With the recent ice storm last weekend, slippery roads and our dark cold New England mornings, I am reminded that the treadmill is really my friend. It’s easy to think of it as the “dreadmill”. Am I a hamster in a wheel? It doesn’t have to be a boring and mind numbing exercise. In fact, I have actually found that for some runs and for some of the athletes I coach a treadmill is preferred for certain workouts.
Most of us don’t have access to an indoor track and getting on a track during a January ice storm, well, you might as well pick up speed skating or luge. If you don’t own a treadmill it’s pretty easy to find a club with flexible hours that will accommodate your busy schedule. Even in warmer weather getting track time around the high school track teams workouts, or the college team can also be a challenge.
I find the treadmill especially good for some speed workouts. The treadmill keeps you honest. You control the pace, so if you are trying to do 800’s at a 7:00 pace you can control that pace. Whereas, if you were running outside it would be easy to let yourself slow down as you get fatigued. The treadmill is also an excellent trainer for doing negative splits. You can hop on a treadmill and know exactly what your workout needs to be and finish with a sense of accomplishment. You might even find that the treadmill makes you faster.
I don’t recommend that you do all your runs or interval training on a treadmill. When the weather gets warmer, test yourself on the track. Are you holding the same pace as you were when you were running on the treadmill?
As with any run, always consider good form. Where are your arms? Not crossing the body, but at 90%. Are you relaxed? Not holding tension in your arms or shoulders? Are you landing over the center of gravity? How is your cadence?
So put on some good tunes, lace up your kicks and embrace the treadmill! Remember to focus on the process and not always the outcome. Time to do the work and good things will come.