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Why Train on a Treadmill?
By Rick Morris
Picture this: Its pitch black outside. The wind is howling, the mercury in your thermometer is huddled at the bottom of the scale and the snow looks like Mount Everest piling up on the streets. Sound like good running conditions? Unless you are about 400 meters short of a full mile, you are going to stay huddled in front of your fireplace.
In situations like this, a treadmill is the perfect answer. You can perform any of your training runs in the safety and comfort of your own home. But this is not the only reason to train on a treadmill. Used properly a treadmill can be an invaluable part of your training program.
As suggested by the frigid situation above, treadmill training can be a much safer alternative to outdoor running. Unsafe conditions include: extreme cold or heat; nighttime conditions, heavy traffic conditions, icy or snow packed streets, periods of high air pollution and severe storms or winds. Many women feel more secure doing their training at home on a treadmill.
What can be easier than lacing up your shoes and hopping on your treadmill? You can run whenever you feel like it. If your day has not allowed you the time to fit in your training run, you can just step onto your treadmill and do a couple of miles.
It is easy to make excuses for not running. Bad weather, lack of time or work commitments are all good excuses, right? Wrong – with that treadmill waiting for you, all excuses disappear.
Work and Personal Commitments
Do you have a phone call you cannot miss? Just put your cordless phone next to the treadmill. Do you need to keep on eye on the baby? Put a crib in view of your treadmill.
Many of us live in areas that have no hills. So, what do you do for hill training? Get on your treadmill. Most treadmills will elevate from 8 to 15 percent. That will closely mimic nearly any outside hill trail. Even in areas that have a lot of hills, the choices of distance and elevation may be limited. Do your hill training on the treadmill and you will have an almost unlimited variety of possible hill workouts.
It can be difficult to determine the exact speed at which you are performing your speed workouts. Treadmills make this easy. Once your treadmill is properly adjusted for correct speed, you can perform your speed workouts with precision.
Most training programs will include workouts that should be performed at a consistent pace. Most of us will subconsciously slow down when we start to become fatigued. Do these runs on a treadmill and you cannot slow down unless you purposely slow down the machine. This will improve the quality and results of your workouts.
Many treadmills have a built in shock absorption system. This system reduces the forces placed on the foot, hips, knee and back. This can result in a decrease in injuries and nagging soreness or pain that results from the impact of running on harder surfaces.
Many runners enjoy their 2 or 3 hour long runs. But lets face it. It can become very tedious. Place a television and VCR in front of your treadmill. Pick your favorite TV show or movie. It makes the time fly by. I like to do my long runs on Sunday, so I watch a football game during the fall and winter. The 3-hour games are a perfect length for my long runs.
Great for Beginners
Most new runners start out by walking. A treadmill is a great tool for beginning runners. They can start out with walking and gradually add in short running repeats. The safety, convenience, and information provided by the display, such as speed, calories burned and distance traveled are all great motivation tools for beginners.
Many treadmills have preprogrammed workout that are designed for anything from weight loss to 10K races. This makes it easy for runners that are not interested in designing their own program. For those that do want to design their own workouts, many treadmills have the ability to store custom workouts. You just manually adjust the treadmill during your run. The treadmill will “remember” the workout. Next time you just start running and let the treadmill make all of the adjustment, just like you are running on a trail.
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