I've read in several fitness magazines that incline running on a treadmill (the steeper, the better) is much easier on the knees due to less of a jarring impact. Have any of you here tried this technique?
During the off-season I do a lot of "power-walks" on my treadmill to warm up for weight training (10-12 degree angle @ 4 mph) and it really seems to burn the calories fast compared to any level training.
Hill training is a key component to many of my Marathon training cycles especially Boston and Pikes Peak marathons. One way I use hill training is in an Interval format. I do these at Red Rocks park near my home - running up a long series of stairs hard and go easy on the way down. I do this maybe 10-times, head home and run an easy 9. I love the the stair workout because when I get back to my car I can barly stand without my legs shaking like a new born deer - awesome workout.
One hill (Lookout Mountain here in Golden) is 4-miles straight up, and I run this once/week now to prepare for Pikes Peak.
If I were to do hill training on a treadmill it would be in interval format...Hard/Easy. You could use walking on a good incline (not so sure of the 10 - 12 degree incline though) maybe 6-7 degrees at a slow pace like you describe. But the thing is...it needs to be just a single component to an overall well designed program.
One day at a time
Whenever I run on a treadmill, I set the incline to 1.0. Can't remember when/where I learned that, but that's what I've always done so I can't really compare it to running on it without the incline. The other day I forgot (was chatting) and I did notice it just felt strange - like I was spinning my wheels a bit. I prefer the slight incline. Actually, I prefer running outdoors, which I usually do... but sometimes the treadmill has to suffice.
Having the treadmill set to a 1 degree incline is supposed to mimic running level outdoors, so like you I never run below at least a 1 degree incline.
Originally Posted by H2OChick
I hate treadmills compared to running outdoors as well, but I have find it to be much easier on the joints. Being from the northern midwest, i'm stuck with quite a bit of it during the winter. What I have found is raising the incline, rather than the speed seems to give a much better workout, although i'm not sure if thats helpful for tri specific training.
The treadmill is easier on your body than pavement. All the flexing that the treadmill does every time your foot strikes is the result of energy that your body would have absorbed on pavement. Since the treadmill is absorbing that energy, your body is not.
Running on incline is also easier on your body. Most of the impact energy placed on your body comes from your "landing." Since you are not "falling" as far from the top of your leg stroke until your foot impacts the pavement, the amount of energy absorbed by your body is reduced.
Inclined running is probably a little more helpful for your tri's than flat, but it's best if you do intervals. If you don't ever run faster than your race pace, you will never actually get faster. You'll just run the same run split but feel less tired at the end.
Basically, if I'm doing intervals, I try my best to do it on hills so the effect on my joints is reduced.
Also when you run outside you have the air resistance created by the moving thru air working against you this slows you down some. By adding a 1 or 2% incline the added effort of the incline makes up for the lack of air resistance ( man I feel like I am back in physic class). A good site that talks about it...
I found that treadmill conversion chart doing research a few weeks back. I intend to apply that to my training once I get going again. Injuring my knee 5 weeks before my first tri was a real letdown, so I hope to do a better job of keeping healthy from now on (never had a knee injury before). Maybe mixing in treadmill running will do the trick for me?