11 Reasons You Should Include Treadmill Running In Your Training

Treadmill running is usually not at the top of anyone’s list of “favorite” activities.

It can be mundane and boring. Without a change in scenery, it may seem like the activity never ends. There is a reason some people call them dreadmills, after all.

But there are some really good reasons to incorporate treadmill running into your routine. Personally, I’ve found myself doing so more and more as I’ve become a more consistent runner. I’ve got a running streak going of well over a year, and that would have been impossible without the treadmill in my home gym.

So here are 11 reasons you might want to consider adding treadmill running to your training plan.

1. Treadmill Running Is a Great Way to Avoid Bad Weather

The most obvious reason is probably to avoid bad weather.

If you look at the Google trends data for the phrase “treadmill running,” you’ll see a spike every January. I would hazard a guess that this is related, in part, to the end of crisp fall mornings and the start of frigid winter days.

Moving your run to the treadmill has the advantage of moving it inside – so you’re out of the weather and out of the elements.

Early on a winter morning, this means avoiding frigid temperatures. It’s also a great alternative when you wake up to a foot of snow, and your favorite running routes are not adequately cleared. So far, this winter has been mild. But that could change.

In July and August, this also might mean avoiding a hot, humid day. Or a heavy thunderstorm. Or maybe just a light rain on a cool day that you don’t feel like dealing with.

I’ve gone out in my fair share of horrible conditions, but there’s nothing wrong with making the decision to stay inside. These days, I take a look at the weather forecast each week and I usually plan ahead when I will likely run on the treadmill.

2. Increase Your Flexibility in Time of Day to Run

Another advantage to running inside on your treadmill is that you have more flexibility in when you can run.

I’m typically a morning runner. If I have to wake up particularly early, I might be out before dawn. Instead of running on dark streets – or stumbling on a dark trail – I’m more inclined to jog on my treadmill in the basement.

Similarly, if I plan to do a double and I can’t run until after work, I may not want to run outside. Summer evening runs are great. Winter evening runs are not. Cold, dark, and the potential for ice is a recipe for catastrophe.

Then there are other times that I need to run late in the morning and doing so outside would be problematic. I hate heat and humidity, and summer training is rough. When the overnight low is in the 70’s and the humidity is high, I try to get out first thing in the morning or I probably won’t go out. Going for a two hour long run starting at 9am on a hot, summer day is not a good idea.

And those are the days that I really prefer my treadmill to the pavement.

3. Stay Close to the Bathroom

Another reason I hate summer training is that heat and humidity do a number on my digestive system.

I don’t have many issues in the winter, and on shorter runs I usually don’t have a problem. But on a summer long run, I routinely find myself making a pit stop at a bathroom.

If you have a lot of well maintained bathrooms along your route, that’s not a problem. But if that’s not the case, staying inside is a great choice. When nature calls, you hit the pause button, run to the bathroom, and you’re back on the machine in no time.

This also helps when I have less time in my morning routine. I usually wake up, drink a cup of coffee, and use the bathroom before I run. That means 45 minutes to an hour from my morning alarm to when I head out the door. Skipping the coffee and bathroom visit is usually ill advised.

But I can roll out of bed and hop on the treadmill in five minutes. If and when I feel the urge, I can easily take a quick break without worrying where the nearest bathroom is.

4. Make Hydration Convenient For Longer Runs

In the winter, I usually don’t carry any water with me. Today, I did 14 miles and had no issues at all. But when the weather is warmer, I do carry some water for my longer runs.

In the fall or spring, a small amount of water will do. A single handheld flask (like this one) or a small armband hydration pack (like this one) might do the trick. But on a hot summer day, especially one when I’ll be out for two hours or more, I’m going to need more.

You’ve got options – planting additional water along your route, wearing a 2 liter hydration vest (like this one), or a water fountain (if those still exist by you).

But the nice thing about running inside on your treadmill is that you can easily keep a stash of ice cold water handy. I can use a big, insulated hydroflask, and I can keep my water ice cold. It helps to step off the treadmill for a second to drink without spilling, but it is much more convenient than trying to carry a large amount of water with you.

5. Be Home For Your Small Child

I don’t have an infant, but I have read about the travails of new mothers and fathers on r/AdvancedRunning.

Having a newborn or a small child is going to mess with your schedule, and you might just not feel like running at all. And that’s ok.

But what if you do want to run, but you’ve also got to keep an eye on the baby? You can’t just leave the house, and it’s not fair to your partner to disappear for an hour or two to enjoy a long run.

If you’ve got a baby monitor, and the baby is asleep (for now), you can head down to the basement for a quick jog. If the baby needs something, hop off and take care of it. Otherwise, enjoy your run.

You might be interrupted, and it’s not the perfect training environment. But it’s better than doing absolutely nothing until the baby is old enough to join you for a proper run in the jogging stroller.

The same goes for older children as well as infants. You might need to be in the house to keep an eye on them in case something happens, but you don’t necessarily need to have eyes directly on them. Or maybe you do, in which case you can combine your home gym with a playroom until they get old enough to supervise themselves for a bit.

