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I did 100% of my training runs for my first marathon on the treadmill. I have also run a full treadmill MARATHON. The treadmill was a great tool for my running during my pregnancy and extremely helpful for my life as a mom. Running outside will always be my favorite. I do most of my miles on trails. However I honestly don’t mind running on the treadmill. It allows me to run day or night, and no matter what the temperatures are outside. I still get that same endorphin high, a great sweat, and an awesome workout.
For the days that I am on the treadmill, here are some of my tricks to make it the best experience possible.
Wear the right clothes.
You are bound to get hot while running on the treadmill because, unlike outdoors, there will not be any wind to cool you off. I stick with lightweight tanks and shorts to keep me nice and cool.
Have everything that you need in the cup holders of the treadmill.
Water, chapstick, fuel, more water, a towel, bobby pins, your music, and whatever else you need to finish your run without having to stop. Being able to have all of your stuff at arm’s length (especially lots of water) in the cup holders while you run is really convenient.
I love reading from my iPad (I make the font extra large), watching TV, and listening to music and podcasts when I run on the treadmill. What a great way to catch up on all of your favorite TV shows without feeling guilty for sitting on the couch for hours.
I love playing around with the speed and testing out my current fitness level. Most of my runs on the treadmill are progressive runs where I turn up the speed each mile. I also love throwing in fartleks or doing 400/800/mile repeats. Try some chorus sprints where you set the treadmill to a sprint during the chorus of the songs that you are listening to!
Switch up the incline.
Do you have an upcoming hilly race? Try to mimic the course by creating similar hills on the treadmill. You can bring the race elevation chart with you so you can mimic the course. Hill repeats are an incredible workout and if you live in a flat area, the treadmill may be your best option to do them. It is amazing how quickly my heart rate goes up when I throw in a few hills on the treadmill.
Focus on your form.
For every 1/2 mile of your run, focus on different parts of your form (arm swing, legs, stride, posture) and try to improve them. For the last mile of your run on the treadmill, put all of those parts together for some good looking running form.
Use the treadmill to force yourself to slow down.
Are you one of those runners that loves going fast every single day, and are feeling burned out or constantly injured? Then try using a treadmill to slow you down on those days. You can set it at a slower speed, zone out and force yourself to relax.
Use it as mental training.
If the treadmill is really hard for you, then every time you do have to use it, just think of it as great mental training. You are accomplishing something that is really hard, which is making you mentally tougher. If you can run miles and miles on a treadmill, just think of how easy it will be mentally when you are running outside again.