treadmill workouts benefits

Korey Konga is a coach with Team RunRun. To learn more about him or to work with Coach Korey, check out his coaching page.

With many states enacting shelter in place guidelines due to COVID19, our options for running routes have become limited, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get a great workout in FROM HOME! The treadmill can be a beneficial and useful tool for your training. You can specifically control every aspect of your workout and get the most “bang for your buck” in the comfort of your own home. Let’s talk about some benefits:

Benefits

Elevation Gain – Is your goal race a hilly half or a mountainous ultra, but you have no hills near your front door? No problem! You can get some great hill work in on the treadmill at up to a 15% grade at whatever length and speed you want.

Pacing – If you have trouble pacing yourself for interval workouts, the treadmill can be a great tool. You can control the pace with the push of button and keep an eye on the distance simultaneously. One word of caution is to be careful not to overreach; it can be difficult to focus on pushing the button to slow the pace down once you’ve exhausted yourself.

Heat Training – The ambient room temperature in most US homes range from 68 to 74 degrees, which is pretty warm when you’re running. The higher temperature coupled with the lack of headwind are the perfect cocktail to raise your core temperature and studies have shown it only takes about 10 days for your body to acclimate to exercise in warmer climates. Some of those positive adaptations include more efficient sweating (cooling), better cardiovascular function and increased endurance in both warm and cool conditions.

How

The 1% Rule – When you run outside you create headwind, but when you’re on the treadmill you’re not moving forward, so this doesn’t happen. In order to make up for the lack of wind resistance, you need to always set your treadmill to an incline of 1%.

Get headphones – Music, podcasts, or movies are key to me when using the treadmill. If I’m not doing a specific workout, I find it mind numbing and need something to keep me engaged. Utilize technology to break the monotony during easy runs.

Cover the screen – My wife loves this trick. After you’ve set the speed to a comfortable pace, cover the screen with a jacket or towel so that you can’t see the distance you’ve travelled or the time you’ve been there. Put on some tunes or a movie, space out, and before you know you’ll have knocked out that 8 mile run.

Workouts

Fartlek Hills – A fartlek style hill workout is one of my favorites on the treadmill. You can play around with the speed and incline and make it as challenging and as long as you want. Warm up 15 to 20 minutes and then start playing with the speed and incline. Do hard bouts of 1 to 10 minutes (depending on the intensity, goal of the workout, your fitness level and training volume) with rests in between followed by a 10 to 15 minute cool down. One of my favorite go to workouts for for my athletes is the fartlek-hill-ladder: 5,4,3,2,1,2,3,4,5 working your way from a and RPE of 7 out if 10 during the longest intervals, to an RPE of 9 to 9.5 out of 10 during the shortest interval, and back down.

Intervals – Warm up 15 to 20 minutes at an easy pace. Then do 6 to 12 X 800M repeats at 5K race pace or effort (depending on your current fitness and training volume) with 2 minute jogs in between followed by a 10 to 15 minute cool down.

Cruise Intervals – Warm up 15 to 20 minutes and then do 3 to 6 X 5 to 10 minutes (depending on your current fitness and training volume) at your current threshold pace with 1 to 3 minute jogs in between (depending on the goal of the workout) followed by a 10 to 15 minute cool down.

Sustained Hill Running – This is a personal favorite of mine. Keep the incline at 15% for the duration of your run. Start at a pace that keeps your Heart Rate in your aerobic zone (I start at 5MPH which keeps my HR at 145 to 150) throughout the run gradually increase the speed towards the top end of your threshold zone (6.5MPH puts my HR at 170 to 175). You may not cover many miles, but you will get a solid workout and a lot of vertical gain!

Calculating Elevation Gain

If you don’t have a fancy treadmill that automatically calculates your vertical gain, no worries. Use the following formula:

Write the percentage of your incline: “15%”
Divide this number by 100: “15/100 = .15”
Multiply that number by the number of miles you ran: “3 x .15 = .45”
Multiply that number by the number of feet in a mile: “.45 x 5,280 = 2,376 feet”

BOOM! Now manually input that workout on strava so you can brag about what a vert monster you are.

treadmill workout benefits

These shelter in place orders are a challenge for everyone, but your running can benefit if you use the treadmill to your advantage. It’s a useful tool that can be an integral part of your training! Work with your coach to make the best of these times and the tools at hand.

Korey Konga is a coach with Team RunRun. To learn more about him or to work with Coach Korey, check out his coaching page.