Running on trails is different from any other type of running. In Singapore (home of Coach Shem Leong), the call of the wild offers us a much needed escape from the din of the grey urban landscape. If the promise of getting a little muddy and filling your lungs with freshly oxygenated rain forest air […]
The treadmill is a very misunderstood part of the arsenal of tools available to a triathlete. Using the treadmill, you can get a better return on your training time if you learn to use it in the right way. For example, one ironguides athlete turned his two-hour long run into his 1:34 long run over the course of about a year using the treadmill for specific sets including his long run.
Most of the people I coach are encouraged to make heavy use of the treadmill, especially if they are based in big cities with limited access to good running venues. I can tell you that a few professional world champions have run almost exclusively on the treadmill for long stretches and come off running faster than ever. How does a treadmill contribute so much to improved run skills?
In basic terms, running on a flat treadmill enables you to run at the same aerobic load as on land, but to run at a faster pace for that aerobic load. Meaning: You can run faster for longer, which means you are training neuromuscular patterns to fire at a rate that equates to a faster run pace. The aerobic training component in either case is the same
What does this mean? It means you are getting more bang for your training buck. Yes, a 7min mile on a flat treadmill “feels” easier than a flat 7min mile on land — and it is — but remember that the context here is to run at the same aerobic load. If you can hold a 7:00min/mile pace on land for 20min, and you can hold a 6:50min/mile pace on the treadmill for 20min, that 20min run on the treadmill will give you the same aerobic training load but will teach your motor neurons to fire at a faster pace. Do this often enough for long enough and you are teaching your nerves to fire at a faster rate — your muscles follow suit and learn to contract at a faster rate. You run faster because you’re training more than just your aerobic system.
As you come to better feel and understand the usefulness of this approach, you can come to use the treadmill then to simulate triathlon running more closely. You can make use of the gradient option, a nearby spin bike or weight machines to strip the strength from your legs and force yourself to run fast on tired legs. As long as you approach the session with the underlying goal of running with best-possible form (don’t get lazy or sloppy), you can quickly improve triathlon-specific run skills. There are all kinds of ways of doing this outside, too.
By enabling you to closely control the variables (wind, gradient, surface), the treadmill lets you better monitor improvement over time and get a better feel for how your body responds to changes in your training environment: Sleep, nutrition, life stress and so on. Over time, you develop a better intuitive feeling for your training state of body and mind and as your training career progresses, you can use your past sessions to compare current treadmill performances in certain sets and immediately see where your fitness level is without having to test yourself over race distances.
So getting back to your question: Running on a flat treadmill at the same pace as on windless, flat land (hard or track or similar surface) is easier to maintain. But by inverting that standard way of perceiving the situation and asking: Does a treadmill allow me to hold a faster pace at no extra aerobic burden? you can come a step closer to making use of some great tools and structuring your training in a way that makes your training much more effective and specifically useful for triathletes.
SWIMBIKERUN.ph / Vinnie Santana / Ironguides
Let’s face it, running is one of the reasons why triathlon is such a boom right now. But, as more and more runners slowly trickle their way into the multisport world by joining aquathlons, duathlons, and then a triathlon (ahem: SBR.ph Tri Series) , ironguides Coach Shem Leong from Singapore has some great advice on how to get your feet wet in the sport of triathlon.
Coach Jojo “Jomac” Macalintal is the Head Coach of TriMac Coaching and has been doing marathons, triathlons and cycling races for over 15 years. Today he remains a consistent medalist in his respective age category in local triathlons and duathlons. He is a certified level 2 triathlon coach by the INTERNATIONAL TRIATHLON UNION (ITU). Coach […]
The Barefoot Running Injury Epidemic Business is booming at America’s running injury clinics. Written by: Matt Fitzgerald Darwin Fogt, PT, owner of Evolution Physical Therapy in Culver City, CA, is alarmed by a stark new trend at his facility: runners with injuries caused by barefoot (or virtually barefoot) running. Fogt says he has four or […]
Are you targetting a sub 50min 10k? Click the link below to view one of the most hotly discussed topic in the SWIMBIKERUN.ph forum. Feel free to post your inputs! CLICK TO VIEW SUB 50 10k TRAINING PROGRAM DISCUSSION
We got two emails asking our SBR online coach Jojo Macalintal of TriMac Coaching about speedwork. See below for his answers. 1. From Ruel Pobres, Cebu City Hi Coach Jomac! I’m slowly building up my mileage and thinking of doing my first triathlon this year. I’m just getting my programs off the internet and some […]
It’s a daunting challenge. You’ve just completed a 4km swim and 112 miles of cycling. Now the marathon lies ahead. Whether your goal is to run a personal best or merely get to the finish line, you will need exceptional fitness. How do you prepare for such a task? Training for an Iron-Marathon Let’s start […]
The run-training portion of preparing for your first Ironman should be approached with caution. This is one area where you stand a good chance of being injured if you try and do too much too soon. If you are an accomplished runner with a few marathons under your belt, than most of this page isn’t […]
Assuming that you are in good physical condition and have built a reasonable aerobic base (you’re comfortable at sustained running for 30 minutes or more on a regular basis), interval training can be your best choice for improving fitness, developing running economy, and getting faster. You do not need to be a competitive athlete to […]
In the last several weeks before your goal race, your key workouts should closely simulate the demands that will be associated with the 10K-run leg of your triathlon. The most race-specific key running workouts are tempo runs at or near race pace, moderately long runs at a moderately brisk pace and transition runs (i.e. runs […]
Did you fade over the final eight miles of your Ironman race? Were you able to develop your speed for your Olympic- and sprint-distance races? You did your track workouts, but what went wrong? To answer these questions you need to take a look at the consistency and progression of your endurance-building long run during […]