Lately, I’ve been turning to the treadmill for my speed work, and I was reminded how valuable a training tool it can be if you use it correctly. I still think outdoor running is the best way to prepare for a road race because nothing can replicate real-life race conditions better, but when you look at the benefits of indoor running, you’ll learn to love it. Here are three reasons why I embrace the treadmill:
Live Game Tape
Most treadmills in fitness centers these days have television monitors attached to them, and they make for the perfect, personal running coach. I keep the monitor turned off so I can use it as a mirror. I work on my mechanics and critique my form, making sure my shoulders and head are relaxed and I’m moving my arms with efficiency. When you’re running at longer distances, having good running mechanics can give you that extra gas in the tank you need towards the end of the run, and bad running form is the quickest way to waste energy.
Speed work on a treadmill is something I’ve come to enjoy. It’s a great way to gauge yourself by repeating the same workout over time because the machine won’t slow down for you. It forces you to keep a steady, consistent pace. Speed work helps you become a better running because it teaches your body how to use the oxygen in your blood more efficiently.
Most people pick a gym close to where they work or live so it’s convenient, and most of the time this isn’t near miles of open road. I don’t mind driving an extra 15 minutes to a park or trail system to find uninterrupted running paths, but some days I just don’t have the extra 30 minutes to make a round trip and the treadmill is never late for an appointment.
The treadmill can be your best friend when extra time is hard to find or when you’re trying to train your body to work more efficiently. Whether it’s work, family or your social life, things can come at you quickly and finding time to put in a few miles can be challenging. If you learn to love the treadmill, you have another option, and that means one less excuse not to get up and move.