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Distance Runners: Here is the Greatest Treadmill Exercise You Can Do This Winter

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Getting stuck on the treadmill isn’t bad news. Spend the winter months getting fitter and stronger than ever with this killer treadmill workout.

It’s the season – treadmill season, that is! The shorter and colder the days get, the more runners retreat to the treadmill to run. And as TreadmillI get asked all the time how running on the treadmill compares to running outdoors.

A study found that from a physiological point of view, heart rate and oxygen uptake at moderate strides are similar compared to running outdoors, while lactate levels tend to be slightly lower and perceived exertion on the treadmill tends to be higher.

Treadmill training offers a major advantage over running outdoors: incline training. In your gym or at home, you can effectively run up any mountain of any size.

Increase the training benefits

It wasn’t until I moved to Santa Barbara, California that I began to see the power of exercising on long, gradual inclines. After living in Philadelphia for most of my running career, I trained over hills, but nothing like the kind of mountains we have on the Pacific coast.

One in particular offers a kind of exhaustion and challenge I’ve never experienced before – the Romero Canyon Fire Road, a 6.6 mile long, smooth gravel road that climbs 2,200 feet at a 6% grade and climbs to the top of the mountain behind Santa Barbara squirms. I got hooked right away.

I quickly integrated it into my half marathon training. After just a few upstairs sessions, I noticed a feeling of strength and ease in my stride over my flat-ground training. I was in the best shape of my adult life.

When training a half marathon to ultra marathon routes, long, steady incline paces are one of the most powerful workouts you can do. Not only do they offer the same (if not better) aerobic benefits than flat paces, but the addition of the incline makes your quads, glutes, and calves the heck.

It “hardens your legs,” as I would like to say, an attribute that every runner benefits from. As with all of my workouts, it is best for runners to do this workout two to three times a month for gains.

Treadmill workout

Increase the pace training

  • Warm up 1-2 miles, starting at an easy pace and moving to a moderate pace
  • Slowly increase the speed of the treadmill to just below your pace or to a pace that you can maintain for a race that takes approximately 90 to 120 minutes to complete (see below for pace calculations).
  • Adjust to this pace for 1-3 minutes, then set the incline to 4%
  • Run 2-6 miles (depending on ability) or until the effort becomes too difficult to keep your pace
  • Reduce the incline of the treadmill to 0% and reduce the speed
  • Cool off 1 mile at a very easy pace

Calculate your treadmill speed

  • Enter your last racing time in this calculator
  • Use the table to identify your steady pace (per mile)
  • Set the “Treadmill speed: miles per hour” slider this calculator This means that the pace in the diagram “Incline adapted pace: pace per mile” in the 4% column corresponds to your mile-compliant pace on the previous computer
  • Set the treadmill to this pace for your incline pace

If you’re or want to be a mountain runner, or just want a great treadmill with industry leading incline capabilities, I recommend this NordicTrack X22i Tilt the treadmill.

It has up to 40% incline and 6% decline that can automatically adjust as you do one of NordicTrack’s hundreds of live and recorded workouts or climb famous mountains. It features a massive 22 “by 60” commercial tread belt powered by a 4.0 continuous drive motor that reaches a speed of 12 mph, more than enough firepower for any runner.

Nordic Track treadmillCredit: NordicTrack

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