Posted by on Dec 19, 2013 in Cycling, Running, Training | 2 Comments

On Twitter today fellow ICEdot Athlete Nicholas and I were chatting with the folks at Skratch Labs about treadmills dreadmills and indoor training.  The gist of the conversation was training is training and thanks to Mother Nature, it is a necessary evil.  In my neck of the woods the temperatures are well below freezing for the next few months.

About three weeks ago I headed out for my first sub-0C run and about 20 minutes in made the decision to buy a treadmill.  For the past three years I’ve been opposed to treadmills.  I ride indoors for the majority of the Winter months but have always run outdoors.  This past Spring I did some treadmill running for interval work due to icy conditions and then to get acclimated to heat as I was heading down to Knoxville, TN for a race.

It turned out running on a treadmill wasn’t so bad.  In fact there was a distinct upside to the treadmill.  It should have dawned on me but I get great workouts on the trainer.  So good in fact that during the Summer I will still do some key bike workouts on the trainer.  I’ve even go so far as to set it up on the patio in my back yard.

There are a few key things that make a treadmill a great workout solution.  From no compromise speed intervals where you are forced to keep up or end up on your butt on the floor, to steady and repeatable hill workouts that can be as long as you need them to be without having to hunt down hills there are definite benefits to treadmills.  Of course the downside is the boredom.  Based on the hundred of hours spent on a bike trainer and a few on treadmills I’ve found five sure fire ways to beat the boredom…

  1. Music – I rarely run outdoors with music.  You can’t run with an iPod in triathlons so I don’t usually train with one but on the treadmill it can be a necessity to keep you entertained as you stare at the wall.  One bonus is you can put your laptop on the console and have your entire music collection at your finger tips!
  2. Television/Movies – Got a real long run on the agenda?  TV and movies give you the escape you need to zone out and get those long slow runs done.  Between training and work I don’t have much time for TV and less for movies but I make up for it on the trainer and treadmill.
  3. Break it up – An hour on the treadmill will see like forever if you are running a steady pace and staring at the console.  On the bike trainer I got used to throwing in some sprints or changing up gearing to keep things interesting.  I’ve also found it useful to cover the treadmill display and only show the one or two training metrics (pace, power, heart rate) I care about for the particular workout and ignore the clock.  This is especially effective with entertainment.
  4. Intervals/Hills – The programs on treadmills can help with the boredom as well by giving you a specific type of workout to focus on.  A 10 minute warm up with 6x3min intervals with 2 mintues recovery in between followed by a 10 minute cooldown sure sounds easier to get through than a 50min run.
  5. Social Media – Tired of TV, music and movies?  Got your laptop handy?  Get caught up on all your social media, emails, instant messaging or write a blog post!  That’s what I just did :)

In the end it doesn’t matter where you do the work as long as you are doing it, just get out there or on there and do it :)

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  1. Eddie Fuchs
    December 19, 2013

    I had a 2-hour run scheduled for yesterday, and since I live in Canada where it’s freezing, I opted to do it on the treadmill. I’ve foundpodcasts as the way to go. Find something interesting about a topic you like (duh….fitness/triathlon podcasts for me), and run. Warning; Running on a treadmill at the gym with the television part turned off and a vague, spaced out look makes people think you’re nuts.

    • Rodney Buike
      December 19, 2013

      Eddie I am Canadian too, based in Burlington and since buying a treadmill a few weeks back we’ve had nothing but snow and cold weather :)


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