Running is a sport that is very different from other endurance sports such as swimming or cycling. This is primarily because in this sport you constantly carry and feel your own weight and secondly because the form and economy of the movement are something on which success and the end result mostly depend. Achieving all of this requires commitment and more importantly consistency.
If you are a long distance runner, you must train often to build the necessary endurance. This means that on days when the weather is not ideal, you still have to train. If the weather is not a problem for you, running in rainy or windy weather can sometimes be a real refreshment. For everyone else, the treadmill is a great replacement.
Although the treadmill is not a complete replacement for running in the wild, it can be very helpful in keeping fit or building a higher level of endurance. Here are some tips on what your workouts should look like and what your treadmill training should include:
1. Warm up for 5 to 10 minutes with a moderate speed. The point is to slowly get your body in rhythm but not out of breath.
2. During the weekly program, insert sprint intervals in one of the workouts. While you probably won’t need a sprint during the race (except maybe at the end), a sprint will help you increase your cardio endurance. For example, start with a 90 second run at a moderate pace followed by a 30 second sprint. Repeat this pattern for about 20 minutes. Gradually increase the speed of both the sprint and the moderate pace as you progress.
3. Run endurance training once a week. If you are a competitive runner, run the distance you are preparing for twice in the preparation season at a pace that is close to the desired one. If you just want to work on your fitness level, start with 8 km and gradually increase the mileage.
4. Work on your muscular endurance by incorporating strength training during racing training. For example, start training as usual, but while it lasts, get off the treadmill and do 3 sets of 10 squats and three sets of 5 steps on each leg. Then return to the treadmill and finish the workout.
5. Count the total mileage you run per week and try to increase it by about 10% in the following week. No matter if the treadmill is a soft surface, always stick to this golden rule of running.
6. Each workout must end with a cooling period. This is a segment in the training that should never be excluded. Cooling should last a few minutes in which you will gradually reduce the speed at which you run until you finish walking.