3 Treadmill Workouts that Helped me win the Houston Half Marathon
Back in 2010, I won the Houston half marathon with a time of 61:54. I don’t say that to brag, but because what many people may not realize is that I did almost 90% of my mileage on a treadmill, and the other 10% was done on a 200m makeshift track at the Augsburg college dome. During that time I was running around 120 miles a week.
Say what you will about the treadmill, it has a very important place in Minnesota distance running.
Why did I run so much on the treadmill? I have always found it difficult to stay healthy during the winter months. With all the snow and ice that layer the Minnesota streets, my winter training would often get interrupted with an achilles flair up. I had some really bad luck in 2009 when I slipped on some ice and dislocated my knee.
I’m not suggesting you should replace your outdoor winter miles with the treadmill, just perhaps give it another shot.
How I stayed Sane
Before I share my treadmill workouts tips, here are three things I did to keep my sanity from logging all those hours inside.
- Finding something that is mindless and semi entertaining is one way to have the miles pass by while on the treadmill. My mindless activity was watching infomercials. I find them to be mildly entertaining and you do not need to pay that close of attention to know what is going on.
- Most people will tell you that listening to music is a great way to stay sane while on the treadmill. For me, it was just the opposite. I very rarely listen to music while I am on the treadmill. I found it to be to easy to track how much time has passed by the number of songs that I listened to. It takes a little time to get used to running with no music, but once you get used to it you will never go back.
- I would go to different gyms in St.Paul and Minneapolis area. Sometimes a change of scenery (even just one) is all you need to make the run go by a little faster.
Best Treadmill Workouts
In addition to my long runs, I was also doing all of my threshold workouts on the treadmill. It can be a little tricky to figure out how to do this, and what you might normally do outside doesn’t translate over 100%.
Here are three of the best treadmill workouts I did, and how you might want to incorporate them into training for your next race.
Workout 1 – Mile Repeats
2 mile warm up, 6×1 mile with 1 minute recovery, 2 mile cool down.
This is a workout I would typically do on the roads. To help simulate this I would change the incline every minute during the interval. Often times runners forget when they are running on a treadmill that running downhill is just as important as going up. I would alternate between adding an incline and a decline throughout the workout.
Workout 2 – Marathon Pace Run
2 mile warm up, 13 miles at goal marathon, pace 2 mile cool down. This was a workout I always dreaded doing on the treadmill. It is a long workout and time always seems to stand still. To try to put a positive spin on it – I would keep in mind that this was a great time to work on taking fluids and nutrition while running marathon pace. I was always surprised by how focusing on taking a couple sips of fluids every other mile would make the time go by faster.
This isn’t so much a workout, as it is simply a way to battle the boredom that comes from running in place. When I would do easy runs on the treadmill, I would break up my runs by doing a strength circuit throughout the run. Every half of a mile I would jump off the treadmill and do 20 push ups or a minute of plank. Then I would jump back on the treadmill and run for another half of a mile. This worked great to get through a 7 mile run and I would get the added bonus of doing my strength workout all at the same time.
Your Best Treadmill Workouts
Do you have any other suggestions for working out on the treadmill? Share them in the comments below.