Treadmills should be a valuable tool in your running training. Many people loathe treadmills – but that may be because they have not seen the potential benefits.
For instance, there are times when treadmill running makes a lot of sense.
- I have young children. And, at least once a month, my wife travels out of town for work. Therefore, having a treadmill in the basement (or in the office) is a tool that allows me to train without leaving the house (or work). That type of flexibility is substantial when you are working hard to juggle a demanding schedule.
- If you are working a job (or maintaining household/family responsibilities), runs often occur in the early morning or late night when it is dark outside. Sure, there’s an element of “toughness” to run in the dark. But, at some point, it can be unsafe – especially running at night when there is traffic and people activity. Treadmill running provides a safer alternative to train at the home, gym, or office.
- It’s the beginning of winter as I write this article. And, in many parts of the country, winter cold weather has arrived in full force. Sometimes, it is just too cold to run outside. Or maybe it is not too cold (or you are super “tuff”) – but the roads are icy or snowy. Although possible to run in these conditions, the risk of slipping and injury is higher. For safety, treadmill running is another great alternative.
Now that you have decided to introduce treadmill running to your program, I want to introduce to another useful tool that makes indoor running as enjoyable as possible --- ZWIFT.
Zwift is a massive multiplayer online cycling and running videogame. It allows users to connect their stationary bikes, trainers, and treadmills to an avatar that races around a virtual world. The platform began in 2014 for cycling and expanded into running in 2018. If you haven’t already heard of ZWIFT, it is time to check it out: www.zwift.com
The key advantage of ZWIFT for treadmill running is less boredom. Instead of staring at a wall or off into the distance, ZWIFT allows the user to watch their avatar run around a virtual world along with other people running with their avatars in real-time. The sights and sounds of the game mimic the experience of running outdoors. Even the weather changes!
Connecting ZWIFT to your treadmill is very easy. Most treadmills are not bluetooth enabled with ZWIFT, so the common method of connection is through a foot pod --- similar to what you might do with a cadence foot pod for a GPS watch. In my experience, once calibrated, the foot pod captures the actual treadmill running pace well.
So, if you dislike treadmills, download ZWIFT and give the “mill” a second chance. If you already enjoy treadmill running, see if ZWIFT can further enhance the experience.
And, if you’re already on ZWIFT look for me running around Watopia.
Chief Vitamin Engineer