Simulating Hills on the Treadmills!

Happy Friday to you!

Ever since I swore off running in the early, dark hours of the AM for safety reasons, I’ve had to come up with new ways to stick my marathon training schedule. I do my long runs on the weekends (when I can run later in the morning), and now I’ve learned how to simulate hills on the treadmill! It hurts so good.

My hilliest half-marathon I’ve ever ran had 2 HUGE hills that literally set fire to my quads. I did zero hill training for that race, and swore I’d never do that to myself again. Miles 9 & 12….you really really hurt. I remember my mom jumped in with me at Mile 10 and the first thing  I said to her was, “That last hill, I think it killed me?” and she powered me through the rest. Thank goodness I had her.

Treadmill Hill Running 101:
  • 1 mile has approximately 5,280 feet. If you gain 100 feet in 1 mile, your incline formula would be:
    • 100 ft/ 5,280 ft ~ 1.9% so you’d set your treadmill at a 2% incline
  • In my upcoming marathon, I gain approximately 200 feet in half a mile, so my formula would be:
    • 200 ft / 2,640 ft ~ 7.5% so I’d set my incline for 7.5%.
It is recommended to do all treadmill running on an incline of approximately 1% to mimic the outdoor terrain conditions. So if you are feeling really ambitious, up for your percentage by 1 🙂.
Read more HERE.
Treadmill tricks and tips I’ve learned over the years:
  • Only look at a TV or iPad if it right in front of you. Avoid looking at a TV that is angled away from you as this will mess up your form and alter the alignment of your spine.
  • Keep your arms at 90 degree angle. Don’t hold onto the railing and don’t flail them like chicken wings!
  • Walk before you run. Give your muscles a few minutes to warm and realize you’re about to go in-to high gear.
  • Slow down, pause, or stop the treadmill…never attempt to jump to the sides! 1) You may fall, 2) your knees may twist the wrong way and 3) jumping back on is far from natural for our bodies joints.

This morning I did 6 miles at a steady 8:12 pace. I watched Zoolander to help get through it, and definitely awkwardly laughed out loud sometimes. I’m FINALLY feeling back to my running self again after my long injury-haitus. I’ve been doing these two strengthening exercises religiously to help build up my running muscles:

1. Calf lifts. Stand on your right foot and lower your heel down, in a slow and controlled motion. Before you touch the floor, lift your heel back up. Repeat 12 times on each foot for approximately 3 reps.

I have a forefoot footstrike so my calfs take most of the grunt of my running. These calf lifts have helped to build stronger calves and stabilize my ankles. Yes and yes to both.

2. Forward lunges. Step forward with your right foot and bend the knee into a 90 degree angle. Your knee should be over your foot. Return to your starting position by pushing off your front foot. Do 12 times on each leg, and repeat 3 times. Use weights for an extra challenge!

These are my favorite because they target so many running muscles: quadriceps, hamstrings, hip extensors, and your glutes. Strengthening your hamstrings help to support your quads in all the work they do to power your stride. My leg muscles feel so much stronger this time around than any other training cycle.

After you power through all your hard workouts, treat yo self to some easy to digest carbs and a bit of protein. I wrote more about what to eat after a work out HERE. I’m whipping up some delicious, gluten-free christmas cookie recipes. Check back next week for these healthy but amazingly tasty Ginger Bread Cookies!

Have an awesome weekend!

Q: How do you keep yourself entertained on the treadmill?

Q: Long runs planned for this weekend?

Q: Running shorts or running leggings?

– leggings when I know I’ll be biking after!!

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