Training check-in: Is pavement the preference?

Today we caught up with Shanna, who is working hard to get ready for the Fort4Fitness 10k in September. This busy mom expressed a preference for ticking off miles on a machine, rather than out in the unforgiving August heat.

“I run on the treadmill. Mostly because I have a three-degree temperature comfort zone and partly because I need to catch up on some questionable television shows. And, to be perfectly honest, I’m not a pretty runner so I prefer doing it where I can’t be seen and/or mocked for my unsightly gait and form. I’m concerned that when race day arrives I will be unprepared for the conditions during the run. Any tips for being prepared yet still enjoying the air conditioned comforts and anonymity of my basement?”

We invited Mackenzie Clark, MS, LAT, ATC, Parkview Sports Medicine, and Tom Ruediger, PT, DPT, DSc, OCS, CSCS, Parkview Athletic Rehab, to soothe Shanna’s worries.

Mackenzie says …
Treadmill running can certainly be convenient when training for a long distance race. You can watch TV, be home with the kids, run safely at night, and not have to worry about the harsh weather (rain, cold, heat, etc.). But it’s not uncommon to wonder how it will impact your performance come race day.

Unless the weather is unbearable, I recommend getting those long runs in outdoors. It’s really important to get out in the weather, practice fueling and hydrating, and start getting used to the terrain. Your body and mind will thank you on race day.

Treadmill running is fine for those short weekday runs. Sometimes it’s just easier after a workday to get to the gym and log those 2-5 mile runs. Just be careful and listen to your body. Shin splints can occur due to running on different surfaces. Let your body adapt.  If you start having shin pain after a few days on a treadmill then a few days outside, try sticking to one or the other.

Tom says …
Every treadmill is different and every runner is different. If you’re training regularly on a treadmill, consider making it not only convenient, but also rigorous.  As a very general rule of thumb, 2 percent incline is about the same as flat outdoors, and add 10 percent to your speed on the treadmill to make it equivalent to outdoors with no wind.

While you can do interval work anywhere, one of the benefits of a treadmill is the ability to have hills on demand.  Set up a workout to add some challenging hills and learn what you have to do to your pace to adapt.

More resources:
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