Geeky Running News: A treadmill that follows your pace, instead of the other way around.

I saw an article today on New York magazine’s Science of Us column about a treadmill that is being developed that matches your pace.

It sounds pretty cool. A device is positioned behind the runner, which can tell how close you are to the front of the treadmill. If you are close to the front, it speeds you up. If you are lagging behind, it slows you down. This helps to create the natural pace variance that you get when running outdoors.

I think it would be cool because, as I’ve said before, I don’t know how to tell improvement when doing speed work on a treadmill. Since the treadmill is in charge of what pace I’m running, I never know if I’m actually running at my full potential.

However, if I could speed myself up by picking up the pace, which would move me closer to the front of the treadmill, which would trigger the belt to move faster, I think that would be a better indicator than me just deciding what speed I want to run at, pressing a button, and going.

Anyone else thinks this sounds pretty cool for those necessary evil treadmill runs?

Advertisements

Treadmill Speed Work: How can you tell improvement?

I’ve been doing speed work of 12 intervals of 400m (0.25 mile) each every other week during this training cycle. I completed my last 400m speed day last week (still have one more 800m day), so I thought I’d compare and see if I’ve improved.

I’m not including the first one that I did back in December because I timed it different, so it’s not quite apples to apples. However, the other three were all measured and timed in the same way on the same treadmill with same shoes. Here are the results:

speed work comparison

The most recent is on the left and a month ago is on the right. You can see that I did improve on each speed interval each time I did these.

The problem is, I don’t know whether I really improved or did I just push myself faster on the treadmill each time? Is there a difference?

I always start out more cautiously because I don’t want to burn out, having to go through twelve of these things. I didn’t, at any time on any interval, slow down my speed, so I think that has to count for something. Although, my notes for the January 7th run say, “Actually felt like I probably could have either done these faster or with less recovery time.” Because of this I started jogging part of my recoveries on the other runs.

I would be interested in repeating these one more time on an actual track or flat pavement and seeing how they compare. Would I burn out early or would I push myself harder?

Anyone out there do speed work on a treadmill? How can you tell if you’re improving or just pushing yourself harder?

For those who get bored easily on the treadmill…

treadmill

Since it gets dark before I get off work now (and I’m terrible about getting up to run in the mornings), I found myself on the treadmill twice this week. I am mentally incapable of running at one pace on the treadmill, even if I have music or TV to distract me, so I tend to play around with the speed a lot. Here’s the workouts I did this week:

Workout #1: Treadmill Progression Run
Start at an easy pace for you. For me, this was 5.0 (12:00 min/mi). At a predetermined time or distance, increase the speed by 0.1. I increased by 0.1 every 0.2 miles for the first mile, and every 0.25 for the next two miles. I planned to do 3.3 miles total, so for the final 0.3 miles, I increased the speed every 0.1 miles. This gave me a final speed of 6.8 (8:49 min/mi) and an overall average pace of about 10:30.

Workout #2: Easy Speed Work
For the second treadmill day, I wanted to do some speed work, but didn’t want to completely exhaust my legs since I’m still streaking. I got the idea to use my Couch to 10k app to time intervals, but, instead of jogging, I ran fast. I combined the first two weeks’ intervals to come up with this plan:
Warm up at an easy pace for 3-5 minutes, then alternate sprinting (I used speeds between 7.0 and 8.0, starting slower and increasing speed as the intervals went on and my legs warmed up) for one minute with walking (I walked at 3.5) for 1.5 minutes. Repeat six times. Then alternate sprinting for 1.5 minutes with walking for 2 minutes. Repeat six times. Cool down.

Other treadmill workouts I’ve posted:
Ways to Beat the Treadmill Blahs
5/6/7/5 Workout

5/6/7/5 Treadmill Workout

To gear up for Friday’s race, I decided to do some speed work on the treadmill on Monday. (The heat index was over 100. There’s no way I could have done this outside with the same results.)

I decided to do a workout consisting of a quarter mile at 5.0 (easy pace), quarter mile at 6.0 (around current 5k pace), quarter mile at 7.0 (the speed work), and a final quarter at 5.0, repeated three times for a total of three miles.

I also did a final quarter mile where I started at 7.0 for a minute and then progressively lowered my speed to ease into a cool down period.

Here’s what the pace graph for such a workout looks like:

5/6/7/5 Treadmill Workout

I added lines as mile markers, so you can see where the next set started.

My average pace was around 10:15 min/mi, which is the first time I’ve seen an average starting with a 10 since April, and the first I’ve seen below 10:20 since March. Yay, my knee issues didn’t completely break me!

I ran the 5k distance in around 31:44, or just 20 seconds shy of the 5k I ran in March. The second fastest 5k distance I’ve ran!

I plan on taking it easy on my Wednesday run to rest up for Friday. I don’t plan on trying to break that 30 minute barrier just yet, but I’m still going to give it my all!

New Gym, New Machines!

I joined a new gym yesterday.

Yes, this is my third gym in a year. When I started at my current job, their insurance (Blue Cross Blue Shield) had a thing where you could pay a monthly fee and get access to a bunch of different gyms across the country. My gym at the time wasn’t a part of it, so I dropped it and picked one off their list.

I like the Hermitage Fitness Center. It’s very convenient to my house and work. My only real issue is that it’s not a 24 hour gym like my last one. There have been times where I’ve shown up and it’s been closed because I forgot to check the hours beforehand. (They don’t open till 1:00 on Sunday. 1:00!)

So, while I will continue to go there when it’s convenient, I decided to add a 24 hour gym as well. I chose Anytime Fitness in Mt. Juliet. There’s multiple Anytime Fitnesses across the city (and I can go to any of them), but I chose the Mt. Juliet location for my first one because it was the newest one. And new gym means new equipment!

Their treadmills have individual TVs on them. And they have fans! (Something my old gym had that the ones at HFC don’t. I think it makes a huge difference!) And they have the Nike+iPod hookup, which I haven’t tried yet since I didn’t have my lightning adapter on me. I also like the little track simulator, which could be pretty useful if I do speed workouts on these treadmills.

I decided to try out some of the settings, and I was wanting to do some hill work, so I chose the “alpine” workout for 20 minutes. It had me input my max speed and max incline, and I put 6.0 for both. It basically had me run areas with 0.5 incline at 6.0 and whenever the incline increased, it would automatically decrease my speed. I never had to touch anything, which was nice! The only thing that bugs me is when you do workouts like this, I can’t seem to figure out how to add extra time to it, without stopping the treadmill, clearing out all your stats, and starting over.

So after the 20 minutes were up, I was pretty close to the time the Flyers were going to meet. I decided to go run with them, but I had a little time to kill, so I did 5 minutes of fast running starting at 6.0 and maxing out at 7.0 for a full minute.

treadmill funny ecard

Source: someecards

One thing to note is that my footpod, which was notorious for saying I was running faster/going farther than the treadmill at HFC said, was spot on with this new treadmill. Maybe actually even reading a little slower. But I felt like I was not working as hard as I do on the HFC treadmills (probably due to actually having a fan blowing on me). I had forgotten my water bottle in my car, so I did the whole 25 minutes without water and without walking (save for a bit of a warmup/cooldown built into the alpine workout) and didn’t feel like I was going to die!

Overall, I did 2.25 miles on the treadmill, then went and joined the Flyers for another 2.25 miles of easy running.