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Take a second look at treadmill running.

Does the idea of treadmill running seem about as exciting as sorting paper clips? Do you consider treadmill running to be your last choice for training, acceptable only during hurricanes and the deadliest heat waves? The very essence of running is to deal with and take pleasure from the outdoor elements-fresh air, hills, wind and weather, bad air, angry commuters-the whole gamut See color gamut.

gamut - The gamut of a monitor is the set of colours it can display. There are some colours which can't be made up of a mixture of red, green and blue phosphor emissions and so can't be displayed by any monitor.
, good and bad. If this is your position, you may be missing a great tool and a positive addition to your running repertoire.

Training on the Endless Path to Nowhere

A treadmill provides an opportunity to run anytime, regardless of hour of the day or weather conditions, variables that can hamper outdoor running. For some runners, this is a major advantage in itself. Busy schedules may force you to fit your run into a time of day when you'd rather not hit the streets. But neither dark of night nor heat of day impedes the treadmill runner. It is always there, like a devoted dog, ready to run anytime you are.

If you are running to better your times and improve, the treadmill is a perfect tool to monitor progress and apply training techniques--every variable can be handled objectively. If you want to run 400-meter intervals with a 200-meter recovery, you don't have to use guesswork or find a track. Pace, distance, time, heart rate, incline angle--it's all right there on a digital display. Whether you want to Fartlek fart·lek  
1. An athletic training technique, used especially in running, in which periods of intense effort alternate with periods of less strenuous effort in a continuous workout.

2. A workout using this technique.
, try a mile at a new pace, drop your usual pace and increase distance, it is a simple matter to adjust any variable. And you never have to guess or cheat yourself. Whether you want to train for a 5K, or a marathon, you can monitor your training progress objectively. Even if you are an outdoor runner, it can be a good test now and then to try your pace on a treadmill.

Treadmill Zen

Running in an urban area, it can be difficult to achieve the meditative med·i·ta·tive  
Characterized by or prone to meditation. See Synonyms at pensive.

 benefits of running. Losing time and place can be a challenge when you're dodging traffic, worrying about seedy characters, waiting for green lights, and sucking tailpipe tail·pipe  
The pipe through which exhaust gases from an engine are discharged. Also called exhaust pipe.


a pipe from which exhaust gases are discharged, esp.
 exhaust. On a treadmill, it is easy to fall into a rhythm and lose yourself in the experience. Put on a set of headphones Head-mounted speakers. Headphones have a strap that rests on top of the head, positioning a pair of speakers over both ears. For listening to music or monitoring live performances and audio tracks, both left and right channels are required.  and music you love and the Zenzone can be a breeze to achieve.

Retraining re·train  
tr. & intr.v. re·trained, re·train·ing, re·trains
To train or undergo training again.

 after a Layoff

If you've suffered an injury or another reason for a layoff, getting back on track is always a challenge. For some, it's hard to hold back and avoid re-injury or a new injury by progressing too fast. The treadmill's greatest advantage is the ease in tracking progress and controlling variables. Choose your walking speed, and distance; add distance; increase speed within controlled limits; or add a 10-minute jog. The key is complete control.

Outdoors it may be tempting to take on too much too soon--the hill is steeper than you remembered, the turnaround point farther. Rehab training often includes the warning to be accountable to pain--if it starts to hurt, stop and drop back in your training load. If you do that on the road, you may be a few miles away from home when pain tells you to quit. On a treadmill, you're there. You don't have to add that three miles on top of a recovering injury to get back home.

Treadmill surfaces and platforms are designed to be gentler on the joints than road surfaces, so that impact forces are lower. Injury rehabilitation rehabilitation: see physical therapy.  can be even safer than returning to road running. Treadmill running may also reduce impact forces even further when the surface is set for an incline.

Every Story has Two Sides

Reporting in Medicine and Science in Sport and Exercise, researchers evaluated the kinematics kinematics: see dynamics.

Branch of physics concerned with the geometrically possible motion of a body or system of bodies, without consideration of the forces involved.
 and biomechanics The study of the anatomical principles of movement. Biomechanical applications on the computer employ stick modeling to analyze the movement of athletes as well as racing horses.
 of treadmill running and determined that running on a treadmill increases the muscular demands made on hip flexors In human anatomy, the hip flexors are a group of muscles (including the iliopsoas which passes through the pelvis) that act to flex the femur onto the lumbo-pelvic complex.  and knee extensors. The authors concluded that treadmill running might improve sprint times due to the extra effort of those key muscles. Other studies have shown that the treadmill requires a higher stride frequency because the treadmill pushes the rear leg forward and the advancing leg must plant more quickly. As a result, a faster cadence cadence, in music, the ending of a phrase or composition. In singing the voice may be raised or lowered, or the singer may execute elaborate variations within the key.  and shorter stride produces more steps per mile and the cardiovascular demands of running may be higher on a treadmill than outdoors at the same pace.

