Sunday, 5 February 2012

Treadmill training

To say this week has been freezing in the UK is an understatement, its been properly baltic! In conditions like we have seen this week, it makes sense to move some or all training indoors and on to the treadmill. I used to be very dubious of the treadmill, running outside for over 10 years before even stepping foot on one, however treadmill running has now become a key part of my weekly training.

While skeptics may say that they are boring, expensive, inaccurate and fail to properly simulate outdoor running, I feel that they provide an effective way to carry out certain sessions. Below are details of the two sessions that I currently do on the treadmill along with why I chose to run them indoors.

(1) Monday night 'easy' threshold:
10 min warm up (14km/h - 16km/h)
30/40 minute threshold (18km/h)
10 min warm down (16km/h-10km/h)
Total: 14.5-16.5km

Living in London and not finishing work until after dark during the winter means that my running routes are limited, are stop/start due to having to cross numerous roads, are poorly lit and are often done solo. This treadmill session allows me to switch off from such distractions without losing the speed. I run controlled in this session as I do not tire myself out for Tuesday night track. And through running this session in front of a mirror, it also allows me to check that my body and legs are aligned and that I am not developing any bad running habits.

(2) Thursday night building sess:
10 min warm up (14km/h - 16km/h)
40 minute build (18km/h - 19.5km/h, incrementing by 0.5km/h every 10 minutes)
10 min warm down (16km/h-10km/h)
Total distance: 18km

This session simulates running at race pace (or slightly faster) on tired legs and helps them get used to turning over at a high frequency than is natural. I find that incrementing the speed every 10 minutes breaks down the 40 minute block into manageable chunks and this helps maintain my focus for the session. The treadmill ensures that I stay at, or close to, the required pace; something that I could not necessarily guarantee if running outside.

I appreciate that treadmills may not be for everyone, but they can have their place in an athletes schedule. And even if you aren't an athlete, then those creative ones amongst us can still find a use for them here

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