Five Reasons to Try Treadmill Workouts This Winter

By Jana Richtrova, Coolcore athlete

Fall temperatures are here and winter is right around the corner. That means daylight is becoming harder to find and getting those outdoor workouts in can be just a little more difficult.

Bundling up and braving the elements is easier than ever thanks to Coolcore’s new fall and winter thermal gear, but on days you want to stay inside, consider the treadmill as a top option.

Here are five reasons a treadmill can be a valuable training tool:

Quality, Safety, Efficiency, Convenience

Treadmill running allows you to put all your focus on your workout (especially when speed/tempo intervals are included), eliminating the safety concern of running on slick or icy roads or sidewalks. It allows you to control your own pace and incline, and really get in tune with your body. A treadmill also lets you to focus on your stride, your cadence, and even your breathing rhythm without any distractions. You can even take it to next level by running in front of a mirror, which can give you great visual cues and help you with things like relaxed shoulders and arm carriage, or hip alignment.

Strong Mind, Strong Body

There is a reason many people call the treadmill the “dreadmill”—running in place is mentally challenging. There is no hiding from those clearly enumerated paces and inclines on the treadmill. It tests not only the body but also the mind, and we all know how important mental strength is in endurance sports. Embrace it! Getting in tune with your body and getting used to running at a higher-numbered pace or incline will help you when you hit the roads!

Fueling and Nutrition

Let’s face it, most runners don’t think about fueling and nutrition until a few weeks before the race, especially when it’s cold out. Taking off your warm, comfy gloves to open up a gel, or whatever your nutrition is, is probably the last thing you want to do. On the treadmill, however, you can have nutrition at your fingertips and you can and should practice it! Training your gut is just as important if not more than the pure physical grind. Regardless of how well your training may be going, nutrition will make or break your race, especially when training for long distance races.

Acclimating to Heat

Are you training for a spring race like the Boston Marathon or an early season Ironman (Ironman Texas) like myself? Doing a few runs per week on the treadmill in the winter can help you acclimate to running in warmer weather. Because of the lack of wind, you will definitely heat up much quicker and will have to deal with keeping the pace. If you sweat like I do, I highly recommend wearing cooling clothing as well as a moisture-wicking headband. My favorite is, of course, made by Coolcore.

A Forgiving and Predictable Surface

A treadmill can be great for you if you are experiencing aches and pains or are coming back from injury as the surface is a bit more forgiving and even, unlike the roads. It also allows you to stop when you want to, so it is a great option for short runs as you test yourself post-injury.

Training for a hilly or flat race? You can run hills, or you can run flats whenever you wish. I personally like to do some of my hill work on the treadmill all year because it forces me to keep my speed consistent throughout the entire interval. It’s also great for recovery runs because I can keep the surface flat and the truly pace easy. Depending on the type of treadmill, you can even upload specific courses where the elevation is being adjusted for you as you run. Don’t have one of those fancy treadmills and want to train on your race course? Print out the elevation map and adjust the incline based on it!

A treadmill is definitely not for the weak. It’s a great training tool essential for those of us who live in harsh weather environments, whether it is cold or hot. I am by no means advocating for 100% treadmill running, but when combined with running outdoors it can definitely help in your overall development as a runner.

So, embrace the treadmill. Don’t just look at it as a tool to get out of unpleasant weather conditions. And remember, Coolcore has your covered regardless of where you choose to run!