How A Treadmill Can Help You Train For Your Tri

author : KevinJonesJJ
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How to get the most out of your treadmill training

Training for a triathlon calls for a ton of dedication and endurance. Ideally, triathletes should train - run, swim or cycle- under conditions similar to those they expect to experience in a race. However, sometimes inclement weather, including scorching heat or freezing cold, can disrupt those plans.

When this happens, the treadmill can provide an opportunity to continue training without having to leave your home. While some are still hesitant to embrace the treadmill, treadmill training for a triathlon does have some benefits, and top triathletes usually include treadmill running as part of their workout regimen. Ultimately, it comes down to how, not whether, a triathlete uses a treadmill in their training.

Ways Treadmills Help Triathletes Train

  • It gives you diversity by allowing you to manipulate pace, incline, and distance. No other machine gives you quite the diversity that a treadmill does. This piece of equipment allows you to adjust your running pace and incline to suit your training, which in turn helps build your endurance and speed. In the end, your running performance improves.

  • Using a treadmill allows you to focus more on your cadence and running technique. Running indoors means that you have fewer distractions. While this might get boring, you can use it to your advantage by paying more attention to your cadence and running form. For best results, position your treadmill in front of a mirror to see if you’re keeping proper running form.

  • For triathletes, speed training on a treadmill is more effective than longer sessions. Switching to short fast speed sets on your treadmill has been found to have several benefits over longer marathon-style sessions. These include boosting your blood lactate threshold rates (which improves your ability to maintain intense activities) as well as improving your leg strength and keeping your neuromuscular system in good shape. All these combined make you a more efficient runner.

  • A treadmill allows you to easily keep track of your progress. Most treadmills these days come equipped with thumb sensors, pulse grips or chest straps to help you monitor your heart rate. This can help you evaluate whether you’re improving, e.g., a lower heart rate for the same running distance or speed could mean that your body is now used to the exertion.

Of course, running indoors can get boring after a while, but you can solve this by either listening to music as you train or other forms of entertainment.

Implementing A Treadmill Training Routine

While training outdoors in a setting similar to a tri route is preferable, incorporating treadmill training indoors will also benefit you in a number of ways. Here’s a simple treadmill routine you can start off with from the comfort of your home.

Warm Up: Just like in other exercise sessions, you need to start with a warm-up session to get your heart rate up and muscles warmed.

Start off with a slow jog for 8-12 minutes at 1.5 to 2% grade (incline). Gradually increase your outside pace or standard aerobic speed as you get into the last 3-5 minutes of your warm-up. This allows your heart rate to catch up. Once you hit your aerobic speed, you can proceed to the first set.

First Set: Run with a moderately hard effort for 6X2 minutes on a hill, taking 1-minute rest intervals as follows

  • Start with 45 seconds at 5% grade

  • Do another 45 seconds at 6 percent grade

  • Follow that with 30-second intervals at 7 percent grade

  • Take a 1-minute rest interval while at 2 percent grade.

  • Repeat the above 5-8 more times. Ensure you maintain your aerobic pace throughout and don’t go down to a slower speed.

Second Set: The focus here will be helping you maintain good form and leg turnover. You’ll do 8-12x20 seconds at 0-.5 percent grade, working at your sub-threshold pace. These segments are short to avoid unnecessarily stressing you out.

  • Start by running for 20 seconds, maintaining good control, balance and symmetry. Remember it’s not a flat out sprint.

  • Then jump off the belt and straddle the treadmill for 20 seconds.

  • Jump back on the treadmill for another 20 seconds.

  • Repeat the sequence 8-12 times.

Third Set: If time allows, work in a third set where you run at a steady aerobic pace for 12-20 minutes at 1.5-2 percent grade.

Extra Credit: To get more out of your training, repeat the 1st set at 6x1 minute on hills at 5-7 percent grades with moderately hard to hard effort at the end. Have a 1-minute rest interval between each round.

Cool Down: End your treadmill training session by running at 10 minutes at an easy speed.

So, you can be sure that as you work out on your treadmill, your outdoor performance will not be negatively impacted, but actually improved! 

Kevin Jones with Nordic Track says treadmill training adds another element to your training and gives you the option to train indoors with no restrictions. Buying a treadmill for your home at a discounted price is ideal and can help you as you prepare for your next race. Don’t let the elements restrict your training.


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date: October 28, 2018


Kevin Jones has mastered a busy lifestyle with work and fitness combined with family life. He writes offering solutions for personal fitness and time management as well as keeping families fit together by utilizing activities and diet.


Kevin Jones has mastered a busy lifestyle with work and fitness combined with family life. He writes offering solutions for personal fitness and time management as well as keeping families fit together by utilizing activities and diet.

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