Use these tricks to take your indoor training to the next level

Thirty-three-year-old Jacob Puzey just set the speed record for running 80 km on a treadmill in 4:57:45. What’s more astonishing (almost) than setting the record, however, is that he ran on a treadmill for 5 straight hours.

Sure, he had the occasional distraction of talking to people, since he did it from the Altra booth at The Running Event trade show in Orlando, Florida. And his wife posted inspirational messages on sticky notes on the treadmill’s console while he ran. But . . . still.
The Calgary, Alberta, Canada-based ultrarunner, marathoner, and coach says he does “a couple runs a week” on a treadmill, including an occasional 35 km run (which takes him almost 2 hours).

“I like treadmill runs because you can get in some quality workouts without the safety issues of running on slick roads in the winter,” he says. Needless to say, Puzey knows how to embrace the machine most runners refer to as the “dreadmill.” Here are his tips.

Think Quality

Use the treadmill for your quality workouts, like progression runs and fartleks (training that varies the level of effort and speed). For progression runs, Puzey recommends starting at a really easy pace and gradually increasing the speed by one tenth km per hour every 400 meters.

“I’ll start at 12 or 14 kms per hour and increase it up to 19 km per hour over a 60 to 90 or 16-24 km run,” he says. For fartleks, he recommends warming up at an easy pace, then doing a 1- or 2-minute effort with 1 or 2 minutes at an easy pace in between.

“Prioritise the times you use the treadmill and you can get really fit,” he says. (Plus, hard training efforts on a treadmill make the time fly by.)

Use Technology

Puzey acknowledges the benefit of technologies—like iFit Coach and DVDs with virtual courses, which make you feel like you’re running somewhere else. And he’s a fan of watching TV on long treadmill runs.

“When I did the 35 km run, I’d go back and forth between Fox News and MSNBC. That kept me pretty fired up,” he laughs.

“And I plan to preview the entire Boston Marathon course several times in training from the comfort of my own home in Calgary using the iFit Coach app on my treadmill.”

Tune In

Aside from visual tech, invest in a good pair of running headphones and crank up the tunes. During the 80-km record, Puzey listened to everything from mellow, island-inspired tunes like Bob Marley and Israel Kamakawiwo’ole, to more upbeat stuff.

“The beat to Eminem’s Lose Yourself is the exact rhythm of the cadence I wanted to keep,” he says.

Split Your Runs

“You don’t have to do a super-long run every time to get all of the benefits,” says Puzey.
Splitting up your run into two sessions in a day can make the distance—and time on the treadmill—more bearable, while still getting in the kilometres.

Puzey says that double treadmill runs serve as nice bookends to the day and keep your resting metabolic rate higher than it would be with just one run.

Appreciate Your Personal Aid Station

Part of the beauty of a treadmill run is that you can load the panel up front with your food and drink. “You don’t have to carry a bottle or set [things] out ahead of time on your long run, hoping they’re still there when you get there,” says Puzey.

“Plus you can train your system to eat and drink more consistently on a treadmill. This will help on race day if the distance you’re training for requires regular fuelling.”

Embrace It

“When you learn to just ‘be’ on a treadmill, there are not many excuses to not run,” says Puzey. Running on a treadmill removes many of the other distractions and variables that may alter the way you move or feel on a run, which enables you to really get in tune with your body.
“I like to focus on my stride, cadence, and breathing when I run on a treadmill,” he says. “If possible, I run in front of a mirror to ensure my arm carriage is efficient. When I first started running I had terrible form. Over the years and through deliberate practice on a treadmill I have become a more economical runner.”