Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Pro's and Con's of Treadmill Training

Want to banish those pesky love handles that just won’t budge?  I have done my research and tabata and HIIT are the way to go and throw that in on a treadmill and bamm!  (and it did work, when I kept up with it).  This has been especially helpful to me as I have not only gotten older and harder to lose weight or keep it off, but especially with the hypothyroidism, its already difficult to begin with; I think incorporating tabata, HIIT, on the treadmill and with weights is the way to go as women age!

Need to increase strength, speed and endurance? Check out interval training workouts for runners. It’s a great way of seeing results in a surprisingly short period of time.  Its been proven that interval training workouts for runners use fast and slow-twitch muscle fibers to burn fat and increase both aerobic and anaerobic endurance. A triple whammy!

Want to not die in the searing heat and humidity but yet finish your workouts/runs????  Yeah, now we are really getting down to why the treadmill is some folks best friend when the weather gets to the point where you feel like you are the egg and the road/trail is just one big frying pan full of popping hot grease!

After yesterday mornings little easy 4 miler through the 'hood, I still needed to get my speed on, and well, in the Summer, that's gonna be done on the treadmill if its gonna be done :)  I am not doing speed work in 100+ temps.  Just.  Not.  So thats exactly what happened.  I did a short warm up, maybe a half mile, then kicked in for 1 mile repeats x 3, with about a 2 min walk in between.  Then once that was done, I hit a Tabata session at an 8:30 pace (20sec/10sec) x 8.  Good stuff.  All on either .5 or 1% incline.  So I ended up with just over 8 miles for the day.  Golden.

The reason I asked about thoughts on training for a marathon on a treadmill was because I know a lot of folks are doing at least part of their marathon training on a treadmill right now due to the extreme weather conditions (all over the country as a matter of fact).  My Twitter feed is FULL of folks that are either hitting the treadmill for runs or ditching out early or short when they are running outside.

Which is better?  Doing the distance even if indoors in a non-real environment or not completing one in the real world?

I'm going with choice A.

But hold on a minute...That is not always my thought.

I do not think that for mere mortals, us mid-packers and beyond can fully prepare for a marathon when the majority of either the short training runs are done inside, and not during the scheduled weekly long runs (especially when they get over 10 miles). 

You just have to make adjustments.  I wrote a post about that a week or so ago so and I live by it.  I might not like it, but it gets me through the crisis at hand.

I equate it to those that won't run in the rain when training.  Um, what are you going to do if on race morning its raining?  Just like the heat and cold, you should get used to it, because on race day it is what it is.  And its been my experience that rarely do we get what we want :O)

I will tell you this, as much as I bitched and moaned last Summer about all those long runs on Saturdays in the heat and humidity here in Houston, when it turned out to be unseasonably hot in Chicago on marathon day, who do you think was prepared?

This girl.

I might not have gotten a good finish time but I sure as hell didn't end up in an ambulance, in a med tent or passed out in one of the many kiddie wading pools along the route.

To me, when running on the treadmill, its basically like running in place.  First and foremost I guess is that your legs are not going to be fatigued like they are when you run your ass outside.  And its just an overall false sense ... You arent using the same or even all of the same muscles you do when running outside (e.g. pumping those arms to charge up a hill is one example)..I sure dont see anyone doing that on a treadmill. 

I am a firm believer that one of the 'laws' of training is the law of specificity.  Meaning that your training should be as specific as possible to your training goal.


Speed Interval Training Workouts for Runners (as done by JB)

Feel the need for speed? If you can go the distance but want to work towards a better race time, speed work is a must. Fortunately, it’s not simply a case of running flat out for as far and long as possible. Interval training workouts for runners specifically designed to improve speed involve precise timings.

Here’s an example of a speed interval routine:
Run for 20 seconds at maximum intensity and 40 at a comfortable but lively pace. Repeat this pattern for 15 minutes.  Or 1 mile repeats.  Or a tempo run.  Whatever you need to do, just do it. 

Endurance Interval Training Workouts for Runners  (these are just a few of the workouts I do (or have done):

If you want to boost endurance levels, look no further than hill routines.   Unless you live in a hilly area and are used to undulating terrain, interval training workouts that feature hills are best performed on the treadmill at first. Acclimatise yourself to the sensation of running on an incline in a controlled environment.  Again, when running on the treadmill for any reason, I strongly suggest you do it on at least a .5 incline, preferably 1%.

Hill repeats on the treadmill are a great place to start.
Kick off with a 5-minute warmup then increase the incline to 5-7 and run at 80% capacity for 1 mile with a 2 minute rest period. Repeat for 20 minutes. Yes, it is hard but you will see results!

Strength Interval Training Workouts for Runners
Did you know that there’s only so much you can do to improve leg muscle strength through running? That’s why cross-training is such a good idea. If you’re not a fan of cycling and swimming doesn’t do it for you, check out strength interval training workouts for runners instead.

These routines concentrate on lower body exercises and can be done at home, outside or in the gym. I can highly recommend performing strength interval training workouts.  Use hand weights, steps and other equipment for a more well-rounded and challenging routine.  I will say though that to be cautious on any leg type of training.  Use light weights and honestly lunges and step ups really hinder my running, so be warned.  Great for your legs and butt though...

Perform 15 reps of each exercise, then jump on the treadmill for 1 minute and jog at a comfortable pace.


Anyway, as I figure it, everyone has an opinion on this and I stand behind mine.   There are good and bad things I think when it comes to the 'dreadmill'.  It definitely helps me mentally and physically in the Summer and its also been good to me to ward off injury (I think), and to slowly come back from an injury.  But I also know from experience (I started running on a treadmill), that treadmill running did not equate to the road when I first got a bit of confidence and stepped my foot outside the gym; giving off a false sense of fitness.

And to those in the country experiencing this heat wave?  How about dealing with that for all Summer?  Be thankful yours will probably end soon.  Me?  I will just keep melting for the next 2 months :)

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