Sunday, February 15, 2009

The benefits of a treadmill

I have only owned a treadmill for 3 1/2 years. I never could get my brain around how people ran on them.

The first time I ran on one for any length of time, I thought I would lose my mind.

I used to just duke it out in the winter, or not run at all. I used to think treadmills were for people who couldn't handle "real running". I also used to believe in Santa Claus.

With base building, I have found the treadmill to be a valuable tool. On the road, I have found if I am in lala land, I will let my pace creep up when I am trying to keep it slow. I "feel good", so I speed up. Then, I start to not feel good, thus I have to slow down.

Over this last winter, I have put a lot of miles at low intensity on the treadmill. And, I learned a real obvious lesson - It doesn't change its pace. That is the beauty, set it and forget it.

Yesterday I wanted to get in a 20 mile run, and wanted to stay home in case I needed to stop and help with the kids (hopefully I could get most of it done before they woke up). So, I decided to do the 20 on the treadmill (my max on that beast I think was only 15-16).

I set it at 7mhp, knowing my heart rate would stay in the low range for at least 2 hours, and I would watch the last hour.

This same run outside would have taken me over 3 hours, and I would have been pretty sore. I did it in 2:52, and was not sore at all. Avg hr was below 140, with the last 1/2 hour dancing between 147-152. Also, I ate nothing, and only drank one 24oz bottle of water. (those who have run with me would be shocked, as I typically drink 20oz every 30-40 min.)

The lesson - Use the treadmill as a tool to get base miles in without putting much stress on the legs.

Set it and forget it.


johnmaas said...

I agree that the treadmill has its place in a training program.
I prefer outdoors, but use the dreadmill in the same way you do, low intensity, consistent, base building miles in the winter.
I've also found that it develops mental strength.

Scott Mark said...

Ironic contrast with our 2 almost-timed treadmill posts. 20 miles on a treadmill? Wow - that's an amazing story of endurance to me. I like your point about the low intensity - I also have a tendency to drift up in pace when I zone. So maybe that is the positive angle I need to turn the treadmill into a positive experience. Do you leave it at the same pace and incline the entire time? Or you do any kind of variation for that long of a run?

Delane said...

20 miles wow!!

Maybe some day I will come around and not belive that, treadmills are Gods way of punishing fit people.