A couple of week’s ago, I had a bit of a wobbly when it comes to my running, but out of that wobbly, I gained a fresh perspective and then I gained a new direction.

I’m going to run faster! I’m going to and here’s how:

I received a newsletter from Team Vitality that included tips and benefits of treadmill running. It all made a lot of sense to me. And Walter has been telling me for ages that if I wanted to increase my speed, I’d have to start running more regularly on the treadmill. That’s how he has increased his speed to phenomenally and so the newsletter from Team Vitality couldn’t have at a better time and with such great tips too.

Some of the main benefits of treadmill running are:

It is safe and weatherproof.  You don’t have to worry about crazy drivers, carbon monoxide fumes from heavy traffic, potholes and uneven surfaces, not to mention potential attackers on quiet or dark roads. Also, one doesn’t have to worry about the degree of lightness, extreme temperatures or windy conditions.

You can zone out! Another plus is being able to switch off, rather than dodge manic drivers, or worry about directions.

The cushioned surface: Your running surface is cushioned for impact, which helps prevent some of the joint and muscle strains that are associated with long runs on concrete or tar.

No worry about routes. You don’t have to worry about finding, measuring or timing a route – it all just “rolls out” before you and you can change the gradient if you want the challenge of hills.

Easily monitored interval training: At the press of a button, you are able to control speed and distance parameters, making these workouts fairly straightforward.

Toilets and water-on-tap: Rather than worrying about where the closest garage or tap is, or carrying a water bottle – ablutions are on hand and your water bottle is within arms-reach.

It’s a pacing teacher: The treadmill sets your pace and you know exactly what speed that is. When running on the road, it is easy to dash off too fast and then to hit the wall. The treadmill teaches you about consistency and you also learn to assess your perception of effort at a particular speed – which can help you to pace yourself correctly during a race.

It helps to build mental toughness.  Runners’ who are able to motivate themselves enough to withstand the mind- numbing boredom of running for an hour or even longer on the treadmill, have surely got to be building up mental toughness.

And then I started reading up on the benefits of negative split running, which is best done on a treadmill. It’s a great way to keep things interesting but also to start focusing more on my pace and speed which can only be beneficial in the long run. (pun intended). Negative split runs require that you run the second half of your run at a faster pace than the first half. It encourages discipline as it forces you to start out slowly and then build up pace, which is a good way, especially in races, to avoid starting out to fast and hitting the wall. This kind of running comes naturally to me when I’m out on the road, I always find the second half of my run, regardless of the route, is faster than the first half. But I do need to start focusing on my pace and speed if I’m going to go faster. And apparently, doing this type of workout consistently will help increase my overall running speed. Plus, negative splits offer a quicker postrun recovery than sprint intervals.

I found a great training program for negative split running here:

Negative Split Runs

Obviously you can adjust the speed according to your current pace and go from there. They also have a great example of negative split runs for newbie runners that are still using the walk/run method.

Last week, I ran on the treadmill at the gym, and I am a slow runner, my average pace is usually 7:45 per kilometer but last week on the treadmill I managed to run at an average pace of 7:03. So now my mission is to try and train like this a couple of times a week, over and above my road running and see if I can increase my speed over time using this training method.

I’ll let you know how I go!

Image Credit SISSA