Equipment, Fitness

Incline Treadmill Training For Increased Speed

There comes a point in all runners’ lives where they just can’t get any faster. It can be frustrating to gear up for a race that you feel ready for only to get the same results as your last race. So, if you’ve been looking to increase your speed, but just can’t manage it, we’ve got a suggestion for you.

Incline Treadmill Training Will Increase Your Speed

Unless you live near the Rocky or Appalachian mountain ranges, it’s likely you’re missing out on natural incline variations during your run. Hill training is necessary to build greater lung and heart capacity, and overall strength. With those kinds of benefits and no mountains to reap them on, hopping on an incline treadmill just makes sense.
The best way to increase your speed is by strengthening your legs. For runners, this can be done by working your muscles to the MAX in short bursts on your inclined treadmill. As you work your leg muscles at their max capacity, they build fast-twitch muscle fibers, which increase your speed. During your run, add 10 second bursts of running uphill. Limiting your speed training to short bursts will help prevent early fatigue and injury.

Incline Training Helps Prevent Shin Splints

As you’re running on flat ground, your legs are more susceptible to shin splints due to the stress they undergo with each step. Running up and down hills exercises the muscles in front of your shin. When these muscles are weaker than the calves (behind the shin bone), they are more likely to separate from the bone via micro tears causing shin splints (ouch!). Incline running, whether it’s up or down, activates these front muscles for increased strength and durability to avoid the dreaded shin splints.

Running Hills Also Reduces Impact And Stress On Your Joints

Many runners heel-strike as they run which is impossible to do while running uphill. So instead, you are forced to change gaits (reducing your danger of repetitive motion injury) and the incline works different muscles in your legs.
As treadmills are even easier on a runner’s joints thanks to their cushioning, you can cut down your risk for injury even more and just focus in on the goal of becoming faster.

Find A Treadmill With Range

If you’re ready to add a treadmill to your home and running routine, the NordicTrack Commercial 1750 is a really good bargain. Not only can it create an incline up to 15 percent, but it can also give you a decline of -3 percent so you can mix it up. So, make sure, as you shop for your incline treadmill, you look for how much of an incline (and decline) you can really achieve.
Another option is the NordicTrack X11i Incline trainer! This machine is a step-up in price, but is well worth the investment. At a 40% incline, your heart rate will be at it’s max in no time. You’re going to get the cardiovascular workout of a lifetime on this machine all the while building and strengthening the muscles in your quads and glutes, which are going to increase your overall speed.

Programs vs. Manual

Using the manual settings on your incline treadmill will offer timed incline runs intermixed with flat running as you’re building your leg strength to tackle bigger hills. NordicTrack machines come equipped with iFit® compatibility and using these features opens you up to a vast selection of real world races and running adventures. You can manually input a running route using the Google maps program that will take you around town, automatically adjusting your incline on the machine to the natural terrain of your course.
You can also select pre-programmed runs around the world from the Swiss Alps to the Colorado Rockies and even Death Valley. Though, the machine can’t imitate weather conditions (thank goodness), you can still take an incline-accurate run through some of the toughest courses in the world. So, as you improve your ability to tackle these rough hill climbs, you can push yourself higher and faster.

Elite Runner Approved

Elite runners and coaches like Scott Jurek and Antonio Vega have also promoted the use of treadmills for all runners and use them during their own training. Many runners may only consider treadmill training on rainy days or for other reasons running outside may not be an option; however, if you’re in need of a speed increase and are using hill training to get you there, it makes total sense to schedule in more treadmill time. That way you are in control of your training, not the weather.