The treadmill is probably the most negatively talked about piece of running gear/equipment. One of the most affectionate names often given to it is the dreadmill. Ouch! And this is one of the nicer words.
Why do we have such angst for a running tool that simply sits there waiting to help you reach your running goals? I think we need to give this self-less running aid a bit more respect and gratitude while realizing the abilities it does have – to help you.
Here are seven reasons why the treadmill simply rocks.
- Workout flexibility – You want to run half mile hill repeats at 5, 7, 9, 10% grade? No problem. The treadmill allows the flexibility to create workouts you are not able to do locally outside.
- Mental training – For some, running on the treadmill is tough mentally. Good! Ultra events are considered to a large degree, between-the-ears events. Consider this part of your ultra training.
- Race course simulation – You live in Texas and need to prepare for 1000+ foot climbs in your next race. The treadmill can more closely simulate the climb than the 50 foot hill you have nearby.
- No runner left behind – If multiple treadmills are available, you could run with friends of different abilities where everyone can get in their desired workout.
- Safety – Running indoors can provide comfort for those than may have to run alone, in the dark, or in an unsafe community.
- Blizzard proof – If the elements outdoors do not allow running, you can still get it done.
- Aid-stations – Whatever fluids or fuel you need for that 25 mile treadmill run is easily accessible.
Trail running treadmill
Freemotion makes some pretty sweet trail running treadmills. My health club has some machines that have grade ranges between -3 and 30% and also displays feet elevation gain. I used this machine to help prepare for Bandera.
Their latest light-commercial and home machine, the Incline Trainer Pro, has a grade range between -6 and 40% and built-in trail workouts (ex: Appalachian Trail and others) that use Google Maps. For flatlanders, this could be a hugely useful machine, although not cheap. Amazon had the lowest price I could find.
I don’t think there is a single ultrarunner that runs for the sole purpose of using a treadmill. At least I hope not. But let us not forget that this stationary machine can be a very useful running tool.
Ideally, we would all be able to run our workouts in the near perfect running meccas around the world that offer the Utopian environment for running excellence. For the rest of us running souls, the treadmill may be able to offer a desired training stimulus that doesn’t exist in our local running environment. If you can find a way to appreciate that, the negative labels may just disappear.
So, are you willing to step on the ‘mill? If so, what type of workout do you typically run on them?
Be active – Feel the buzz!
David – EnduranceBuzz.com
Posted on 23 Feb 2010
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