6. Sometimes There Are No Convenient Routes

I’m blessed to have some good running routes right at my doorstep.

I’ve got a series of trails across the street, a 1.75 mile loop around a reservoir a couple blocks away, and some decent roads I can string together for long runs.

But not everyone’s this lucky. And sometimes I can’t use these routes, either.

After a good snowstorm, it might be warm enough for me to run outside – but all my usual routes are still covered in snow. And when I travel, sometimes I find myself at a hotel on a highway, without any roads I can safely run along.

That’s a perfect reason to choose the treadmill. Avoid the unshoveled sidewalks and dangerous traffic, and just jog along in the safety and comfort of your basement. Or the gym at your hotel.

7. If You’re Already At the Gym, Treadmill Running Is Super Convenient

I don’t go out to the gym anymore, but once upon a time I did have a gym membership. Good old Planet Fitness – $10 per month.

When I did, it just made sense to jog on the treadmill for a couple miles after my workout. I’d get to the gym, lift some weights, and then spend 30 minutes jogging.

I’m already sweaty, and I’ve already gotten some clothes dirty. It seems silly to go home, clean up, and get sweaty all over again.

If you’re already at the gym working out, it’s super convenient to hop on the treadmill.

8. You’re Traveling, and You’ve Got Problems

If I can, I love running through a new city and exploring.

The first thing I do when I get some place new is I pore over Google Maps or the Strava Global Heatmap to find some promising routes. I don’t mind running in the city, but I usually try to find my way to a park or a moderate trail.

But sometimes this just doesn’t work. Sometimes there’s nothing exciting nearby. Other times, the hotel is on a freeway.

And if I’m traveling for work, there’s a good chance my schedule is thrown out of whack. This might make my morning routine a little unpredictable, and without familiar routes I don’t know where the good bathrooms are.

The solution? The treadmill in the hotel’s fitness center.

It’s not usually my first choice, but I like to book a hotel with a decent fitness center to make sure that I have a back up option.

9. You Need to Force an Easy Pace

Besides convenience, the other great thing about treadmill running is that it forces you to stick to a particular pace.

A lot of people have trouble taking their easy days easy. Once you get warmed up, it just comes naturally to speed up. That’s not always a problem, but if you’re in the peak week of marathon training you’d be well advised to make sure those easy days aren’t too hard.

When I was rehabbing my hip flexor and trying to ease back into running, I stuck exclusively with trails and with the treadmill. Both of these helped me slow down. If I was running on the road, I’d probably ease into a 8:30 to 9:00 pace. Anything slower just feels clunky and uncomfortable.

But on the treadmill, I can set the pace at 9:30 to 10:00 and it still feels normal. It’s a good way to keep yourself honest when you need to slow down.

10. You Need to Force a Consistent Pace

On the other end of the spectrum, you might need to run a sustained pace for a long period of time.

Long tempos, especially long marathon paced tempos, can be tough. It’s a mental slog, and it can be tough to keep a consistent pace for a long period of time.

Running that tempo run on the treadmill let’s you easily dial in the pace you want. No accidentally speeding up, and no temptation to slow down.

Of course, you do need to make sure that your treadmill is well calibrated, and that you’re actually running at the speed you think you’re running. And it pays to do some of these tempo runs on the road so that you can learn to pace yourself in your race.

But there’s nothing wrong with moving a few of those long tempos to the treadmill to make things go more smoothly.

11. You Want to Add Variation and Reduce Monotony

Treadmills have a reputation for being monotonous and boring. But if you do it right, it can actually help reduce monotony.

If I’m running outside, I don’t bring my phone or headphones along. Usually, I just zone out, but if I run the same route day after day it starts to get a little repetitive. Especially now that I’m running doubles, and I’m lacing up 9 to 10 times a week.

If I’m running on a treadmill, I’m always multitasking and doing something else. Usually, that means watching some show on Netflix or Amazon Prime. If it’s a long run day, I’ll pick a nice movie and cruise along for two hours. It’s a great excuse to indulge in a guilty pleasure and watch something that I wouldn’t otherwise want to “waste” my time on.

It gives me something to look forward, and it adds a little bit of extra motivation to ensure that I put in those extra miles.

Tread Running Helps You Stay Consistent

Above all else, the main reason to consider running on a treadmill is that it helps you stay consistent.

The treadmill may not be your preferred venue for running, and I don’t blame you. I prefer to run on the trails, and if I can’t do that I want a paved course through a park.

But if that is not an option, I would very much rather run on a treadmill than not run at all. And coming to that realization is the only way that I have been able to continue my run streak and to consistently train.

The alternative is battling through any number of things that might interrupt my routine – from bad the weather, to travel, to my work schedule. I am very thankful to have a treadmill in my basement, and there have been more than one work trip where I was thankful to find a decent treadmill in my hotel.

What about you – why have you (or haven’t you) turned to treadmill running?

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.