Five Tips to Improve Your Next Treadmill Run

lunge

I don’t know about you guys, but this winter weather wreaks havoc on my love of outdoor running.  Suddenly my regular path can barely be found beneath the snow and slush and those other spots of sidewalk and street are often a danger zone due to black ice. Even though I love the winter weather, it has forced me to spend more time than usual on the treadmill.

Luckily, after ten classes at Mile High Run Club, I’ve learned a few tips and tricks to improve my time on the treadmill. These teachers, many of whom are elite runners and run or coach a multitude of run clubs and workouts throughout New York City, do a great job dishing out tips on form, posture and workout structure during class. Even though they spend the entire class walking around the room, supporting and motivating us to run stronger and push harder, they never miss an opportunity to provide coaching that goes far beyond our pace and often applies to runs both on and off the treadmill.

Five Tips to Improve Your Next Treadmill Run

Based on the ten classes I’ve taken at Mile High Run Club this year, these five tips will help any runner get more out of their next treadmill workout.

  1. Never start your workout without a dynamic warm-up. Similar to what I’ve learned during my NYRR workouts, I feel a significant difference in my workout when I invest even just 3 to 5 minutes doing a few key moves before I start running. These moves help get your heart pumping, loosen your joints, stretch your muscles and tell your body it’s time to work. The most common warm-up moves are body weight squats, lunges, lateral lunges, butt kicks, and high knees. 
  2. Always set your treadmill to a 1.0 incline unless you are doing specific hill work. Researchers have found that a 1% grade on the treadmill best matches the intensity of outdoor running. If you are training for a race, the last thing you want to do is train in conditions that are easier than what you’ll encounter on race day. While you of course can’t replicate all of the variables such as weather, by setting the treadmill at 1.0 you make up for the lack of wind resistance and better simulate outdoor running.
  3. Use the entire treadmill. Like many other runners, I found myself running towards the front of the treadmill, hunching over the screen. During my first and second classes at Mile High, the teachers constantly reminded me to move back towards the middle or back of the treadmill so I could reach my full stride potential versus running like the Hunchback of Notre Dame. But, what I noticed more then improved posture or gait was actually the opportunity to pump my arms. Once I was running further back I was able to move my arms, providing extra momentum during the speed and hill intervals.   Give it a try during your next treadmill session and I promise you’ll notice the difference immediately!
  4. Switch things up to beat boredom. During each of the Mile High classes, whether we are running for 28, 45 or 60 minutes, the goal changes every few minutes. This method of breaking the class into individual workouts such as hills, recovery and speed helps students compartmentalize each workout so they can push through walls as well as make the class fly by.  I don’t know why but 90% of the classes I’ve taken at Mile High focus on hills first and end the class with speed. If it works for them, it’ll work for me next time I find myself on the treadmill.
  5. Grab a friend. Surrounding yourself with 30 other runners, each pushing through the same workout as you, it’s hard not to push yourself to your full potential each class. There is always someone in the class you can use as your motivator whether it’s their form, speed or endurance. More often than not, Theodora is my motivator during Mile High classes, helping me reach deep and push harder since it’s my goal to keep her pace. But, whether you want to race a friend or just have someone to keep you company, running on a treadmill is far more enjoyable with a friend on the treadmill next to you. Over the years, my friends and I have scheduled many group running sessions at a nearby gym when snow or inclement weather has kept us from running outside.

Want to learn more about Mile High Run Club? Check out my full review or send me an email! If you’re local, let me know as I’d love to grab a class with you! My favorite instructors are Andia, Jes W and Laura C!

Follow:

My 2016 NYC Half Marathon Training Plan

NYC Half Marathon training plan

Sunday morning, I spent a few hours developing my half marathon training schedule in preparation for the NYC Half on March 20th.  Instead of working with a formal coach, I decided to invest the time and research to create my own training plan, leveraging the knowledge I’ve gained over the years.  I found the experience to be very enlightening and also served as a good confidence builder, as it allowed me to reflect on how much I’ve grown as a runner.  I spent time comparing my half marathon and marathon plans from the past few years along with training recaps from the recent months when I felt my strongest.  Who knows whether I’ll be thankful for this choice in a few weeks, but for now, I’m happy that I took the time and effort to personally create the plan. Even though I am not working with a formal run group or coach, I know that there is plenty of support thanks to the social media community.

