If you’re in the UK, you’ve probably noticed that the weather hasn’t been great recently. The sun hasn’t been out for less and less hours, making both morning and evening runs a little less pleasant, and the sofa or bed a lot more appetising. If dark running isn’t your thing though, it might be time to switch over to treadmill running until the sessions start to change again. I’ve been slowly incorporating more and more treadmill sessions into my plan, and I’m not hating it as much as I thought I would. Here’s a few sessions that you can do to help decrease your treadmill dread.
Firstly, do a short sharp session. This would be equivalent to a tempo session that you might do outside. Jump on the treadmill and crank up that speed (not too fast though!), hang on until you’ve done the distance required. Pro’s – You’re running faster so you can get off the treadmill sooner. You can regulate your pace to ensure an even tempo throughout the run. Con’s – You need a treadmill that is capable of going to the speed you want to go, as many at home treadmills don’t go past a 6 min/km pace, you may need to use a more expensive model or head to a gym. Variation – Increase the pace a little every km or mile to get a progression run perfect.
Secondly there’s the recovery run. A slower session that is used to maintain your fitness level, at a medium distance. Pro’s – You can’t unknowingly increase the pace. You can just pop on a DVD and have a little watch while you jog along. Con’s – It may become a little more monotonous than it would out on the road or trials.
Thirdly, random intervals. Fartlek as it’s more commonly called is simply the term given to speed play. Set off at a comfortable pace and then every so often for however long you want increase the pace. If you’re treadmill has quick pace buttons that can get you to a set speed pretty quickly it’s a lot less clunky. Pro’s – You shave off treadmill time every time you increase the pace. It adds variety to the otherwise monotonous pace of a treadmill. Con’s – Scrolling through all the speeds to make it quicker could stress you out. It can be hard to know how long you’ve been doing the set interval for. Variation – Make the session a little more structured, ie at the start of each km do 200m at an increased pace.
Finally you can also do hill repeats on the treadmill. Yes it is possible, if you have the right treadmill. I’ve actually worked out that this session ends up having more elevation than my usual hill repeat course, in fact it has over double the elevation gain. To do this having a treadmill with a good gradient is crucial. Warm up, then do 500m of gradient work, followed by 500m of flat running. Pace should ideally stay the same throughout the session as the gradient will eventually effect the intensity. I try and do this 6x, at an 8% and really start to feel my claves working about 3 hills in. For comparison the average gradient of the ashton court hill (home to one of Bristol’s popular Parkruns) is 6.9%. Pro’s – You don’t have to live near a hill to benefit from hill training. Running the flat can feel a whole lot better once you’ve experience the gradient. Can break up a longer run into a set of shorter intervals. Con’s – It’s a hard session. You need a treadmill capable of going to a good gradient. Increasing the gradient may be tricky. Variation – Decide to run a set distance, then every km/mile increase the gradient once or twice and try to keep the same pace.
Those are four of the sessions I’ve been working on and doing when the weather hasn’t been favourable. One session that I wouldn’t recommend doing on a treadmill is a long run, as personally I just don’t think it works that well on the treadmill. I tend to need the extra stimulation you get from running outside, not to mention the better air conditioning the wind gives you!
I hope these help you out and give you a little bit of inspiration when it comes to treadmill running in the future. For more inspiration pop along to my Strava or Instagram! I can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.