Training on a Treadmill

Training for a marathon or even a half marathon is challenging.  The biggest challenge isn’t improving your endurance enough to run a marathon but the challenge is believing you can.  The next issue is working training into an already busy schedule.  If you work with a coach then you are subject to their schedules, the same applies to running with a group.  If you are running outside then you are at the mercy of the weather.  An obvious solution is training on a treadmill.  Trying to train on a treadmill has its own problems, here are some of the more common ones and how to overcome them.

Lack of Scenery

Running on a treadmill can get pretty boring, there is nothing to look at besides the wall in front of you, on the other hand running outside is filled with cars, people, other runners and loads of distractions.  The terrain also varies and there is nothing quite like training on the route you’re expected to run during the marathon.  On the plus side, it is far less likely you will be injured running on a treadmill and you can run in absolutely any weather.  If you are training for the Boston Marathon in early spring, there will be plenty of winter days where running outside is just not an option.  Use the treadmill to augment your training not be the sole source of training.

Boredom

Boredom on a treadmill is a real issue but really it is not the end of the world.  If you are training at a gym there are TV monitors everywhere and music you can listen with a set of headphones.   Training on a treadmill is not a permanent arrangement, it is done when training outside isn’t possible.  Try and alleviate the boredom by running sprints or concentrating on getting your form perfect.  Here are some more tips on overcoming boredom.

Running Alone

If you train outside or even at the gym you have the opportunity to work with a partner or a coach to keep you motivated.  Running clubs to the same thing, you can partner up with someone who is at your fitness level and you can help each other get through the run.  Running with a partner helps you improve your pace and sometimes it is nice just to have someone with you even if there is no conversation.  This is probably the most difficult part of working out alone, but if you want to compete at an elite level and run marathons this is really a very small price to pay once in a while.

Training for a Half Marathon

Training for a half marathon is going to take some dedication even for the most experienced runner.  Beginners and veteran runners tackle this training differently, a beginner will focus on building up their distance and aerobic stamina while at the same time trying to avoid injury.  A seasoned runner will instead will also tackle distance while at the same time try and improve their form.  A quality run will be every bit as important as hitting more miles within their run.   Here are some tips on training for a half marathon for the more experienced runner.

Training Sessions

As a regular runner there are still always new training methods and key components you can work into your run as you become more serious about your training.  One of the best methods to improve your run is to incorporate sprints or speed sessions into your run.  Running sprints can take different forms but essentially what you do is run at a much faster pace than you normally maintain during your regular run.  As you run these speed sessions, you might start out at 10-15 second intervals and you can increase the time as you train.  The purpose of sprints is to train your body to run at a faster pace while still trying to maintain the right form.  Another benefit is that it will also increase your lung capacity at the same time.

Using a Track

If you are lucky enough to have access to a running track either nearby or an indoor track at your health club you can create some pretty specific speed sessions where you can measure distance.  Ideally you want to work your way up to two laps around the track at near your maximum speed, you then rest for 30 seconds and then repeating the exercise.  You want to have somewhere between 6 and 10 800 meter sprint reps if possible.  Eventually you can shorten the rest periods in between and increasing the speed.  Using a track allows you to accurately measure your progress and see how you have improved overtime.  Competitive runners are always looking to improve.

You may also want to check with your local running club and see if there are speed running training or others training for a half marathon as well.  Always start off slowly and build up your endurance.  The last thing you want is to find yourself injured before the big race.