Training on a treadmill eliminates the need to run outdoors in extreme temperatures or during inclement weather conditions. It also lets you safely train at any time of day or night. With a treadmill, you don’t have to worry about missing any training sessions.
Using a treadmill isn’t quite the same as running outdoors, but you can still prepare for different terrains and conditions. Here are some tips to help you achieve optimal marathon training on a treadmill:
- Set your pace – When you run on the street or a trail, it might be difficult to know exactly how fast you’re running. But on a treadmill, you can adjust the speed to ensure that you’re consistently working at the desired pace. For example, if you want to train at a 10-minute pace, just set the treadmill speed at 6 mph and let the treadmill control of the pace. By training at different speeds, you get familiar with how each speed feels.
- Engage the incline feature – Most marathons are run on fairly flat ground, but you might run a marathon course that includes some hills. To practice running uphill, use the incline feature on your treadmill. Most treadmills incline up to at least a 12 percent grade; some machines incline even further. Running on a steep incline can really slow your pace; but practicing uphill runs on even slight inclines can help to improve your speed both on level surfaces and on hills. Incline training also compensates for the wind and resistance you’d have when running outside. Your treadmill may have a built-in hill program that will automatically change the incline level to simulate running through hilly terrain.
- Work on your running form – Use your training time on the treadmill to work on your stride length and running form. Stay as close to the front of the treadmill as possible to allow for a longer stride range. Square your hips, keep your chin up, and look straight ahead. Bend your arms at the elbows to about 90 degrees. Don’t make fists with your hands. Keep them loose and relaxed.
Treadmill exercise is an excellent way to keep up with your marathon training when you can’t do it outdoors. Using the treadmill regularly will help improve your form, pace and stamina, and get you ready for that big race.