Friday, November 7, 2014

Treadmill Workouts for the cold weather days

Yesterday, an email from Active popped up in my inbox. As usual, I skimmed through it to see if there was anything of interest.

Being that cooler temperatures are upon us, one topic jumped out which talked about running on a treadmill during the winter months.

I from time to time jump on the treadmill during a cold snap for a run or a workout. Most of the time it is because I don’t like testing out my hamstrings on an extremely cold morning or I just cannot find a buddy to share the brisk cold air.

Either way, the treadmill offers a decent alternative.

So, in reading the article, they were talking mostly about doing sprint workouts on the treadmill. One specific example talked about doing a Tabata workout.

Now, I have run on enough treadmills to know that they respond to speed changes like pouring honey out of a jar at 10 degrees - SLOWLY. Treadmills just have not reached the point where their response time is immediate.

That being said, maybe a better solution would be to head down stairs or in whatever direction to find the nearest basketball court. Do the sprint workouts on it.

If the intent is to work out on a treadmill, I would suggest workouts falling into the categories of tempo runs, ½ or full mile repeats, or better yet, try a fartlek workout.

Tempo runs are pretty easy – warm up – get the tread mill running at the desired paces and stay alert for the duration of the workout.

½ and full mile repeats require a little more effort. There will definitely be a little lag time between the recovery phases and the intense phases.  On trick is to push the speed slightly above the goal pace so that you hit your average across the duration of the interval.

Perhaps my favorite is the fartlek workouts. Why might ask? Well, because they force me to stay mentally engaged. Running on treadmills can be a bit boring after a while. There is only so much CNN or Sports Center to watch before they start to repeat the same informaton.

Also during fartlek workouts, the running speeds are not as crucial. Maybe try doing a 2 min run at near race pace and then 2 minutes at 30 to 45 seconds slower to recovery. Time will seem to fly by. The change in speed is less important.

Setup the fartlek anyway that feels right. I have done workouts as little as minuters, 5, 4, 3, 2, and 1 workouts, have done 6 x 5 minutes.

At the end of the day, it is good to remember the point is to get in some good intensity. A little slower starting and little faster finishing can be a good thing.

Sharing one thought at time,

The Cool Down Runner





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