To Treadmill or not to Treadmill?
Article by: Trainer Travis.
Let’s face it. Some of us love running outdoors no matter the weather conditions while some of us prefer the treadmill. But which is better for actual performance? Critics of treadmill running will often claim that treadmill running is just picking up your feet and letting the matt roll under you. A study in 2008, which examined the difference between running biomechanics in overground running and treadmill running, concluded that the little differences that did show up (slight differences in knee orientation and peak force) were insignificant overall. So running on a treadmill won't ruin your form.
Treadmills do provide more cushioning than a road which might be nice if you have an impact injury or are trying to avoid them. However, there is a drawback to treadmill only training. You won't build the rebound endurance strength you’ll need when you switch to the hard surface of a road or sidewalk and you’ll fatigue quicker in a race. By running on a nice even treadmill, you won't develop your stability muscles and this will be detrimental to performance if your race includes a lot of uneven surfaces (most San Antonio roads and definitely trails). So throw in a few days of trail or road running and you can strengthen your stabilizers. And remember to set the treadmill incline to at least 1% to make up for lack of wind resistance.
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