What you’ll notice over the next three months, is that I am only going to run three days per week. Since my body has reacted positively to the mix of running, yoga and strength training I’ve incorporated into my routine thanks to ClassPass, I want to continue this even during half marathon training.

Over the next eleven weeks, my calendar includes the following workouts each week:

  • 3 runs (1 speed/hills, 1 long, 1 mid-distance with hills)
  • 2 strength training workouts
  • 1-2 yoga/Pilates/barre classes

If you do the quick math, this equals 6-7 workouts each week.  The number of workouts a person can manage and tolerate is very personal. I perform best as an employee, friend, wife, daughter and blogger when I have the positive endorphins and energy that workouts provide. However, even though this shows 6-7 workouts each week, my goal is to still have one day each week that is a complete rest day. Therefore, there will likely be one day per week, most likely a run day, where I finish the day with an evening yoga class. My body and mind both respond very well to yoga and therefore I don’t want to limit the number of classes I can take per week. However, I will limit the number of power yoga classes and ensure that I include restorative classes in my practice as well.

My weekly speed/hill runs will primarily take place at Mile High Run Club. The seven classes I’ve taken at Mile High have convinced me that the treadmill can be a powerful training tool and not a dreadmill, when used properly. The upbeat music, neon lights, inspiring and motivating run coaches like Jes Woods as well as the diverse and challenging workouts have helped me realize the potential I have as a runner when I can push through the mental barriers. If you haven’t had the opportunity to visit one of Mile High’s two locations in New York City, you can bring their workout to your own treadmill using this exclusive workout which was created for Shape Magazine.

IMG_8029

My mid-distance runs and long runs will primarily take place in Prospect Park as it is only a mile from our apartment and the 3.68 mile loop includes plenty of rolling hills as well as gorgeous scenery and perfect dog watching. If any of my running friends want to head out to Prospect Park for a run and brunch, let me know. It can provide a nice change of scenery if you’re tired of Central Park loops or running down the West Side Highway.

NYC-ProspectPark-map

Your turn: What are your thoughts or input? Like I said, I created the plan myself but am always open to suggestions or input! 

*As I mentioned, I am not a personal trainer nor a certified run coach. Therefore, I am providing this information to you based on my experience and suggest that you consult and expert before starting any new training plan. 

Follow:

2015 Savannah Rock’n’Roll Half Marathon Recap – The Short Version

Going into Saturday’s half marathon, my goals were simple: leave everything on the course in hopes of breaking the elusive sub-2 hour half marathon and help my mom and aunt finish their first and second half marathons.

rnr savannah

I spent the week leading up to the Rock’n’Roll Savannah Half Marathon tapering like a seasoned pro. I slept an average of eight hours each night, I hydrated, I ate well, I practiced some gentle yoga, I put together a great pump-up playlist, and I prepared my mind for a great race.

If you want the abbreviated, short version of how the race went down, here is what you need to know as well as a few pictures:

  • The temperatures during the race hovered around 80 degrees with 99% humidity.
  • Due to conditions, I abandon my PR goal at mile 5.7 when my pace went from a solid 9:01 avg to 9:40 due to conditions.
  • My dad and brother were incredible cheerleaders, along with what felt like most of Savannah, and supported us five times along the course! 
  • My mom, aunt and I all finished the half marathon together while Bo pushed forward and ran the 13.1 miles.
  • The race organization and experience was wonderful and Rock’n’Roll continues to impress me though only half the course was in what I’d consider “gorgeous, downtown Savannah.”
  • Due to conditions, the marathon course was closed if you had not reached a certain point by 9:35 AM.
  • This was a smart decision as there were two deaths and hundreds of medical issues for both the half and full marathon. (News articles can be found here and here
  • The word that best describes this year’s running journey is FRIENDS. The majority of this year’s races have become more about spending time with friends (Yes, I consider my mom and aunt to be friends, just ask anyone who knows me well!) and helping others complete a race than toeing the starting line and pushing for a number on the clock. I do not regret this decision and am thankful for the experiences I’ve had. There is always another day for that number on the clock but how often can you run with friends in multiple countries, states and races?

IMG_5946

IMG_5963

IMG_5979

Now, if you want to read the longer version, come back later. Between work and life, this recap has taken longer to type than expected!

Follow: