Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Training Tuesday

Monday: Elliptical with high resistance
Tuesday: 4 Easy Miles runners, we love to hate these solitary machines. Running in place can be incredibly mind-numbing. Some of the main reasons we love to run involve being outdoors, breathing in fresh air and being in the midst of nature. The thought of being stuck indoors on a machine with recycled air blowing in your face sounds so miserable. So with treadmill workouts sounding less than appealing, how can we shift gears and think about treadmills as a useful and an actual enjoyable tool for our training?

It's time for us to shift our thinking about treadmill workouts and to consider the benefits of what it can actually offer us. Treadmills can be incredibly beneficial and can add to our training plans. Unlike the tough pavement, the treadmill provides a softer landing on your joints. When you incorporate the them into your weekly routine, those joints are given breaks and you may be less likely to have an injury during training. Treadmills are a great alternative when the weather is poor or when it is too dark and perhaps unsafe to run. We can utilize the treadmill for a variety of workouts but how do we beat that boredom?

When I use the treadmill, I like to give myself a varied workout. I usually plan for hill workouts or intervals and this is when I truly enjoy being on the treadmill. The treadmill is only boring if you set it to one setting and run that for 30+ minutes. If you play with the speed and the incline, you can add that variety that will decrease your boredom. Here are a few quick workouts that I do:

  • Hill Repeats: I always begin my workouts with a 2 minute warm up/jog. I then set my pace to comfortably hard and run for 3 minutes. Once my body is warmed and ready to go, I set my incline to one that feels difficult. I always say that if it doesn't feel hard, you aren't pushing yourself enough. So I will set an incline that makes me work for it. I give myself repeats: 3 minute hills, 1 minute recovery. If I start to feel over-exhausted, I may lower the incline or give myself an extra minute of recovery. Listen to your body. 
  • Intervals: After a 2 minute warm up, I run at a comfortable pace for 3 minutes. I then amp up the speed and run at a hard, fast pace for 3 minutes. I repeat, just as I do with hill workouts, 3 minutes hard, 1 minute recovery. You will be amazed at how your body will adjust. These workouts are also great because they do not require long periods of time. You get a great workout even in just 20 minutes! 
  • Mix Them Both Up! You can also do your speed intervals and end your workout with a large hill to really squeeze the last bit of energy out of your workout. It's a great technique and one that can actually happen in a race. You need to practice these skills and utilize your muscles accordingly. 
  • Tempo Running: You can begin running 1 mile at a comfortable pace, run 4 at a comfortably hard pace and end your last mile at a recovery comfortable pace. You have the control of speed at your fingertips here, use it! 
There are so many treadmill workouts online. If you get your mind off of the monotony of running in place and instead, train your brain to focus on time and effort, you will have a much better treadmill experience. It won't feel so boring! The great thing about the treadmill is that you have control over what you want your workout to look like. You can simulate an experience close to a race you may be competing in. Give your joints a break and treadmills a try!

Do you like to run on the treadmill? What types of tricks do you use to beat boredom?

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