5/14/14

WWW: How The Treadmill Helped & Harmed My Training

The treadmill used to be a word similar to cussing in our household. We aren’t fans of it and never have been. However, when I took on training one of my older friends, I had to learn to love it - and fast. You see, she had just started getting in to health and exercise and I couldn’t run outside with her because I’d leave her, and we couldn’t do the sprint-lift circuits because we didn’t have access to a decent track. This left us with one option; the treadmill… dum dum dummmm…. So as I discuss what I learned, I’ll let you be the judge on whether you want to stick to the ground that God made or the treadmill.



The good part about a treadmill is the incline factor. You can work your leg muscles more and use more of them and burn more calories. It can also help prevent shin splints and increase your endurance on level outside ground. However, some women often get sharp pain in their knees due to the incline, along with strained ligaments in their feet caused by the pounding effect your foot makes when it hits the flat moving rubber. Also, if you don’t prefer the incline, the zero incline is more similar to downhill running, which is hard on the knees. But if you crank it too high, you could be harming your lower back.

Another good part is the safety on the inside world. No matter how bad I think the treadmill is, there’s nothing worse than going outside to get hypothermia, heat stroke, kidnapped, run over, or injured. The treadmill is weather and daytime safe all year round. Also, it can help you push beyond your comfort zone by setting a higher pace than you are used to and making you keep it.

A bad part about the treadmill is that it is just not real. It can help your speed and tempo and help you keep a controlled pace. However, it is easier due to the flat surface, lack of wind resistance, and help from the belt that pulls your feet a little and gains continuous momentum. Also depending on what treadmill and who you talk to, some say that treadmills absorb shock better and others don’t. Either way, it’s not the same as the real thing (running outside). It is also harder to keep correct running form on the treadmill because with a treadmill it’s easier to step ahead of their center of gravity. Plus, when you do find correct running form, you have to watch where you are on the treadmill. You can’t run too far to the side to where you will step off, too far to the front that it shortens your stride, and too far to the back where you fly off. Also, when you increase the incline, it’s easier to land on the heels of your feet instead of the balls and to straighten out your knees instead of bending them.

Another bad thing about treadmills is trying to find the correct speed for you. It seems like it’s difficult to click buttons to accelerate or decelerate while trying to run correctly and safely. If you’ve found yours, kudos, because I still haven’t after 3 months and continue to fight with it. And if you ever do decide on a pace, you just set it and forget it. You don’t have to keep pace because it does it for you, which is not realistic. Despite this fact, it’s easier to run on the treadmill since outside your legs have to propel your body forward while pushing through wind resistance instead of a belt helping you. Also, the treadmill is boring. I don’t want to watch TV while I run. I want to see the finish line getting closer. Plus, that’s the number one way people fall off their treadmills because they want to zone out of their work out. No matter what, you have to be focused on THE RUN not the TV and engaged in your workout.

Trainers also say that running on a treadmill will not adequately prepare you for a race day. If the weather is bad, they still advise AT LEAST one or two runs outside and increase as race day approaches.


Overall, I learned to have a love-hate relationship with it. I am a huge fan of running outside and would pick it any day. However, it has forced me to become faster on my speed only because I forced it. I could’ve done the same outside. Likewise, when I did translate my running to outside I noticed how much my legs had suffered. They were a lot more sore than normal and felt like I was using more muscles than I had before and my time suffered again. It may be a mental block for me. And it may not be the best option but when push comes to shove and it’s snowing or flooding or 10 pm, the treadmill will be my first choice.

No comments:

Post a Comment

About Me

My photo
BS, MS - exercise Physiology
EPC - Board Certified Exercise Physiologist

Published Thesis
The impact of three different forms of warm up on performance


The Effects of Glucose Supplementation on Barbell Velocity and Fatiguability in Weightlifting - A pilot study"

Graduate from Midwestern State University, founder of Endunamoo Barbell Club, and Endunamoo Strength and Conditioning. Working to help athletes physically reach their goals and achieve scholarships while spiritually pouring into as many people as possible on all platforms.