Tag Archives: treadmill running

Treadmilll Training Myths

It’s getting cold outside.  That happens in the winter time, and so does the treadmill.  When the weather is very cold, windy, slippery and damp, running outside can become just plain dangerous.  That means it’s time for some quality treadmill training time.  There are lots of rumors out there about the differences between running on a road and running on the treadmill but which ones can you believe?  Here’s the truth about 4 treadmill training rumors:

Myth #1: Treadmills have to be set a 1% incline to simulate outdoor running.  Nope!  Outside you have to push through the air.  On a stationary treadmill, that resistance isn’t there.  treadmill trainingThat is what makes treadmill training runs slightly easier.  To make up for this lack of air resistance you can increase your speed.  And that might not even matter.  This study shows that incline only matters at paces of 7:09/mile or faster, leaving most of us OK to run flat.

But it’s still not the same!  Myth #2: Your running motion is different on a moving belt.  According to this study, and others, it’s actually not.  It might feel different because of the treadmill’s springs but your muscles and joints move the same way during treadmill training as they would over pavement, trail or track.

This ties into Myth #3: You take more (or fewer) steps on the treadmill per mile.  As demonstrated with Myth #2, your motion on the treadmill is virtually identical to how you move over a stationary surface (road, track, field).  This also means your step rate (cadence) is the same.  Winter treadmill training runs can be a great time to figure out how many steps you take per minute at a given pace and can certainly benefit your future training.

Myth #4:  Holding on doesn’t affect your workout.  Yes, it does.  Holding on or pushing yourself up with your arms does not, in fact, decrease the stress on your lower half.  The relief you might feel in your knees, ankles, quads and hamstrings will lead to tension in other places on your body.  Undue stress leads to injuries.  Slowing down and letting go on your next treadmill training run might just save your spring race season.  And trying to use the metal sensors to figure out your heart rate?  Forget it.

Myth #5:  The treadmill tells the truth.  It does not.  The readouts for calories burned, speed, heart rate and distance can all be wrong.  Unless the machine is calibrated to your body on a regular basis, it’s going to be off.  In the ballpark?  Probably.  Your best bet is use a heart rate monitor that straps to your chest or wrist to determine exertion levels and simply run (with no incline) for your desired amount of time.

Now you’re ready to go!  Stay healthy, improve fitness, increase speed and keep running all winter long with these treadmill training myths dispelled.

Coach Meredith

Need to Know: Treadmill versus Outdoor Running

As the weather cools off and snow starts to fall, lots of runners turn to the temperature controlled pleasures of a treadmill.  While it can be a little less scenic than running outdoors, treadmill training has its own benefits.  It has its own pitfalls as well, so read on to learn what you need to know about the differences between outdoor and indoor running.

Running indoors is safer, sort of.  With the shorter days of winter, running indoors is safer than running outside in the dark, and it’s also much less slippery than maneuvering over snow and ice.  Treadmills can be dangerous as well, and while you can get in some guilt free TV time running indoors, it can also be boring.  Terrain is constantly changing outside, but you can turn your brain off on the treadmill because your foot lands the same way every step.  It’s important to stay aware, too far to the left or right and you can be sent straight back into a wall, another person, or another piece of equipment.

The belt of a treadmill is more forgiving than the pavement or sidewalk out in the cold.  At the same time, the belt helps you along.  It’s important to know that because the belt does this, your running form can change, and not always for the good.  Your foot can be in contact with the belt longer than it would be with the ground outside, and that alters your running stride.  Since the belt is moving, your quads fire to push off, but rather than using your hamstring to finish your stride, the belt does it for you.  This change puts extra strain on the quad and gives the hamstring less work to do.  Some people also learn forward excessively in an effort to keep up with the moving belt, which isn’t an issue outside.  Being aware of this and making sure to take short, quick steps will help protect proper running form.

Treadmills are flat.  They also have a great incline feature, allowing you do get in some serious hill work without braving the elements.  Raising the belt to various levels during a run can help keep your mind working, leaving you safe and sound in the middle of the belt, and can keep hamstrings a little more active.  Another outdoor condition you won’t find in the gym is wind.  Working against wind resistance is a natural part of running outside, and training without it can mean you expend less energy over the course of your run.  By increasing your pace slightly, you can get the same increase in heart rate as running against some wind while staying nice and warm inside.

Now you know how to get the most out of your next treadmill workout, so keep up on your training and get ready for your first spring race!

For more information on treadmill training or getting ready for your race season, contact us at Info@FitNicePT.com!!!