My Friend the Dreadmill

Coming back from a week off of running (allergies knocked me out last week) is hard enough.  Add in weather like this and I am getting really friendly with the dreadmill:

We have been so lucky this winter with such mild weather that it has felt more like Spring or Fall most of the time than winter.  And we are also lucky since winter means rain, not ice and snow. While running in the rain is not impossible, it is just not ideal. So this week I have been hitting the treadmill.

The pros of treadmill running include:

  • Lower impact surface – my knees and hips are happier.
  • Consistent speed – takes the guess work out of pacing
  • Great for speedwork – especially if you do not have access to a Garmin or a track
  • Hill training

The cons:

  • Running form – trying not to catch my hand on my headphone cord or bump into the display means my form is often unnatural.
  • Lack of wind/road resistance – this can be an issue if you train for a race solely on the mill.
  • Boredom – some people love the treadmill, but for the minutes tick by so slowly.

To combat boredom on the treadmill, I like to do intervals.  Even if I am not doing speedwork, I like to change things up by walking at an incline, running at an incline, mixing in some different speed runs.

Luckily today was a speedwork day, so my workout flew by.  I did a 1 mile warm up at 9:40 pace and then did 6 400s at sub-8 minutes pace, alternating between 7.5-8.0 MPH on each.  In between I walked at 4MPH for .10 miles. To cool down, I alternated between walking and jogging at a 9:40 pace until I hit 4 miles.  The consistent pace definitely helps during speedwork. On the track, my pace often drops a little each set, but today I actually did each 400 a little faster. The treadmill takes the mental guessing game out of the equation.

To really make sure I will not be able to walk tomorrow, I tacked on some lower body strength moves.  That is another benefit of doing my speedwork at the gym. Normally, on speedwork days that is all I do since it is tiring enough. But since I was already at the gym, I figured go big or go home. I did walking lunges while holding a 10 pound plate, reverse lunges with 10 pound plate and squats with 40 pounds.  My legs were screaming at the end and that was all I could take. I foam rolled and then we got the heck out of there!

Do you love or hate the treadmill? I love it for what I use it for. I am not sure I would ever be able to do a long run on it, though. 5 miles is about my max on treadmill. But it is convenient, safe and gets the job done.

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