Training for a Marathon on a Treadmill

Running outside may not always be convenient. If the weather is too hot, it would be challenging to cope under it. Likewise, a freezing climate condition can prove unconducive for any exercise, especially running. If you’re trying to prepare for a marathon but can’t run in the outdoors due to bad weather, you should consider using a treadmill.

While using a treadmill may not be as natural as running in the outdoors, this equipment holds its benefits. Apart from being safe, the machine provides an effective way of training for any race. Preparing for a Marathon on a treadmill is possible. Keep reading to know how.

What Types Of Treadmill You Need For Marathon Training?

1. Automatic Treadmills

You’ll find automatic treadmills in most gyms. With this kind of treadmill, you can choose a pace and incline setting through an electronic panel. You’ll also find a start and stop button which you will use when you want to begin or end your exercise. If the workout you want to do requires some specific incline, time, or speed settings, this treadmill is the best. These are some exercise you can do with an automatic treadmill.

  • Hill interval training: Here, you run at a high incline setting for a short while and recover on a flat surface. Afterwards, repeat.
  • Speed interval training: Do some short interval runs faster than race pace. Then, do some recovery exercise at a slower speed and repeat.
  • Pyramid workouts: here, each interval requires an effort that is incrementally increased to a set goal, either in terms of speed or incline. Then the intervals as are necessary for that is gradually decreased and done until the end of the workout.
  • Tempo runs:¬†this involves running at a challenging yet stable pace for a specified time duration.

2. Manual Treadmills

Manual or non-motorized treadmills are top-rated in health clubs. This kind of cardiovascular equipment is not motorized and has no electronic input. You step on its belt and begin to move.However, you may experience limitations in terms of pace with some manual treadmills. Even so, newer models come with extra challenges which can prove helpful for runners.

Some of this equipment is curved. Meanwhile, this curviness helps you boost your stamina and endurance capabilities.Many runners have come to love manual treadmills even without them having the curve. One of the reasons is because they offer no electric assistance at all. All the belt’s movement has to be achieved through the runner’s efforts.

Advantages of Marathon Treadmill Training

In specific ways, a treadmill offers a better training condition. How? You may be training in winter for a Marathon that will be held in spring. The best way to ready yourself for the warm weather in which you’ll be running is to get used to your room temperature as you work out on your treadmill. Using a treadmill also allows you to try out your running costume.

This will not be possible if you’re training in the outdoors during winter for a spring marathon. Aside these benefits, preparing for your marathon on a treadmill has other advantages. Here are some of them.

  • It provides mental preparations for the actual race. One mental challenge that will help you prepare for your marathon is boredom. Once you’re able to cover the boredom that using a treadmill posses, you’ll be less likely to get bored during your marathon race.
  • With a treadmill, you can also get ample opportunity to practice running correctly and with the right posture.
  • Your treadmill allows you to adjust your speed and set certain interval times for pace training.
  • A treadmill also allows you to change your inclines so that it can feel similar to a real-life running environment.
  • It is much safer to run on a treadmill than running outside, especially during late hours or very early in the morning.
  • If you have children there’ll be no need to leave them with someone else like you would typically do if you are running side.

Disadvantages of Marathon Treadmill Training

Undoubtedly, treadmills have many benefits. However, they have several limitations, as well. Before relying entirely on your treadmill for your marathon training, do well to put the following disadvantages into consideration.

  • The first disadvantage is that you may not have enough access to the treadmill. This is pertinent to those who do not own their cardiovascular machine. Your gym may limit the time you can spend on a treadmill to only 30 or 60 minutes. While this may be enough in the start, you will eventually need to cover more miles. But this won’t be possible in a gym.
  • Also, a lot of Treadmills feature incline and speed settings, but they fail to include decline settings. This means is that you can train to go uphill, but there’s no way to prepare for when you go downhill. Meanwhile, you must learn running downhill because it uses separate muscles. Also, there’s a way your feet feel in your shoes when you’re going down. Without a decline setting, you may not be able to train adequately for your marathon with a treadmill.
  • Treadmills do not entirely offer real-world running conditions. When running on the road, you tend to encounter different surfaces, curves, and many obstructions. With a treadmill, however, only a single surface is available to you.

Combining Your Treadmill For A Marathon

As you get ready to start training for a marathon, a great idea is to combine your treadmill training with outdoor practice. This is, of course, if you have access to the machine. Rather than getting discouraged by horrible weather, maximize your potential by running in the outdoors and using a treadmill. You can always use the weather forecast to plan your training schedule for each week.

Reserve outdoor training for when the weather is good.Even if the weather condition is not so ideal, try to make the most of your time running outside. Also, make it as long as possible so that your body gets used to running out for long. You do not have control over your race day climate condition. As such, ensure that you are as prepared as possible.

Another way to combine treadmill and outdoor training is to do some of the day’s mileage on a treadmill and the rest outside. This way, you won’t get overly bored running on the treadmill alone.

Also, if you’re too occupied to go for long runs, make sure to plan your treadmill schedule adequately with running as a priority and let nothing disrupt it. You can add other workouts later on. If you’re using a gym, make sure to put in as many hours of training as they will allow. Complement it with some indoor or outdoor running, and walking. In fact, you can use the stairs to do a little incline training.


Marathon training or no marathon training, treadmills offer a variety of training opportunities and advantages. From safety, and different settings, to convenience, a treadmill provides them all. However, do not forget about the limitation of a treadmill. If you think you can still work with them then, by all means, use a treadmill for your marathon or half marathon training. Or else, you may need to find another alternative.
Nevertheless, ensure that you challenge yourself and do a lot of speed when you’re indoors.

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