Do you love or hate treadmill running? I feel as if a lot of runners have a strong love/hate relationship with their treadmill. I LOVE mine so I'm here to talk about all the benefits to running on a treadmill!
Perhaps one of the reasons some runners are not so fond of their treadmill is because it is always there, capable of holding you accountable for every run. Training for a marathon and have some runs coming at you that you just don't want to do? Well there's no blaming the incremental weather or the fact that it's dark outside at 5pm in the winter. Your treadmill will still be there to hold you to it all! Remember it's not necessarily about all of the motivation that one might have it's about the discipline that you MUST have if you are in training.
1. It's shock absorbing! - running on a treadmill is the way to go if you are really interested in protecting your joints. Most treadmills are incredibly shock absorbing and really reduce the amount of impact that you send up into your joints with each step. This is one of the reasons why it makes for such a great rehabilitative tool if you are coming off of an injury.
2. Easier to focus on your form - if you are trying to improve your form, maybe increase your stride rate, run, with taller posture, or are transitioning into a forefoot strike then the treadmill is great for practicing and refining! You do not have all of the "distractions" that you might have if you were running outside, for example, watching where you are stepping. This makes it easy to block everything out and concentrate on your form and the area you want to improve. If you haven't already, ask someone to take a video of you running, analyze it and then pick an area where you need to work on! Then, practice, practice, practice!
3. You can multi-task! - Now this is my favorite benefit to treadmill running! You can watch YouTube videos, catch up on a show, pray, meditate, listen to an audiobook, take vocal notes, etc. It's great for busy people! Granted you can do a lot of this when running outside as well however I tend to not tune into it as much since you do have to focus somewhat on where you are going.
4. Hill training - some runners live where there are no hills to be found for miles. However hill training is the most functional way to increase your leg strength and build the base for speed training. Treadmills though allow you to get a great hill workout in though. I actually almost prefer to do hill repeats on a treadmill! You can set it exactly to the inclines and speeds that you want and cycle through until you finish. Never have to hill hunt again!
5. Add variety - It's very easy (and beneficial) to mix up your runs on the treadmill! We mentioned hill training but speed training is also easy to perform on the treadmill. There are many different types of treadmill workouts that you can do that give you a good speed session. Here are 7 treadmill workouts to help you mix up your routine!
6. Saves on "route planning" time. I don't know about you but sometimes I just don't feel like making even 1 more decision. Deciding on a running route outside and where to go, if you need to drive to get there, etc. takes brain power and it's mentally easier to just hop on a treadmill and go!
increments with weights to break up your treadmill running - I strongly recommend combining running with strength training
(especially if you are trying to lose weight!) This is easy to do
when you have to stay home and the treadmill allows you to break up your
run to do some weight circuits. Again, we have treadmill workouts coming
next week and one of them is implements exactly this!
8. Allows you to train in incremental weather, train if you have small children, if you are a single parent, or any other conditions that don't allow you to regularly go out and train. This alone is a game changer for me! I have little ones to take care of during the day and so the time that I am able to run would be either in the early morning, at nap time or at night. If my husband is not around or working late it's no problem, I don't get behind on my training or workout routine simply because I make use of the treadmill running.
9. You do not have to think about safety and running in the dark. Since the majority of the time I'm treadmill running either early in the morning or at night I don't have to think about the safety measures and awareness that I would be if I were to run out side. That's another huge plus for me! (Here are some safety tips for runners.)
10. You can do the majority of your training runs inside on the treadmill without any adverse training effects. This is a common question, whether running on a treadmill is detrimental to your performance if you are training for a marathon or half marathon. The answer is, sure there are certain differences between outdoor and treadmill running but when it comes down to it, if you are getting your training in, if you are putting in the mileage then that is the strongest predictor of your success! I would advise you to do your shorter runs on the treadmill if you need to and then keep your longer runs outside or even partially outside. Don't forget to do simulated runs if you do a lot of treadmill running.
11. It's easy to transition into your run if you can run inside. -The mornings that I have to wake up early I will wear my running clothes to bed. It makes that early alarm so much easier if you can just get up, put your shoes on and get going! If you work at home wear your running clothes and run when you need a break during the day. It can mentally seem like a bigger job when you actually have to get change and then leave the house and go outside to run instead of getting it done inside! It also saves you time!
Running a route outside can hold you to your mileage. If you leave the house you will have to get back somehow! On a treadmill you might be more tempted to skip out early since you are already home! So if you have motivational/discipline/holding-yourself-accountable troubles then leave those times to running outside!
Treadmills can actually be very cost effective…if you are willing to go secondhand. People are always getting rid of their treadmills. Just take a look on Craigslist and I'll be willing to bet there are a dozen around you looking for a new home this winter. We stalked the free section for about a day before one became available. Yes, it was free! And works perfectly. If you don't care about all of the bells and whistles but just want a functioning treadmill it's the way to go!
If you would like to get one new then I suggest doing a cost per use budget. How many times a week do you think you will use it, multiply that by 52 (weeks in the year). Then calculate the total price of the treadmill divided by that number. You can then see that if you use it, it will be very cost effective.