Running at home or at the gym on a treadmill is good option for your training. There is some confusion about treadmill running because it is not 100% identical to running on the road. There are some good things and not so good things you should think about when you go for a treadmill workout.
Treadmills help athletes stay on schedule
Sometimes the weather is so extreme it is just not safe to train outside. Treadmills let you get your miles in and stay on schedule. This is very important and a huge benefit of treadmills. Training consistently is key to a successful race day experience.
Treadmills provide a better surface to train on
Another nice thing about a treadmill workout is that you never have to worry about tripping over a stick or spraining your ankle on a pothole. Many newer treadmills also offer cushioning to reduce the impact on your body which helps lower the strain on your body while still giving you the aerobic benefit you want.
Treadmills are different from real race conditions
Ideally you want to train as close to race day conditions as possible. The more experience you develop on how to handle race day conditions will make you more comfortable and prepared for the big day. While there are benefits to treadmill workouts you should avoid doing 100% of your workouts on treadmills. When possible get some road experience.
Treadmills can help & hurt your pacing
When running on a treadmill you can set the speed and not think about your pacing. This can be good as it guarantees you train at the right pace. It can also be bad if you aren’t thinking about the pace because on race day the treadmill won’t be there to help you run at the right speed. Running on the road will help you learn how to run at the right pace.
Treadmills workouts can be too boring
A huge complaint about treadmill workouts is the boredom factor. Some options to battle boredom are to listen to music, ebooks, put a tv in front of your treadmill, put a mirror in front of the treadmill and improve your running form, go to the gym and run with a friend on side by side treadmills. You might also want to try a varied workout like adding hills or doing a run/walk, by constantly changing the settings on your treadmill you can decrease the boredom.
Treadmills and air resistance
When you workout on a treadmill, there is less air resistance compared to training outside. For people that run slower than a 9 minute-mile, the difference in air resistance is not a significant factor and no adjustment is necessary. The faster your pace is, the more you might want to compensate for the lack of air resistance by increasing the incline. You might want to set the incline of your treadmill somewhere between 1% and 2%. Runners like to debate the topic of air resistance so expect to hear different opinions. If you have trouble sleeping consider reading this study on it http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8887211
What are you doing still reading? Get on a treadmill and do your miles!