General Discussion Triathlon Talk » Treadmills: How To Best Mimic A Real Run Rss Feed  
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2018-12-17 12:34 PM

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Subject: Treadmills: How To Best Mimic A Real Run
I get they are an alternative option and nothing beats a real run.

However there are some days where its just not possible to run outside in this winter weather. From icy conditions, etc.

What is the latest evidence based knowledge on treadmills and how to best get as close to a real run workout? I've heard everything from run 10% over your typical speed/cadence/HR on a treadmill to putting the incline at 3% to keeping the incline at 0%....

So...to get the best out of my treadmill in lieu of running outside (say for a long run...) whats the best thing to do?


2018-12-17 1:33 PM
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Subject: RE: Treadmills: How To Best Mimic A Real Run

Whatever feels good is probably ok.  You are correct, the "knowledge" is all over the place....what do you expect from "running knowledge"?  I know college D1 runners (the fastest among us) who run at 0 and whatever pace they are looking for....up to 2% incline and whatever pace.  My own college runner says he runs at 0% grade because why not, but will go up depending on the machine and how much bounce there is on 0%.  He says his coach doesn't care what they do on a treadmill, as long as the amount of time is the same as an outdoor run....the rest is mostly over-thinking (imagine that).

I hate treadmills because I get lazy and forget to concentrate on what I'm doing....but I'll use one.....I run on 0% incline and whatever speed allows me to hear the TV or stereo well.



Edited by Left Brain 2018-12-17 1:34 PM
2018-12-17 2:53 PM
in reply to: Left Brain

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Subject: RE: Treadmills: How To Best Mimic A Real Run
In the past I have used 1% to simulate a "flat" road. I have read that if you leave it at 0% you're essentially getting a little free speed (belt slippage I don't know....). I have found that treadmill workouts can be good for intervals. At high speed you've got to engage your core a little bit more than normal etc. I like intervals also because before you know it, the workout's done. Typically no more than 10K/6 miles on the 'mill for me. After that it's Yaktrax on packed snow/ice as the long runs should be easy anyhow.

I'm sure if you search online there's some pro's and coach's who have some things to say (and tips) for running on treadmills.
2018-12-17 3:07 PM
in reply to: TheCrownsOwn

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Subject: RE: Treadmills: How To Best Mimic A Real Run
Unless it's a hill workout, I use a 1% incline.

You can find tons on pros and cons to make treadmills runs as good as outdoor work.

I trained indoors for a marathon and PR'd by utilizing the same plan used for outdoors. Didn't adjust distance or time. Easy runs easy, hard runs hard.
2018-12-17 3:32 PM
in reply to: TheCrownsOwn

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Subject: RE: Treadmills: How To Best Mimic A Real Run

I encourage the athletes I work with and I personally will set the incline to 1% to simulate a flat run.  At the end of the day, I'm more concerned the workout duration is met than having any real concern over incline, or no incline unless it's a specific hill workout.

For hill workouts, I may be one of the few that actually prefers hill workouts be done on the treadmill because you have so much control.

2018-12-17 4:07 PM
in reply to: TheCrownsOwn

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Subject: RE: Treadmills: How To Best Mimic A Real Run

From a RunnersWorld article.

When it comes to what incline you should set your treadmill at, research has shown that when you set the treadmill at a 1 percent incline, it will more closely simulate the “energetic cost” or intensity of outdoor running as it makes up for the lack of wind resistance. Between 8 mph (7:30/mile pace) and 11.2 mph (5:21/mile pace), a 1 percent treadmill grade provides the right adjustment. At paces slower than 8 mph, no adjustment is necessary because the difference is so small, but you can still choose to set the incline at 1 percent. Doing so may give you a little confidence boost when you’re back out on the road.



2018-12-17 6:23 PM
in reply to: k9car363

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Subject: RE: Treadmills: How To Best Mimic A Real Run

Originally posted by k9car363

I encourage the athletes I work with and I personally will set the incline to 1% to simulate a flat run.  At the end of the day, I'm more concerned the workout duration is met than having any real concern over incline, or no incline unless it's a specific hill workout.

For hill workouts, I may be one of the few that actually prefers hill workouts be done on the treadmill because you have so much control.

Right on the money.

2018-12-18 8:16 AM
in reply to: Left Brain

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Subject: RE: Treadmills: How To Best Mimic A Real Run

Jack Daniels (the author, not the whiskey ) has a table of treadmill to running equivalents based on speed/incline.  It's in his Daniels Running Formula book:  (MODS:  delete if this is a copyright problem...)

I typically do my running at 2.5-3.0% because it's better on my joints. 

Also, I really like doing sprint pickups on the TM. like 30" @ 8.5 mph or something.

2018-12-18 9:18 AM
in reply to: jmhpsu93

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Subject: RE: Treadmills: How To Best Mimic A Real Run

I can't get the video to load, but I've got one of my kid doing 18.5 mph intervals on an overspeed treadmill we put him on.  All at 0 incline.  He did them twice a week for 4 weeks.  Dropped his 800 from 1:56 to 1:53 in those 4 weeks.....as a High School Jr.  Treadmills have a purpose if used wisely.....you don't HAVE to mimic outside running.....and the idea that the treadmill does some of the work for you is the whole idea of overspeed, so I don't buy into that either.

2018-12-18 9:34 AM
in reply to: Left Brain

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Subject: RE: Treadmills: How To Best Mimic A Real Run

Originally posted by Left Brain

I can't get the video to load, but I've got one of my kid doing 18.5 mph intervals on an overspeed treadmill we put him on.  All at 0 incline.  He did them twice a week for 4 weeks.  Dropped his 800 from 1:56 to 1:53 in those 4 weeks.....as a High School Jr.  Treadmills have a purpose if used wisely.....you don't HAVE to mimic outside running.....and the idea that the treadmill does some of the work for you is the whole idea of overspeed, so I don't buy into that either.

Was he on a bike? 

2018-12-18 10:38 AM
in reply to: jmhpsu93

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Subject: RE: Treadmills: How To Best Mimic A Real Run


2018-12-18 2:12 PM
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Subject: RE: Treadmills: How To Best Mimic A Real Run

https://youtu.be/US23v8H5eXg

This link is the best I could do.....18.5 mph intervals at 0% grade.  There were, of course, workouts where he went beyond 10% grade, it depended on the protocol for the day.  Before you say that's not 18.5, yes it is.....he's 6'5" with a massive stride and very quick turnover for his size.....most of which gets back to hours and hours of form drills....which was basically the point of these intervals.....arm swing, head and shoulder position, and knee drive while running fast.

My point is, you cannot find a "right" way to work on a treadmill....or to "mimic" an outside workout...  But, like any run workout.....have a plan for what you are doing that day and what you are trying to accomplish.  You can use a treadmill to get that done.  Don't do trash work on a treadmill....that's all you'll get back from it.



Edited by Left Brain 2018-12-18 2:28 PM
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