Almost everyone hates treadmills. They’re all are inside. Most of them feel a bit rickety. Some of them face a blank wall. Once I even used one that had marmalade on the controls (yep).
But treadmills are misunderstood for the most part. They can play a vital part of a varied training plan, and provide excellent assistance when pushing yourself to the next level.
But don’t take my word for it…or maybe do actually, that’s the aim of this post.
Form checking is dead easy on a treadmill. Lots of gyms have their treadmills facing a mirror, excellent for real-time form checking. Alternatively, set your phone up to video yourself for a few minutes and have a look back at the footage.
Foot-strike is the big one that runners like to check, and should check. But even things like your cadence, and arm movement are pretty easy to keep in check on a treadmill. On a run round the North Circular – not so much.
You’d be surprised at the things you pick up. It helped me work out I was dropping my left shoulder after about 6-7 miles which was causing some pretty bad pain, now I’ve adjusted it I feel right as rain.
Some of us aren’t blessed with living in an area surrounded by undulating hills and beautiful ascents. Some of live in a pancake flat city with the nearest proper hill a good 10 miles away.
Fear not, the treadmill cometh! Not only can you replicate a hill, you can replicate almost any hill. Most runners will say that hill training makes up a decent part of their plans, and too right, it has approximately 4000 benefits. Don’t get left behind because you don’t live near a hill.
Intervals are tough. Intervals on your own are tougher. If you’re looking to get a solo interval session in then the treadmill can be a bit of a guardian angel.
A lot of runners admit they push harder when other runners are about, and when interval training not working hard enough is going to make the whole thing a bit redundant.
Use a treadmill and you have a built in training partner, measuring your exact pace, and pushing you to exactly where you need to be.
This is England. It rains a fair bit. I’m not saying to only go running in perfect conditions but sometimes it is okay to not fancy going outside in a downpour.Treadmills are almost always inside. Not much more on this point really. Being dry is just nice sometimes.
On the other side of it, training continuously in the blistering heat can be a bit of a slog as well. If a heatwave is making you think you’ll probably swerve that 18 mile training run, maybe head to the gym for a treadmill session, it’s a hell of a lot better than nothing!
Treadmills are soft. Not actually soft (sleeping on one isn’t great), but softer than the pavement. By running on a treadmill you’re reducing the impact on your body for that run.
Pretty handy for injury prevention, also an excellent option if you’re returning after an injury and don’t want to batter yourself too badly.
So yeah, that’s why treadmills are alright by us. Just don’t make it your everything – it can be boring. More importantly there is a bit of a lack of variation in movement, which can cause a muscle imbalance or injury from overuse. Once, twice a week and you should be golden.