Hello again, fellow runners!

While there are an abundance of topics that can be covered when discussing what you’ve learned from training, one that I’ve found most important is training on a treadmill when it’s too cold outside. It has been difficult for me to overcome, and I know I’m not alone! I have a rule for myself that I do not run outside in weather under 30 degrees. I guess some would call me a wimp. In my defense, when my lungs start to burn from the cold and I have to stop to wipe my face or catch my burning lungs some air, I find it counteractive. It’s not helping my training when it comes to those cases. Therefore, I take my running inside. Trying to mimic outside running on a treadmill was not learned easily for me. My first half was in March, so most of my training was done inside for this as well. Here are the most important considerations I’ve learned to include in my training with a treadmill.

  1. PACE  – Everywhere I’ve been reading about marathon running discusses how important it is to pace yourself throughout the entire race, or you can hit something called a wall. It is so much harder to practice pacing yourself on a treadmill because it controls the pace for you. If you are running to fast, your stomach and feet hit the top of the treadmill and you know to slow yourself down. You will not have this same help on the road. A helpful tip that I’ve learned when on a treadmill is to run in the middle and avoid the front as much as possible. With this, you are working on doing as much of the pacing yourself as possible. When learning how to pace, it is very important to have some practice outside. It’s good to push yourself. But if you start out at a faster pace thinking you’re okay, consider if you’ll feel this way 20+ miles!
  2. HILLS  - Oddly enough, I’ve found that hill training has become one of my favorites of all, and I DESPISE hills. I’ve never forced myself to do hill training on a treadmill until this week. It went quite well to my surprise. Pushing yourself to complete a certain distance, on a percentage of incline, is VERY important in your training (especially in more hilly races). If you are doing most of your training on a treadmill, please don’t forget to include hills in your routine. I’ve made it a point to have an entire day dedicated to hills every half mile or so. I’ve done this to try something I haven’t yet accomplished, which is to push myself through all of the hills that come my way, instead of whimpering and stopping mid-way through because I’m out of breath! This is another case where the road naturally includes hills for you. When on a treadmill, you have to consider what you will face and force yourself to tackle those obstacles!
  3. NATURAL INCLINE - This is an obstacle I have not yet completely overcome when treadmill training. It has been said by many that if you put your treadmill at a 1 percent incline, it compares better to any running or racing you will do outside. I’ve been working on including this more in my training. I have found that when including the incline, the run seems a little bit smoother the next time you make it outside! Too bad the treadmill can’t include jumping over potholes and avoiding debris ;)
  4. BOREDOM - One of the hardest obstacles for me to overcome with treadmill training is boredom. For this reason, I make it outside whenever I can. However, because I’m forced inside a lot of the winter season here in good ole STL, I have to deal with the pains of the treadmill. Getting bored during my run inside is common. I know I’m not alone when it comes to getting bored with running inside. You don’t have the birds chirping, the cars whooshing by or certain landmarks to stare at. You just have the people in front of you, on equipment or machines. I’ve overcome this by switching up my routines. I’ve learned to love my speed and hill days inside because I can focus on pushing myself just a little further than last time. The gym is also a great way to people watch! Look ahead of you at the other people running. Imagine them in front of you in the marathon and pretend you’re in the race. Or look at the person with a trainer who is pushing themselves beyond the limit to reach the goal they’ve been working so hard for, just like you are right now. Imagine your race day and go for it!

I’m sure there is a lot more ground to cover when discussing the differences in training on a treadmill versus the road, but these are the major obstacles I have come across and have either overcome, or I am working on. If you are finding yourself having to go indoors for most of your training days lately, you are not alone! Try out some of the suggestions in this post, and tackle those treadmill runs with triumph! Good luck, I know you can do it.

Until next time, Happy Running!

Next Week: Long Runs