For a lot of us, this is the time of year when crummy weather starts forcing us inside. Many times, that means catching up with an old acquaintance — the treadmill.
Love ’em or hate ’em, sometimes treadmills are a fact of life. Regardless of how you feel about it, here are a few quick tips on getting the most out of your hamster-wheel workouts (and making sure you’re prepared when it’s time to return to the road).
- Keep your hands to yourself. Treadmills might have handles, but the road sure doesn’t. Don’t get into the habit of holding yourself up with the machine. It’s bad for your form, can tweak your body, and creates a crutch that you obviously won’t have when you’re running for real.
- Use the incline. Be sure to toss a few degrees of incline into your treadmill workouts from time to time. Chances are, your real running routes aren’t completely flat, so you don’t want to get used to hill-free running over a long winter inside. Besides, a little uphill work is just going to make you stronger anyway.
- Wach your form. Treadmills can foster some odd running habits, whether it’s dramatically shortening your stride or introducing a lot of up and down movement that wasn’t there before. Do your best to run on the treadmill in much the same way you run on the road. Don’t let yourself bound high into the air and let the “road” pass underneath you. You definitely won’t get away with that on race day.
- Track your progress. One very nice thing about the treadmill is that it gives you all sorts of data that you wouldn’t otherwise have. Keep an eye on the numbers and track your progress. Also, if you’ve been using the GPS feature in your Bluefin app, remember that you can manually enter your treadmill work to keep your Journal up to date regardless of where you run.
- Find a way to (really) run. Treadmills are great, but they definitely fall short of traditional running in certain ways. You lose some of the core-strength benefits that come with balancing yourself on real terrain and can sometimes overestimate your performance compared with real-world running. Even if it’s just a few sessions over the course of your treadmill work, try to make some actual running happen. That might mean bundling up and getting outside or getting access to an indoor track. Whatever you can manage, it’ll pay off when it’s time to get back outdoors.
How about you? Any tips for getting the most out of our January treadmill work? Let us know in the comments!