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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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!