Cold Weather is coming….the dreaded treadmill time.

If you are like me, running in the cold is not fun. It’s more clothes to put on, more laundry to do, and getting your layering right is sometimes a challenge. I usually start out cold and end up hot. I’ve ditched layers to the side of the road only to come back and find that someone has stolen my long sleeve shirts!

Some people love running in the winter but I frankly don’t. I can handle it for a few miles but going on 15 to 20 mile runs on a regular basis in freezing temperatures and icy roads bothers me a lot. My fingers and ears usually suffer a lot. I’ve tried every type of glove and headwear out there. My fingers have suffered the most. It’s funny how just one thing can discourage me from wanting to run outside. I know it is important to get some outdoor running in during the winter. I have finally just bought in bulk “hot hands” for use on my long winter runs.

I will be one to admit the treadmill can get monotonous and they say it is easier than running outside because the belt does some of the work for you as it is moving. Yet, there are benefits to treadmills. We don’t have to “dread” the tread. One, they are easier on the legs than hitting the pavement and two you can set it and forget it when it comes to practicing a pace. The perks of having easy access to my music, fuel, or even watch some t.v. while working out is nice and it helps to make the miles go by faster. Lastly, you can adjust the incline and make your workout pretty intense if you want because most of the hills around here have limits in length but on a treadmill you can run up as long as you want. These perks make running inside on a treadmill worth it for me when winter comes around. I feel like I can have some really good workouts on a treadmill which include intervals, tempo runs, and hill work. The things I can’t do is simulate the hard surface of roads and do downhill work.

Lately I have been looking into the “curved treadmill”. I have yet to experience one but maybe my local gym will get one sometime. Curved treadmills do not have a motor and some of the running belts/running decks out there last over 150,000 miles before needing replaced. This means curved treadmills can be used without electricity and are low maintenance. They also are reportedly harder to run on since the belt is powered by a motor. Most standard treadmills only go between 10 to 12 miles per hour. There are some expensive ones out there that go faster but most of us don’t have access to those. Curved treadmills will go as fast as your legs can sprint!

Pretty soon the last leaves of the season will fall of the trees and the white stuff will be falling from the sky. It will be time to take a lot of my training back inside for a few months. That is Michigan running for me. Yet, indoor running doesn’t have to be a dreaded season or a bad season of training. You can still get really fit and be ready to PR by the time weather warms up in the spring. There are runners who train mostly on the treadmill year round but still run times that would get them into the Olympic Trials! So don’t think of treadmills as inferior but different. There are ways to incorporate treadmill running into your training that might help you shatter your personal best times. Take a look around the internet and you’ll find some good workouts to try out this winter on the tread. Maybe the upcoming winter is a good time for you to change things up and the treadmill will be one of your tools to help you do that.

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