The cold weather is here, and those sheets are awfully warm and cozy.  I know that keeping the motivation up during the long winter months is a challenge, and that snooze button often becomes my friend.  If you live in areas of heavy snow, going for a run outside is challenging during the winter, but treadmills are so BORING!!!  But with a little variation in your running, a treadmill can actually become your friend!

I trained for my 6th marathon almost completely on a treadmill, and the first couple weeks were rough, but then I figured out some workouts that actually made me look forward to my next run.  Treadmills are great at regulating your speed, therefore they are great for speed workouts.  It is also easy to control your incline, so they are great for hill workouts.  Below are a couple of my favorite runs for the treadmill.  You can use the same runs for either speed or hills, adjusting your pace or the incline.

TV runs:  If you do your winter runs on a treadmill in a gym, there is most likely a TV in sight.  One of my favorite runs on the treadmill uses your TV like a fartlek clock.  Set your incline or speed on a more challenging level while during the show, adjusting to a more relaxing pace or incline during commercials.  This way works great for a pace workout or for a lower incline.  You can also switch the routine, challenging yourself with a sprint or a steep incline during the commercials and running at a comfortable pace during the show.

Intervals:  Set the treadmill on manual, do a slow warm-up jog for five minutes.  Do intervals, increasing either speed or incline, running at a comfortable pace for 3 minutes then increasing the speed or incline for one minute.  You can then do pyramids, increasing the speed or incline to a higher level with each interval, peeking at the most challenging speed or incline, then working your way back down.  You can also do pyramids by keeping the incline or speed of each interval the same, but running at that setting for a longer period of time.

For example:
warm up
run at incline 3.0 for 1 minute , recover for 1 minute at an incline of 0
incline 3.0 for 2 minutes, recover
incline 3.0 for 4 minutes, recover
incline3.0 for 8 minutes, recover
incline 3.0 for 4 minutes, recover
incline 3.0 for 2 minutes, recover
incline 3.0 for 1 minute
cool down

iPod fartleks:  This is similar to the TV runs above, and is a modified interval.  Run at a comfortable pace for one song on your iPod, then increase your pace or incline to a moderate level for the next song, return to your comfortable pace or incline on the following song.  Repeat this for the duration of your workout.  You can also make each song progressively harder, by starting at a warm up pace for one song, increasing your speed or incline slightly for each song, then ending with a cool down.

Keep in mind while running on a treadmill, your form and stride may be affected.  Make sure you do not run too close to the front of the treadmill, allowing yourself room for a comfortable stride and arm-swing.

Hopefully these help cure some of your treadmill blues, and keep you fit until spring comes!

Happy running,

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If you were like me over the holidays, you probably ate too much and exercised too little.  It’s a new year and time to get back at it!  Are you looking for some motivation to get going this year?  Maybe you feel like you do the same workouts over and over again?  Or maybe you just got used to sitting on the  couch?  Here are some ways to help combat those mid-winter blues and find your motivation.

-Pick a race.  Now is the time of year to map out your race calendar for 2011.  Maybe you want to try a marathon or a tackle a triathlon.  Pick a race, put it on the calendar, and start a training plan.  Team RWB has something for everyone in 2011, including The Austin, San Francisco, and Marine Corps Marathons, The American Odyssey Relay Race, Superfrog Triathlon, White Lake Triathlon, JFK 50 Miler, Ironman Arizona, and many others.  Check out the website,, for future events.

-Change up your workout.  I have a 5 mile out and back route that I run at least twice a week, every week and it gets really boring sometimes!  I make it more exciting by calling friends to run with me or running it at different times of the day.  Changing your pace with short intervals at a fast pace can also make it more entertaining. 

-Challenge yourself.  Have you run several half marathons and continue to clock roughly the same time?  Make this your year for a PR.  Add speedwork to your weekly routine and set a new goal for yourself.

-Phone a friend.  Working out is much more fun (and less easy to skip!) with a friend.  Recruit someone to be your workout buddy and after you get lost in conversation, you will forget you are even working out!

-Get out of your comfort zone.  Do you fear doing a triathlon because you can’t swim?  Sign up for some lessons and make it happen.  You may surprise yourself!  I never thought I would like going to a weightlifting class, but I made myself go because I knew it was good for me.  Now, it is one of my favorite workouts of the week!

Happy 2011!