Embrace the Treadmill or is it the Dreadmill?


Days are shorter and many of you will be feeling like hibernating! It’s December after all… Nothing wrong with that, training should have peaks and troughs and if you don’t have them you will just end up with a series of flat performances.

Hopping on a treadmill may not be something that immediately springs to mind this time of year but hey, lets face it, a couple of indoor sessions are a great way to spice up your training.

A treadmill provides less impact a warm environment and a completely controllable situation. Perfect if you are looking to improve your running.

Before you sign up to the gym or order a treadmill in the January sale, lets keep a couple of things in mind:

  • Maintain your long run either mid-week or at the weekend
  • Incorporate strength, conditioning and one cross training session (elliptical, stepper, rower or so on)
  • Stretch post sessions.
  • Have a rest day.
  • Monitor your sessions with a HRM and/or GPS.

Treadmill ‘v’ Road/ Trail

Running is running yes? Well, yes it is BUT running outside in contrast to indoors provides a very different experience. It may come as no surprise that going for a run on some winter trails would be preferable to running indoors but like so many other runners, we all want to see improvements and a treadmill can provide a very controllable situation that you just can’t find out on the road or trail, especially in winter.

The treadmill shouldn’t replace your outdoor runs BUT be an addition!


For example, you can control your heart rate, monitor your cadence, you have no traffic, bad weather or more importantly, danger! You can remain warm, listen to music and embrace a quality workout.

Here we are going to provide two sessions. One that works on hill strength and one that works on speed. Incorporate these two sessions into your running over January and February and you will feel the benefits in March when the weather improves.

Hints ‘n’ Tips

  • Dress light – you will get warm.
  • Take liquid with you.
  • Take a towel.
  • Load up your Mp3 with some kick ass motivation tunes.
  • Use a heart rate monitor.
  • Embrace the session.


Warm up: for 10-minutes jogging with the treadmill at 1% incline and heart rate below 70% of max heart rate (MHR). This is all about getting blood flowing, loosening stiff and/ or tight muscles and preparing for the session ahead.


Based on experience, the main session can be 3 to 8-miles. The objective is to increase the incline (but not lower pace) for the session. Pace should be sustainable for the entire session.

Run 1 mile at 2%

Run 1 mile at 3%

Run 1 mile at 4%

Run 1 mile at 5%

Run 1 mile at 6%

And so on…

Recover for 10-minutes as per warm up

NOTE The main session can start with 3 x 1-mile and each week add 1-mile for 3-weeks. On the 4th week drop back down to 3 x 1-mile repeats and then on the *5th week start back building up reps from 5 x 1-mile repeats and finish with 8 x 1-mile repeats. (*Based on fitness and progression)

This session is a quality workout that maximises your time training and provides the necessary stimulus to make you a stronger runner.

Why is this session worthwhile doing indoors?

You have control! You can monitor speed, distance and elevation all within a controlled and repeatable environment.


Warm up: for 10-minutes jogging with the treadmill at 1% incline and heart rate below 70% of max heart rate (MHR). This is all about getting blood flowing, loosening stiff and/ or tight muscles and preparing for the session ahead.

Session: Perform 3 minutes at 85% of maximum heart rate (MHR) at 1% incline

Recover: for 90-seconds ‘jogging’ at sub 70% MHR at 1% incline

Repeat the 3-minute session with 90-sec recovery for an additional 2-times (making a total of 3 in week-1). In week 2 do 4-repetitions, in week 3 do 5-repetitions and in week 4 do 3-repetitions for recovery and than start week 5 with 5-repetirions and build to 8-repetitions based on fitness and ability.

Warm down for 10-minutes spinning as warm up


Winter is all about mind set and motivation. The above two sessions provide a great indoor stimulus that works on two different aspects of running: strength and speed. At the end of 8-weeks, we guarantee that you will be faster and stronger.

Give it a go and let us know how you get on!

2 thoughts on “Embrace the Treadmill or is it the Dreadmill?

  1. Pingback: Daily News, Mon, Dec 29

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