Treadmills are an amazing way to continue your running when your schedule is tight, or the weather turns and running outside no longer becomes an option for you.
If you’re used to running outside only, you might think that all treadmills are the same and there isn’t much to think about other than the style and cool features they have. Sorry to say it, but that's not true.
There are treadmills out there for any level of runner, but elite runners need to find a treadmill that can match them in speed and durability.
If your deck or belt, meaning the part which you run on, isn’t long enough or doesn’t rotate fast enough, then the treadmill will be too slow for you.
The faster you go then the longer your stride will be, so you’re going to need a deck that is 54 inches or longer. When it comes to motors, you need to look for the range of horsepower, often written as hp.
Most home treadmills have a horsepower of 1 to 5hp. If you were to buy anything that was less than 3 hp and you are an elite runner, then your motor might not be able to keep up with you.
Those two features are what matters for elite runners especially, but the other things you need to consider are also good points for average runners too. These things are the sturdiness of the frame, the emergency stop button, easy buttons, and easy gauges.
If you’re running fast and something unexpected happens, you’re going to need the emergency stop button to safely slow down and stop the machine quickly. Anything could trigger an event that needs this feature, which is why most treadmills have them automatically.
A sturdy frame gives you something to grab onto in these situations. The faster you go, the stronger the frame needs to be.
When it comes to easy to read gauges and easy to read buttons, this might seem like an obvious thing to look out for, but if your treadmill has buttons that take more than a second to activate, then you won't be concentrating on your footwork. That can be dangerous.
Can you train for a marathon on a treadmill?
You can absolutely train for a marathon on a treadmill. You can use it as part of your training, for example in winter when running outside can be dangerous, or you can use it as your main training method!
When it comes to marathon running, there are some things you need to keep in mind.
For one, the inside of your home is not the same as the beautiful outdoors. Hear me out! When you’re running on a treadmill, you are running in the same place and not pushing through the air.
When you’re running outside you will experience “drag” which is the scientific term for wind resistance. When you leap from treadmill to outdoor running that new experience of drag will slow you down.
To combat this, you need to increase the incline of your treadmill to 1%, so when the marathon comes you will be prepared for that drag.
Another thing for you to keep an eye out for is if your treadmill has a marathon speed workout. Many treadmills have marathon training plans to help you for the big day.
Normally the auto speed work out is set up with a 10 minute warm up on a 1%, 2 %, or 3% incline. Then 6 minutes at your long distance pace on a 3% incline, a 90 second walking gap for recovery, and then a 3 minute long distance pace on a 3% incline.
This repeats until you’ve crossed the finish line, then to cool off with a 5 minute slow cool down walk on a 1% incline.
That level of control is a great way to prepare yourself and get faster for the marathon.
The last thing to keep in your mind is that outdoor surfaces are not as soft as treadmills. This means that training full time on your treadmill might not prepare you for the impact on your knees, ankles, and back.
To make sure this doesn’t become a shock to you when you run the marathon, you should try and run outside every now and then. This way you prepare your body for the different terrain.