For the same reason that the aerobic benefits of running may be greater on a treadmill, it may be that injury risk is also higher--more total impact forces per mile of running. In a review of the research on treadmill walking and running, authors state that the increased frequency can be a problem for runners with biomechanical Biomechanical may refer to:
  • Bioengineering
  • Biomaterial
  • Biomechanical (band)
  • Biomechanics
  • Biomechanoid
  • Biorobotics
  • Bioship
  • Cyborg
  • Organic (model)
 flaws. Additional repetitious rep·e·ti·tious  
Filled with repetition, especially needless or tedious repetition.

 steps may increase the risk of injury more than that of ground running.

Another risk of injury is unique to treadmill running. With a motorized mo·tor·ize  
tr.v. mo·tor·ized, mo·tor·iz·ing, mo·tor·iz·es
1. To equip with a motor.

2. To supply with motor-driven vehicles.

3. To provide with automobiles.
 belt beneath your feet driving ever onward--even at paces slower than sprints--one misstep can jettison jettison (jĕt`əsən, –zən) [O.Fr.,=throwing], in maritime law, casting all or part of a ship's cargo overboard to lighten the vessel or to meet some danger, such as fire.  your body off the back of the treadmill at an amazing a·maze  
v. a·mazed, a·maz·ing, a·maz·es
1. To affect with great wonder; astonish. See Synonyms at surprise.

2. Obsolete To bewilder; perplex.

 force and speed. Obviously, subsequent encounters with unyielding objects like walls, other equipment, or the floor can be devastating dev·as·tate  
tr.v. dev·as·tat·ed, dev·as·tat·ing, dev·as·tates
1. To lay waste; destroy.

2. To overwhelm; confound; stun: was devastated by the rude remark.
 (and really embarrassing if you're at the gym).

And there is the problem of boredom. For some, no advantage could compensate for the tedium inherent in the treadmill. So while it's not for everyone, you might want to try it out if you have avoided the machine alternative to outdoor running. It may be a tool that can move your running to the next level and you actually might love it. (Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 2000, Vol. 32, No. 6, pp. 1146-1155; Biomechanics, 2000, Vol. 7, No. 6, pp. 59-70.)

RELATED ARTICLE: Just in case you're dubious that treadmill training can work even for the serious runners, here's a case to silence the doubters. In one of the greatest upsets in Olympic history, Christine Clark, 37-year-old physician and mother of two in Anchorage, Alaska won the Olympic Marathon Trials in South Carolina South Carolina, state of the SE United States. It is bordered by North Carolina (N), the Atlantic Ocean (SE), and Georgia (SW). Facts and Figures

Area, 31,055 sq mi (80,432 sq km). Pop. (2000) 4,012,012, a 15.
 finishing in 2:33:31, improving her personal record by 7:07. She did almost all her training indoors on a treadmill in her basement. Training at a warm indoor temperature gave her the additional advantage of being better prepared for the heat in South Carolina than most of her competitors. She was still running strong during the last six miles of the race.


In his new book Alberto Salazar Alberto Salazar (born August 7 1958 in Cuba) is an American marathon runner of the 1980s. Born in Cuba, Salazar immigrated to the United States with his family. They ultimately moved to Wayland, Massachusetts, where Salazar competed in track and field in high school. , a big fan of the treadmill, provides training information for everyone from a novice exerciser starting out walking, to an advanced runner. Here is his suggested training routine for an advanced workout--you'll see why it's advanced. The session starts out with a base pace or recovery pace, that for Salazar, is a 7:03 mile pace. He then works his way down to a 5:00 mile, alternating every .12 mile with his base pace. Then he reverses the process slowing his pace incrementally with base pace recovery periods in between. The result is a Fartlek run of six to eight miles that gradually speeds up and gradually slows down, with recovery breaks all the way. Check it out and then see how to calculate your own base pace to adjust the workout if your pace is not-so-Salazar. If you keep up with the pros, take his workout as is.

To calculate your own base or recovery pace, use your marathon or 10K pace and then add 30 seconds per mile. So, if you run a four-hour marathon, which is about a nine-minute mile pace, use 9:30 as your base pace or recovery. You would start at 9:30, increase the speed for .12 mile, drop back to 9:30 for recovery then increase a little more, and so on. What you have then, is a workout that has been a challenge, and far from boring. You may find that it is easier to challenge yourself when the objectives are so concrete and your feedback is so direct. Fun, flexible, satisfying, and the potential for real results--this is what treadmill running can be--and no smog.

For more information on treadmill running, see Alberto Salazar's new book Treadmill Running and Workout Guide, 2000, Hatherleigh Press, New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of
, NY, 123 pp., $14.99.
Alberto's Treadmill Training Session

Speed      Setting     Distance

7:03/mile  base        .12 mile
6:58       up one      .12 mile
7:03       down one    .12 mile
6:53       up two      .12 mile
7:03       down two    and
6:49       up three    so
7:03       down three  on...

...continue to 5:00 miles, including recoveries, then reverse the
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Author:Newman, Carol
Publication:Running & FitNews
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 1, 2000
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