Treadmills advise from the experianced please

I live in a hilly part of the country and find it difficult to run for even a mile without coming across a hill. For my normal training this is fine I have come to enjoy them.

But when it comes to speedwork the hills make it difficult, It is impossible to run at a constant fast speed unless I just run up and down the same road. I reallly don't like treadmills as I am not sure how close to actual street running they are, it does seem alot easier to run on a treadmill for example 10k with a 1.5% incline easy 44 mins on a treadmill, on the street this would be 9/10 effort for me.

Do experiance runners use treadmills, what the best tips?

Today I tried a 400m session on a treadmill. 400m@17kph 12 times with a 1 minute recovery @11kph. Is this wasting my time and unlikely to have the disired effect which is to get my HM time down and if that also helps my 5k time that would be a bonus.

What would you reccommend street running and allow a slower pace for the hills or more treadmill work.

ps i run 5-6 times a week and speed work is 2 of runs-I would never run a LSR or steady run on a tredmill


  • I know that plenty of top coaches get their athletes to do some work on the treadmill, I think the max figure though is around 30%, the rest  should be on the road/track.

    Personally I use the treadmill to do hill repeat workouts since it's much more convenient to do hill intervals on a treadmill and vary the recovery, something you can't do with a real hill since you need to run down what you've run up.

    As you said, a 1-1.5% incline should replicate outside running conditions, as long as the treadmill is properly calibrated.

  • PhilPubPhilPub ✭✭✭

    I certainly don't think faster sessions on the treadmill are a waste of time.  They're good for leg turnover, the running action isn't millions of miles away from what you do outside, and you can always use HR/perceived effort to see whether you're working at comparable levels.  But I think there's a lot to be said for practising fast running outdoors by running fast outdoors.  Is there any flat route within 2/3 miles that you can measure out and use?  Whether it's a park, around a football pitch, section of dual carriageway  image... whatever, as long as it's within a sensible warm-up/cool-down distance from home, you can do intervals pretty much anywhere.

  • RatzerRatzer ✭✭✭

    I think running up and down the same road is probably more interesting than running on a treadmill.  But treadmills are incredibly useful for interval training because of the preset speeds and times.  If you can't get to a track, a treadmill can be a distant second best.

    But this doesn't mean that you can't do speedwork outside in a hilly area.  I live in a very hilly area.  I had major trouble finding level ground to train for a flat marathon.  But for HMs I find the hills fine.  Hill sprints are great, finding a set distance up and jogging back down.  Kenyan hills work in a field not far from my home.  Fartlek is almost a necessity for many longer runs.  If I want an even effort I wear my HM (though I can do it by PE now) and control the uphills.  If I want a stronger effort I challenge the hills and rest downwards.  Listen to the Kenyans - to paraphrase "we don't have gyms, we have hills."

  • Thanks for the replies.

    After the 12*400 on the treamill yesterday, did what should have been a easy 5m with  a quick 2m in the middle today-felt slow and heavy legs, wonder if the treadmill work took more out of me than i thought?

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