Running on treadmillThe treadmill can be a runner’s best friend. It can help you stay on track in inclement weather, during travel or in unsafe running conditions. The treadmill is also great for rehabbing after an injury. Still, the treadmill has its limits. Running outside gives you differences in resistance, terrain and scenery that you have to be really creative to duplicate when you are running on the treadmill. Here are some ideas for making the most of your indoor fitness friend.

Go for the uphill climb

A great advantage of the treadmill is the adjustable incline that it offers. No more searching out hills in your neighborhood, just press a button and start climbing. Hill work is especially important for outdoor running because it helps build stamina and leg strength, which will make you faster on race day. Up the incline to burn more calories and prevent shin splints, too. Start at about a 4% incline and build to 10% over time. You should be able to maintain form and speed before you advance to the next level.

Up your tempo

Doing a tempo run on the treadmill can challenge you especially when you are feeling lazy. At the same time, the treadmill can keep you from going too hard. A tempo run is generally at a pace that is comfortably hard. Tempo runs help you reach and, with time, exceed your lactate threshold, thus preparing you to race harder and faster. This treadmill workout builds mental endurance and metabolic fitness. That means when you head outside you will have the mental focus and physical fitness to conquer even the toughest courses.

Go for intervalsRunning

Let the treadmill help you add in periods of higher intensity running. Interval training can help you become a stronger and faster runner. Varying the pace also burns more calories and keeps the run more interesting for you. You can use the benefits of treadmill interval running when you hit the road. Learning to vary your pace can be helpful for finishing the race course strong because you were able to conserve energy early on. You are also more likely to avoid injury by introducing slower periods or rest breaks throughout long runs.

The treadmill has gotten a bad rap, but it can really be a good addition to your running training program. Uses it as a supplement to your outdoor training program and you may just shave a little time off of your mile.