May 19, 2011
Traveling and making presentations in running stores across America to demo Upbeat Workouts for runners this week I landed in Detroit, Michigan facing cold and rainy weather and the challenge of where to run. The hotel desk clerk didn’t have a clue where to direct me. This Embassy Suite hotel was next to US 696 and shopping centers. I choose the tiny workout room at my hotel. Next decision, which of the Upbeat Workouts “Coached Workouts” to listen and enjoy? One of my favorites (it’s free – go to the “Buy New Workouts” and it appears with the word free and download. Because Bob Crowley’s “LSD Surprise” or long-slow distance surprise) is 61 minutes I decided to listen to all 10 surprises – one every five minutes. But, let me tell you a bit about treadmill running and why beyond travel it makes sense to use one upon occasion.
Jarring. There is no doubt that the treadmill takes some of the pounding out of running. The surfaces are less jarring than asphalt or concrete and the ride is always even. There are no hills (unless you want them) no turns or negotiating curbs or cars. If you are taking it easy on your joints or are recovering from an injury controlling your environment with a treadmill may be the way to go. If you are having issues with your running due to improper form it’s extremely helpful to run on to treadmill because you are in a relaxed, controlled environment. Be more declarative—“Treadmills are a good place to work on form”. You know what it’s like: half of running is getting out the door. Who among us doesn’t feel strapped for time? A treadmill can be an efficient use of time Why? You run the same amount of time. Why is 30 minutes of treadmill running more efficient than 30 minutes of other types of running. and is very convenient. Running on a treadmill means having complete control of when you start and stop. If you are running outside and realize you need to get back, you still have the distance to cover. You never take a wrong turn, adding extra time to your run. If childcare is an issue, you can stay at home to run while the kids are nearby or use the treadmill at the gym and take advantage of the childcare there. If you need to multi-task or not run at all, the controlled environment of the treadmill is perfect for you. You can catch up with a friend at the gym, even if they run at a different pace that you. Watching television, listening to music or a recorded book, is possible on a treadmill. If you use a treadmill at the gym you can combine your run workout with strength training while you are already at the gym. If you own one at home you can put a few miles in at any time without committing to a full workout.
How to make best use of a treadmill. From a training standpoint, the best part of using a treadmill is having a controlled way of measuring distance, pace, heart rate, etc. Put this upfront You should take the “calories burned” with a grain of salt; most fitness equipment overestimates these numbers. Good info. Since you have an accurate way to measure your pace with constant feedback, a treadmill is a great opportunity to work on negative splits, or a run in which the second half is faster than the first. You can also try to keep to a particular pace without being able to slow down; the belt will keep you honest. Creativity. There are other creative ways to use the treadmill to your best advantage. “Coached Workouts” is one of them. Another is to practice uphills without the jarring downhills. A block of sturdy wood under the back of your home treadmill will allow you to practice downhills in a controlled environment. You might try breaking up your run so that part of it is outside in le hospitable weather and part of it is on the treadmill. That way you will get used to running in the elements but have the ability to concentrate on your running and not the weather for the end of the run. You may choose to break for a short while and get in some cross training, mixing up your training with variety and interest.
Music. The controlled environment of the treadmill means you can use the music from your library and the “Coached Workouts” when you want, as much as you want. Find upbeat music you really like, which will inspire you to run faster for longer. Be careful that you don’t get so caught up in the music that you begin to over-exert yourself, as some studies have shown can happen. You can download music with training cues from Sally on the Heartzones website. You can also put together playlists of varying beats per minute and you can run in time to them, styling your own interval workout. Finding songs that keep you running can be fun: there are websites with running mixes and even the band OK Go for their song “Here it Goes Again” choreographed an elaborate dance for four treadmills. I guarantee you it will change the way you feel about treadmill running!
Sally Edwards, CEO and Founder, Upbeat Workouts