Pros and Cons of Treadmill Training, for Triathlon Training

Pros and Cons of Treadmill Training, for Triathlon Training

Due to the Covid-19 many athletes have to reinvent the way they practice sports because they cannot go to the places they used to go to practice their sports, a great option that they have found really helpful is using golf launch monitors at home to practice a new sport and being in shape.

I have been in the sport of triathlon for 30 years now! Thirty years… wow!  As you know, I love running trails and doing tempo runs out on the LG Creek trail! One of the things I never used to do was run on a treadmill. I don’t really enjoy running indoors, but in my latter years I have found the treadmill a great tool when coming back from injury and during the winter months when it gets dark early. The question is, how and why is running on a treadmill beneficial?

Here are the PROS and CONS, as I see them.

PROS

1) The treadmill is consistent. Your environment does not change and it is easy to gauge your progress.

2) If you are coming back from an injury, you can easily adjust pace and workload and the belt is much more forgiving than running on pavement.

3) The treadmill is a great place to work on your run cadence (steps per minute) and focus on your running form. Many treadmills are also placed in front of a mirror, which can aid in proper running form.

4) When the weather outside is cold, or it is dark, or wet and raining, the treadmill is a great option.

5) Run side by side with a running partner and you can each run at your own pace, yet stay next to each other!! Great for couples who may not run at the same speed!

6) Treadmill running can be a great way to maintain muscular endurance and leg turnover throughout the winter months.

 

CONS

1) Running on a belt can feel different than running on a road and not all treadmills are created equal! Find one that is fluid and it will be much more enjoyable. Many of the newer models out there are very smooth.

2) Running in place can be boring! It can be a bit monotonous, which is why you may want to find a partner.

3) Running on a treadmill is not exactly like running on the road. You don’t get all the outside nuances of running.

Tip: when you run on a treadmill, if you run at 1.5% incline, you will more closely simulate running on a flat road, outside.

I don’t expect you to run on the treadmill a lot! I do think it is a great tool and could be a good training tool one day a week, throughout the year.

Treadmill Workout Example –

Most treadmills have workouts built in, but I normally choose Manual mode and make my own adjustments. You can mimic a run you would do outside, just on the treadmill. Start your workout like you would any run, nice and easy.

Here is an example: Total workout time can vary. I usually keep mine pretty short, between 20-40 minutes. (Longer runs are possible, just get a little boring).

Warm up – 5-10 minutes at an easy pace. Stop and stretch. Focus on a good stride rate and slowly build up the pace. Keep your upper body relaxed.

Workout – Have a workout in mind, before you start. I like to do some short efforts to get the legs going. Start with 4 x 1:00 efforts at a pace that kicks the intensity up to 80-85% effort. This should not feel like a sprint! You should be working hard, but not running too fast! Jog at 60-65% for 1:00 between faster paced efforts. You can also go by distance, if you prefer. You can do 4 x .25 mile (1/4 mile) at 80-85%, with a 1/4 mile jog at 60-65% between each. As you do more efforts on the treadmill, make the duration a bit longer, like 3 x 5:00, or bump it up to 1/2 mile on, 1/4 mile off, etc.

Another Workout Example is to adjust the incline, but not the pace. Your perceived exertion (PE) should be up to 7-8 out of 10, again, not at 100% effort. Start the treadmill at a 4-5% grade, but keep the pace consistent. Do this for :30-:45 seconds, then adjust the incline to 5-6% and keep the belt consistent. Do this for :30-:45 seconds, then adjust the incline to 6-7% incline and keep the belt consistent. Then put the incline down to 1.5-2% and jog easy for 1-2 minutes and repeat the sequence 4-5 times.

Cool down – After you have completed the workout, do an easy cool down jog, then a walk before getting off the treadmill. Your heart rate should come down before you just jump off the treadmill. Do these sample workouts this week and email/text/tweet me how it goes!

The treadmill can be an effective training tool when used properly. I know it can be boring, but it can also be very effective. Give it a try if you have never done it before, or mix in a few different workouts if you run on one regularly. Like I said before, it is a great tool, but I don’t expect you to run on one all the time. One day a week is great if you can do it! If you keep it up for 4-6 weeks, you should see improved perceived exertion for the same workout, a slight increase in your base speed, as well as a lower heart rate (HR) for the same workload. (This can also happen if running outdoors consistently)

Training for the sport of triathlon takes a lot of time and commitment. It is hard to train for three sports effectively, especially with the busy lives we all have with work, family and social commitments. We like you to set goals that are achievable and then go after them with dedication, discipline and desire!

Good luck and see you at the first workout, on Saturday!

Coach Pete Kain

Follow me on www.twitter.com/peterkain

Or visit our team website, www.kainperformance.com

 

2021-03-29T16:49:45+00:00