Is The Treadmill Good For Me?
Now the clocks have gone back and the nights are drawing in, I have already found myself running on the treadmill once this week instead of venturing outside in the dark. Was it ok for me to do this or did I quite simply wimp out? The agonies of running and all those decisions… If I am honest it was raining and incredibly windy so maybe I had good reason… I mean, my mascara was going to run and I’d just washed my hair that morning! I still ran my session and added in the 4 x 5 minutes of threshold running as planned. However, then we got chatting after the work out and remembered Billy Connelly saying, “ there is no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothes!”
Now if I am honest I think he has a point here. This could get out of hand and what’s the point of me having a wonderful Gortex running jacket, warm tops and tights if I am going to let the elements always win. There is no substitute for running outside and getting the fresh air. The contrast of being stuck indoors working or at home all day with being outside, the chill on your face, your mind becomes clear and unlike in the gym, the scenery changes.
The reality is though that there will be days and evenings when the treadmill will have to be my best friend. Those days when its not safe outside due to ice or snow, or its getting late and I don’t want to run alone in the dark. So my decision and my advice is to run outside as much as possible, enjoy the various elements the winter will throw at you and only run on the treadmill to stay safe.
There are a few top tips we can give you though when using the treadmill in your training. Some are obvious and others will definitely keep you super fit.
– Never tie the top you took off or towel to the side rail. It will unravel, fall down and wrap around your feet causing an embarrassing fall in front of the whole gym. Remember, we want to look good on the treadmill!
– Put the gradient up to 1 degree. This makes the treadmill feel similar regarding resistance and friction to running outside.
– Don’t get competitive! Yes we have all got on the treadmill next to the bloke who always looks across to see your speed and then sets his to run a fraction quicker. Leave him to his testosterone journey and run your planned session, effort and pace.
– If the gym has a head on mirror, then use it. The treadmill really is a top place to check your form. Remember, run tall, elbows in, have a slight forward lean and be light on your feet.
– Keep the run interesting. Yes you can listen to music or maybe watch the TV but this is also about training. Take your mind into a zone where you visualise being in a race or outdoor training session. Put yourself there and train well. Don’t get distracted.
– Use the treadmill to your advantage by getting the effort or pace absolutely right. Warm up easily by building the pace for 5-10 mins and then run the session or run you had planned. The treadmill can be great for practicing your planned 5k, 10k, half marathon or marathon pace.
– If new to the sport then the treadmill can be a huge help. Set it to 1 degree, as we suggest above, and aim to complete a walk/run session. Mix periods of running (2-5 mins) with short bouts of brisk power walking (marching out and swinging the arms powerfully). Your aim is to gain confidence and take your training outside when you feel ready.
So lets mix it up this winter and only give in to the elements when safety becomes an issue.