Runners Treadmill Training In Winter
Love them or loathe them, but treadmills are an essential piece of kit for us runners especially when it comes to winter training. Any fitness instructor will tell you.
With many of the UK’s half marathons and full marathons being held in the spring time, this means that runners need to train throughout the cold winter months.
Running in winter is very refreshing and for some the best time of the year to run. You don’t have the blazing sun turning your skin to a nice red crisp or the humidity zapping the life out of you and melting you down to a mere puddle.
While training in the winter, you won’t encounter those issues, but you will have likes of the ice and snow that can turn up and put a big full stop to that tempo session you had planned.
But do not fear the treadmill is here
Yes, the treadmill has indeed saved your bacon but at what price?
The treadmill for some is an evil contraction and is avoided at all costs, but with that marathon around the corner what is one to do?
Suck it up and get on it
Ok, yes it’s boring, and that’s why we choose to run outside but needs are musts, and we must do what we have to in the name of completing the 26.2-mile course.
But jumping onto the conveyor belt and just to run at the set speed is going to make even the most saniest of runners loose their marbles, so here’s how to get you through the winter treadmill training sessions.
Depending on where you use the treadmill can have a lot effect on the board factor.
For example, if you’re lucky enough to have one at home plonked in front of your tv then yay, you have the perfect excuse to catch up with your month’s worth of missed tv shows that you have missed out on watching ultimately from running.
If however, you use the treadmill at the gym you might not be so lucky. Some swanky gyms have tv’s that you can watch with your headphones plugged in, that’s if you can hear over all the chatter and music. A good set of headphones will see you good.
The long run
The weather has forecast is predicting minus temperatures, so the ice factor is high and would be really dumb to attempt the 15 milers you had planned.
Get prepared to hit the treadmill for exactly your 15 miler, anything less will have you crying into your chocolate milkshake.
Treat yourself to some new music and jazz up your playlist with all your favourite tunes to sing along to. 15 miles is a long way ESPECIALLY on the treadmill and music may get a bit boring after an hour or so try an audio book.
Something funny to laugh to or intellectual to engage the brain in so you’re not constantly looking at the red timer every two minutes.
And two minutes on the treadmill can feel like five.
The easy run
In my opinion, nothing is easy when the treadmill is concerned. So the easy run has now turned into a run with unnecessary efforts. You have an easy 10k planned to shake out the legs. This is where some good upbeat tunes will see you through the hour session. Start off with a really easy 1k warm up followed by alternate easy/steady 1k intervals. Follow this with the lastcooldowndown, the 10k will be over in a flash.
Structured Speed Session
Ok, so I’m going to put my hands up and say that if the treadmill is good for one thing. Then it’s the SSS (structured speed session).
The beauty about the treadmill for the SSS is that you have complete control of your session. No interruptions from the road, including people getting in your path and you, can’t cheat, well you can cheat. Again you’ll only end up crying in your chocolate milkshake. I don’t recommend watching EastEnders for this one though.
Big beasty tunes all the way
Make sure you warm up properly before you start any sort of speed work to avoid injury. Generally, 1 mile at an easy pace will do it.
Then put the foot down and burn that rubber. After the session always cool down with either an easy run or a walk.
Different speed sessions
There are different speed session that us runners love to do. Some are more demanding than others but ultimately there all do the same thing.
Make us faster and stronger
So we have the fartlek. Generally easier to do outside as you use lampposts or drains to run too fast then run to slow, repeat. Target intervals, probably the easier of sessions on the treadmill. You have the big red distance counter in front of you. So run fast for 1,2,3,4, or even five 100mts spurts if your super fit. Then do any recovery for the same distance. Repeat until your desired distance is reached. Pyramids are another good session to go for on the treadmill.
As always warm up first then start the session with the following;
- 100mts fast
- 100mtrs slow,
- 200 fast,
- 200 slow,
- 300 fast,
- 300 slow
- then 500,
- now the hard (er) bit 500 fast, 500 slow, then 4oo and so on right back down, like a Pyramid.
The recovery run
Recovery run on the treadmill isn’t the most satisfying of runs, but it is what it is. The recovery which is to be done nice and easy to aid the muscles back to their bouncy selves, so don’t be tempted to jazz it up. So grit the teeth and bear it.