Even though it certainly isn’t as enjoyable as running outdoors, there are ways to make it better. For today’s newsletter, Coach Sage Canaday takes you through some of his top tips that help him push through those tough treadmill sessions.

Hey there, it’s Coach Sage Canaday! For today’s newsletter, I wanted to touch on some insights when it comes to treadmill running. I’ll first dive into some tips and tricks to make your indoor runs more enjoyable and effective, and then some differences between running outdoors versus on a treadmill. First off, let’s acknowledge that having a treadmill is a luxury. While there are advantages to treadmill running, such as controlled conditions and pacing, there are also some drawbacks. One of the biggest challenges is the monotony of running in one spot, especially if you’re confined to a basement like I often find myself.

Tip #1:

My first tip? Position your treadmill near a window if possible. Watching the world outside, even if it’s just people walking by or cars passing, can help stave off boredom and provide a mental escape.

Tip #2:

Now, onto distractions. Some folks opt for TV or Zwift for visual stimulation, but personally, I prefer music. I pop in my earbuds, queue up a killer playlist, and zone out to the beat. It’s a great way to stay motivated and engaged during your run.

Tip #3:

Don’t forget your towel! Sure, it’s handy for wiping away sweat, but I also use mine to cover the treadmill screen. Constantly staring at the clock or distance can make time drag, so I prefer to cover it up and focus on my music and stride instead.

Tip #4:

Lastly, let’s talk temperature. If you’re running in a gym, you might not have control over the climate, but if possible, aim for a cool environment. Running in a hot, stuffy room can make your workout feel even more grueling. One key element that’s often overlooked is temperature regulation. Sure, you could crank up the AC, but what you really want, and what some treadmills offer, is a fan. Trust me, you’re going to get hot. Really hot. Positioning a fan strategically can make a world of difference. Ideally, you want it blowing at chest to neck level, providing a steady stream of airflow to keep you cool and comfortable.

Speaking of staying cool, don’t be afraid to go shirtless if it helps regulate your body temperature. With a heart rate monitor already in place for tracking your data, shedding that extra layer can enhance airflow and comfort during your run.

Treadmill Versus Outdoor Running:

Now, let’s shift gears and discuss the differences between treadmill running and outdoor running. One major distinction is the absence of wind resistance on a treadmill. Unlike running outdoors where you’re battling against air resistance, treadmill running occurs in still conditions. This means that running at a set pace on the treadmill can feel easier due to the lack of external resistance. So, while you may be cruising at a six-minute mile pace indoors, keep in mind that you’re not facing the same level of resistance as you would be outdoors, where wind resistance can significantly impact your effort. Understanding these differences can help you adjust your training and pacing accordingly, especially as you push the limits of your speed and endurance. So next time you’re pounding away on the treadmill, keep these insights in mind to optimize your performance and enjoyment.

It’s also important to discuss how the nature of the treadmill belt affects your form and how you can adjust for a more realistic outdoor running experience. Running on a treadmill certainly alters your running form. The moving belt means you don’t have to push off quite as hard, which can subtly change your stride mechanics. You might find yourself constantly adjusting to the moving surface, worrying about maintaining your balance, or avoiding running off the sides. These factors can lead to a different feel compared to outdoor running and may even make it feel like you’re expending more effort, despite the lack of wind resistance indoors. Additionally, distractions like adjusting music or fiddling with hand controls can further impact your form and focus.

However, many runners opt to adjust the treadmill incline to mimic outdoor running conditions more closely. Setting a slight gradient, typically around 1 percent, can help compensate for the lack of wind resistance and better simulate the effort required outdoors. Keep in mind that this adjustment can also alter your running form, as you’ll be engaging different muscle groups on the incline.

Another notable difference is the ability to lock into a steady pace on the treadmill. Unlike outdoor running where pace fluctuations are common, treadmill running often involves maintaining a consistent speed. While this can be beneficial for specific training goals, it can also lead to added stress if you’re constantly monitoring your pace and heart rate.

Lastly, it’s important to remember that not all treadmills are created equal. Accuracy can vary widely between models, and factors like calibration and belt condition can affect the readings displayed. If you’re relying on treadmill data for training purposes, consider using additional tools like foot pods for more accurate distance tracking.

So, the next time you hop on the treadmill, keep these insights in mind to optimize your form, simulate outdoor conditions, and make the most of your indoor runs. And don’t forget to stay flexible with your training approach, adjusting as needed based on the unique challenges and benefits of treadmill running. Happy trails, whether they’re indoors or out!