Marathon Training on a treadmill

I travel almost every week for my “day” job.  In order to complete either 600am or 900pm workouts I have to accept that I must use the hotel’s gym to continue my marathon training.  Fortunately, I’m not against using a treadmill.  Although I don’t find a treadmill to be very exciting, I can tolerate 30 – 45 minutes in front of a TV or listening to a podcast.  I like to add some weights or body weight exercises to my treadmill workouts to give myself a good workout.

Usually my treadmill workouts are gradually increasing the treadmill speed up to 7.5 – 8.0, so I can complete 4 – 5 miles within 30 – 40 minutes.  I also put the incline at 1.5 to 2.0.  I really should try to investigate and try some actual workouts into my routine.  These would be workouts where I very speed up to 9.0 and incline to 5+.  I’ll plan on doing that in subsequent posts.

I recently met with a gentleman from Canada who has developed separate videos for Chicago, Boston and New York marathons.  It’s a really cool concept.  Up to 2 hour long videos, shot in HD and accompanied by music.  I haven’t had a chance to watch any of the videos yet, but if they’re as good as my friend Derek says they are, you should check them out.  They are at www.treadflix.com

Living in the Pacific Northwest, I either have to learn to run in a lot of rain or run on the treadmill.  I’m fortunate to belong to  a local a gym, but on the days where I can’t find the time to run or get to the gym, I’m stuck.  If only I had a treadmill……..

If you’re considering purchasing a treadmill, I’ve worked with a friend to put together the following buying guide.

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The path to successfully running a long distance running event can be filled with ups and downs and there are going to be times when outside conditions, a work schedule, or some other inconvenience is going to mean that you can’t get a daylight training run in. Sure, you can go for a run after dark, but most people prefer to train in high visibility for safety reasons.

One fantastic investment you can make, budget permitting of course, is in a home treadmill. Treadmills can be a perfect addition to a home gym, or perfectly fine as a stand-alone piece of cardio equipment because they allow you 24-hour access for training. Of course though, treadmills come in all shapes and sizes and the price can vary greatly from model to model.

You don’t want to pay a large sum of money for a treadmill that just doesn’t suit your needs. It’s for this reason that a firm grasp of what to look for in a treadmill is important. To help you with your buying decision, here are 10 points to guide you in your treadmill purchase.

Size

Decide on where the treadmill will be placed within your home and measure it carefully. Keep in mind that most treadmills are heavy and once you place them in a given location, it is may be difficult to move it around too much. It should also have additional space on the sides and back for an easy dismount once you’re done with your workout.

Ergonomics

The treads on treadmills often vary in length. If you are tall or an experienced runner, you might want to look for a treadmill with a longer deck that can handle your stride.

Special Features

Treadmills have varying consoles for your vital signs, gadgets and connectivity. Some extra bells and whistles like iPad docks, USB ports or Wi-Fi connectivity are becoming a more prevalent as manufacturers add them to new models they roll out. The best thing to do is choose what features would help you maximize the workout you will be doing.

Treadmill Assembly

Since we have established that a treadmill has significant size and weight, you should check whether it would be fully assembled once delivered or will you need to put it together once it arrives. Treadmills can weigh over 100 kilos and with this in mind, assembly would definitely require more than a single person.

Maintenance

Good quality treadmills are often maintenance-free machines. The time spent maintaining the treadmill, such as lubrication, should be used in other important things and not with the machine. Some manufacturers have considered adding a reversible deck so that when one side is worn out, you can turn it over to a new deck.

Warranty

We have discussed earlier that when you are searching for a treadmill, you should make sure that it requires the least amount of maintenance possible. Even though this is so, a treadmill still contains electronic parts that may need some maintenance at some point and being a major investment, it would be best to know what warranty comes with the unit.

Apply the acronym R.U.N.

Review the price – Keep in mind your budget. Investing your money’s worth is important and there are a lot of great investments out there.

Understand your needs – are you going to use it for power walks or running? Look at the features offered by each unit and choose which one gives you the workout you need.

Never settle for less – the expensive cost of an item does not always equate to a good buy. Inspect the equipment carefully and try it out.

Incline

This feature increases the intensity of your training without the need to increase the speed of the treadmill. It is a good feature for building leg strength for runners. Some lower priced models have only 3 levels of manual incline while larger models can give up to 20 levels of electronic incline.

Speed Range

You can use your goals as a determining factor for your treadmill purchase. Treadmills for running will often have speed capacity two times that of walking treadmills. SO be sure to check the maximum speed capacity before buying.

Built-in Programs

Some treadmills have programs which assists in your training goals. The configurations of the training programs can vary from brand to brand. If you are the type of runner who wants to try out these programs, search for this under its specifications when you are browsing for a treadmill in the store or online.

Summary

Purchasing a treadmill can be a hefty investment and getting the best workout from what you’ve spent is the main goal. Take your time and do some research about the treadmill that you would like. This will help you acquire the right treadmill the first time.

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Good luck with your treadmill training.  Don’t forget that alternatives to treadmills include stationary bikes, eliptical, stair master and rowing machines.  I use all of these regularly to give my legs, ankles and knees a break from the pounding of running.  This is especially important during marathon training when my mileage is up to 50+ per week.

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