Can I Train for a Race on a Treadmill?

runner on treadmill
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"I'm planning on running a marathon in the spring, but icy and snowy conditions have kept me on the treadmill for a lot of my training so far. Will I be adequately prepared for the race if the majority of my training is on the treadmill?"

I can totally relate to your situation. Icy and frigid conditions and not wanting to take my kids out in the jogging stroller have forced me onto my treadmill for many runs over the years.

While there are some differences between outdoor and treadmill running, there are lots of benefits of treadmill running. Running indoors is still an effective (and safe!) way to train for races during the winter.

Of course, your marathon is outside, so it's important to log some miles on the roads. I like to look at the weather forecast for the week and then plan my outside runs for the best possible weather conditions (which sometimes are still less than ideal!).

If you can only handle one outdoor, frigid run per week, try to make it your long run, so your body gets used to road running for long distances. Depending on how strict your gym is, you may not even be allowed to stay on a treadmill for more than 60 minutes, so you may have no choice but to do your long run (or part of it) outside. Running outside for long runs also means that you won't have to deal with getting bored doing double-digit miles on the treadmill.

And speaking of boredom, you can try some of the treadmill workouts listed below to mix up your routine. They'll also help get you marathon-ready, too!

Treadmill Running Can Be Beneficial for Marathoners-in-Training

In some respects, your training on the treadmill may better prepare you for race conditions than outdoor running because your marathon will most likely be in warmer weather.

Running at room temperature will help you get acclimated to race-like conditions. It's also a good opportunity to test out some race day outfits since you most likely won't be wearing your cold weather running clothes during the marathon. Working through the boredom you feel when running on the treadmill also helps you prepare for some of the marathon's mental challenges.

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