you realize they aren’t so bad after all.  A treadmill can be just as effective as an outdoor workout and is, especially in poor conditions, much safer.

Coach Meredith

Watch Out! Treadmill Training Myths

Winter is coming.  For most of us that means cold weather, snow, ice and maybe some serious wind.  More important than the miserable outdoor conditions is that our spring marathon is still on the calendar.  We have to train, no matter what’s going on out there and that means hitting treadmill trainingthe treadmill.  Love it or hate it, the treadmill sometimes becomes a necessary evil.  Get the most out of your treadmill sessions this winter by ignoring the treadmill training myths.

Myth #1:  It has to be set at an incline to mirror running outside.  Not so fast!
Outside you have to push through the air and maybe a headwind.  On a stationary indoor treadmill, that resistance isn’t there.  That is what makes treadmill training runs slightly easier.  To make up for this lack of air resistance you can increase your speed.  And that might not even matter.  This study shows that incline only matters at paces of 7:09/mile or faster, leaving most of us OK to run flat.

Myth #2: Your running motion is different on a moving belt.  According to this study, and others, it’s actually not.  You might feel different because of the treadmill’s cushioning but your muscles and joints move the same way during treadmill training as they would over pavement, trail or track.  The important things to remember when you’re stuck on the treadmill are to keep your cadence high and form tight.

In the same vein is Myth #3: You take more (or fewer) steps on the treadmill per mile.  As Myth #2 proved, your motion on the treadmill is virtually identical to how you move over a stationary surface (road, track, field).  This also means your step rate (cadence) should be the same.  Winter treadmill training runs can be a great time to figure out how many steps you take per minute at a given pace.  Working on taking shorter steps at a faster rate during treadmill training is great for when you get back out on the road.

Myth #4:  Holding on doesn’t affect your workout.  Yes, it does.  Holding on or pushing yourself up with your arms does not decrease the stress on your lower half.  It completely changes your gait for the worse.  Twisting your spine and over rotating your hips are asking for injuries.  Slowing down and letting go on your next treadmill training run might just save your spring race season.

Myth #5:  The treadmill tells the truth.  They try but often fail.  The readouts for calories burned, speed, heart rate and distance can all be wrong.  Unless the machine is calibrated to your body on a regular basis it’s going to be off.  In the ballpark?  Probably.  Your best bet is to use a heart rate monitor that straps to your chest or wrist to determine exertion levels and simply run (with no incline) for your desired amount of time.

Coach Meredith