The 6 Benefits of Treadmill Training
By guest author, Matt Rasmussen of Run Oregon
I swore I would never get a treadmill. I mean, I hail from Oregon. It's the land of a million running routes — no matter what corner of the state you happen to be in. But as I get older and my time becomes more valuable, added accommodation is always a plus. Whether it's flat road runs or lung-busting trail races, I want to keep training for the variety of events I enter. But it can be difficult to balance "real life" with "running life." Enter the Nautilus® T616 Treadmill — a new addition to my household and something that I never really appreciated until now.
Here are six reasons why treadmills aren't as bad as they're made out to be:
- Treadmill training is easier on your joints.
The treadmill offers a softer surface than the road outside. Just watch someone run on a treadmill and you'll see how much give there is in the baseboard. Obviously, it's not the same as aqua-running, but for a high mileage week, putting some of those miles on the treadmill might ease some aches.
- Treadmills build mental toughness.
While the treadmill may be easier on the body, it's harder on the mind. Want to run 12 miles? Start from your home and head out six miles. To get home, you have to cover six more miles, and it'll be faster to run than to walk.
On a treadmill though, you can stop any time you want. The only thing that keeps you going is your willpower. That'll come in handy during mile 5 of a 10K race (or mile 10 of a half marathon), when stopping for a break might seem like a wonderful idea.
- Treadmill training is safer than icy roads or extreme temperatures.
We're lucky not to get much snow in Oregon (well, the non-Mount Hood parts that are west of the Cascades), but black ice is not unheard of here. I suppose you can strap on a pair of Yaktrax to your running shoes and venture outside carefully if you have to. Or you can head indoors and run on the treadmill without risking a bad slip and fall.
As for really hot days, dehydration and heat exhaustion are potential hazards. A couple of summers ago, I ran more than 12 miles on a day when it was over 95 degrees. Granted, most of that was on forest trails with shade, but still, it was not the best of ideas. Soon after, I had to deal with a bout of exercise-induced asthma that took about a month to get rid of. Of course, I have no idea if the asthma was caused by running so long on such a hot day, but I've avoided really hot days since then.
- Treadmills can lead to some cross-training.
If you use a treadmill in the gym, it's not too hard to add some cross-training after you're done running. Dumbbells, barbells, the pull-up bar, boxes — they're all begging to be used.
- Treadmills provide great speed workouts.
For some kinds of quality speed work, you want some consistent and preferably flat running surface to be able to check your repeat times against one another. (Of course, you could run fartleks on any kind of outdoor route, and while that is speed work, it's not the same as repeat intervals.) That means either the treadmill or the track. The track is outside, true, but it's also monotonous. Trust me, once I did 40 laps on the track for a long slow run. There's not much more mental stimulation than there is on the treadmill.
- Treadmill training and TV go so well together.
I love TV, but there's only so much time in the day. Here's the best thing about treadmills: you can watch TV while running. Thanks to combining the two, I've gone through the entire series run of FX's "The Shield" and the first five seasons of "Justified," five of Jack Bauer's really bad days, two-plus seasons of HBO's "The Wire" and various action movies. Yep, I have been getting great value out of my Amazon Prime membership.
Matt Rasmussen is the main administrator at Run Oregon, a premier running blog in Oregon and SW Washington. He lives in Keizer, Ore. with his wife and two daughters. He enjoys watching the Olympics, sampling craft beers, and all things Canada (he was born there). Matt was raised as a baseball player and officially transitioned over to running in 2010. Matt joined the Run Oregon team in October 2011, and since then he has spearheaded the blog's efforts to cover product reviews, news about businesses related to running, and running events in the Willamette Valley.
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