Training for a Race, Treadmill Style


Monday: 35 min Jillian Michaels Yoga Meltdown

I took a quick look through my training log (can you tell i’m tapering) and noticed that at least 50-60% of my runs have been indoors. That would normally terrify me, because i’d much rather be outside, in the elements, getting used to race day conditions, but the weather hasn’t been cooperating. So I’ve had to cooperate with the treadmill.

I don’t know what it is, but the treadmill tends to make me lazy. It’s so hard to be in one place staring at a wall/mirror/clock/pace for any given amount of time. It’s like being put in a corner on a very long time out.

And the laziness i’m referring to is not pushing the pace or challenging myself, because the “slow down button” is really, really easy to to push. It’s also really easy to quit during a run, since you’re not miles away from your house. You just hit the STOP button and jump off.

When we got our first heavy snowfall that covered my normal trails, I had a feeling that i’d be on the treadmill for more than one workout. I made a decision to go into each day on the treadmill just like i’d be running outside, with intent and purpose. I want to prove to myself that rain or shine, snow or ice, treadmill or outside I can handle training however it needs to happen.

Use effort AND pace together. Whatever type of run you have on the schedule, make sure to run not only based on numbers the screen blinks in front of you, but note your effort! If I felt like the belt was doing the work for me and i was dragging along, i slowed down. You should feel in control of the treadmill, don’t let the treadmill do the work. I want to feel like i’m the one putting my foot in front of the other even when I’m sprinting.


Treadmill’s actually help you run. You take the a step forward and the belt will turnover your leg for you. Which means that it’s easier to run on a treadmill. I’m running a hilly course in 11 days, I can’t afford to have workouts that aren’t really as helpful as they should be, just because i’m using the treadmill to turnover my legs. I tried my best to go a little faster (even if it was only 5-10 seconds faster per mile) or run a bigger incline for a hill workout, that way I would feel more prepared for outside running. I also keep the incline at 1% on my easy runs.

You get out what you put into running. Treadmill running for me is a real easy way to sit back, relax and zone out, but not this time. I was in control of my workouts, pace, incline and effort. I have done a few big workouts outside which are helping me trust treadmill training. I did a 5K time trial & a 9 mile long run. Both of which were hard, yet I felt in control of my breathing, legs and pace. Which gives me decent confidence going into this half marathon. 

Last week’s workouts– Forgot to post!

Monday: 4.2m easy 9:12/pace, 15 min back/shoulders, 10 abs

Tuesday: 7.6 tempo (3m easy, 2 @ 7:41/pace, 2 @ 7:24/pace, .6 cool down) 

Wednesday: 45 min chest/biceps, 10 abs

Thursday: 6m hill treadmill workout 

Friday: 4m easy 8:02/pace

Saturday: 9.4m long run 7:54/pace

Sunday: Rest

Mileage: 31.2

Do you find treadmill running easy or harder?

Author: She's Going the Distance


11 thoughts on “Training for a Race, Treadmill Style

  1. It’s always been harder for me, for some reason I cannot run the same pace on the treadmill that I can outside. As in, I’m a full minute per mile slower on the treadmill and I still feel like I’m barely holding on. I have never understood it. I read a message board on it once on LetsRun and it seemed 50/50 as to whether people felt it was much easier or much harder than outside.

    • okay good thing it’s not just me. You think if the treadmill is helping you a little you could go faster, but it’s really hard for me..maybe it’s because we sit at a pace instead of fluctuate a little? who knows

  2. Well hellloooo there! It’s been too long, and I’m off to catch up on all your other posts after I comment here! (Don’t worry, I won’t pepper you with comments on each of them :)). OH MY GOODNESS yes, though … I truly struggle about 10 times more to keep up my motivation on the treadmill. It is so boring and feels so much harder to me!! I commend you for getting it done all those times. You’re going to ROCK this race, girl!

  3. I find running on the treadmill infenitly harder than running outside. It’s not the physical effort that I find so hard, it’s the mental aspect of it. I can never find my zone and leave it all behind.

  4. I love the idea of treadmill running being like a really long time-out in the corner – that is exactly how I feel! It is so boring for me to run on the treadmill, if I have to do it I can but it is definitely not my favorite. Even though a lot of your training has been done on the treadmill you have gotten in some great workouts! You are going to do so well in your race next weekend!

  5. Apparently I would rather run outside in -20F or worse conditions than contemplate getting a treadmill or using our elliptical or rejoining a gym 😉

    So I am with you on that!

  6. It is so much harder for me to run on a treadmill! Years ago it used to be fine…I actually preferred to run on a treadmill. But ever since i started really running outside I just can’t do the treadmill. It feels harder for me both mentally and physically.

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