Treadmill Training for the Long Run

Everybody wants to run longer, run faster and further. The reality is, you’re not going to be able to improve your running skills without a little bit of work (okay, quite a bit…). The best way to maximize your run potential is to approach it with a plan and achievable outcomes to work towards.

1. First up: the benefits of treadmill for training

The treadmill is not everyone’s first choice when it comes to training. However, there are perks to the treadmill. Running on a treadmill means you’ll be able to stay focused and consistent in your form, You can more easily track data without worrying about terrain or squinting at small devices on the go. And this can all be done from the convenience of your own home (or favorite gym) without worrying about finding yourself miles from base if you suddenly feel the need to stop.

Treadmills can be an excellent, super convenient tool for reaching your fitness goals.

2. Use the treadmill for interval training

Perform both high and low intensity workouts as your endurance increases. You won’t be sprinting in a long run (except to pass that guy near the finish line, whoo!) but a High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), when done alongside traditional pace running, can really help improve stamina.

Wondering what this looks like? Here’s a quick and dirty breakdown:

– Warm up – this is key. Commit to at least 5 minutes of walking at a 3-3.5 mph pace.
– Increase your speed to a jog and sustain for 2 minutes.
– Increase your speed to a run and sustain for 1 minute.
– Flip back to your jog pace again for 2 minutes.
– Continue cycle 5 times, perhaps increasing your jog and run speeds by .1 with every cycle.
– Cool down.

3. Take rest days BEFORE you need them

Given how convenient it is, it may be tempting to fire up that treadmill daily. Don’t, as your muscles need to be fresh to go long and hard. Don’t only wait until you’re too tired, sore or injured to take time out for your muscles to recover.

4. Mix in some squats and lunges

Mid-way through your run, why not jump off your treadmill machine and bust out a set of calisthenics. Your leg muscles will be like, “say WHAT?” and your endurance will be like “Boom.” Then hop right back on and get back to work (do take care to ensure your treadmill is at a safe standstill when getting on and off).

General Tips to Help You Build Up Endurance:

Eat RIGHT. Avoid running out of energy before you’re able to complete your longer-distance runs. Carbs and protein are your friends so try different combinations to find a pre-run snack or gel that works best for you.
Incorporate STRENGTH training. Build your muscle mass by varying your cardio training with push-ups, pull-ups, sit-ups, and other exercise. You can opt for some weight training or simply use your body mass to get buff.
Train SMART. Don’t rush training for your next 5k, 10k or half-marathon. Slowly and steadily increase mileage and speed to build endurance. And don’t forget to warm up AND cool down with every run, too!
CROSS train. Any other active sport is fair game. Go for a swim or walk the dog. Allow your muscles to develop in a variety of ways; your body (and your dog!) will love you for it.

Happy Running!