There are many reasons why we take our running inside. Weather, convenience, time, safety, personal preference, and the lack of sunlight hours during winter in the UK are all solid excuses for bringing your training into a more comfortable environment.
There was a time when indoor training was seen as a monotonous necessity, where you listen to the patter of your feet and the whir of the treadmill whilst watching paint dry.
Thankfully, we now have YouTube channels, podcasts, and audiobooks to help us while away the hours in our 'pain caves'. Plus, the introduction of Zwift runs and the associated 'gamification' can help maintain motivation during your virtual sessions.
Whether you've got a treadmill at home, or you head to your local gym, indoor running is becoming more accessible with the advent of apps like Kinni, which allows you to connect with Zwift even with non-Fitness Machine Service protocol treadmills (i.e. treadmills that don't use the Bluetooth standard to control your pace, elevation etc).
Once you've got the technology to train indoors, the big challenge is to lessen any potential boredom and get the most out of your sessions. You can find libraries of workouts on Kinni and join group runs on Zwift, while previously cycling-centric platform TrainerRoad have made moves into the world of running.
To help give you some inspiration for your next run, we've asked our team to share their favourite indoor running session...
- 1 mile (or km) warm-up as an easy jog
- Then 5 x 1 mile (or km) increasing the pace incrementally each mile (or km) until the last section is done at your current 5km race pace
- Cool down - 5 minutes easy run/walk and then stretch
I love a treadmill acceleration run. The mechanical nature of the speed control keeps you very honest!
Andy Blow - PF&H Co-Founder
- Warm-up: 10 minutes building pace, but all easy running
- Strides: 4 x 20 seconds (40 seconds rest between) at best ~5km pace
- Main: 10 x 90 seconds (60 seconds rest between each) at best 3-5km pace
- Jump off at the end of the rep and bring the treadmill down to a walking pace to keep moving
- Increase speed slightly every 2 reps
- Cool-down: 10 minutes easy jogging
I love this session on the treadmill as it really holds you in that uncomfortable place. The speed feels easy for the first ~20-30s, then you start to work for ~30s and have to really focus for the final 30s.
If I did the same session on the track on our on the roads I would definitely let the pace slip as fatigue kicks in. I tend to do these sessions in the winter when it’s grim out and you’re unlikely to get much quality done jogging around in the dark.
I also find time passes pretty quickly doing tough sessions on the treadmill compared to easy runs.
James Phillips - Head of Athlete Support
- 5 minute warm up
- 1 minute fast pace (2% Incline)
- 1 minute fast pace (4% Incline)
- 1 minute fast pace (6% Incline)
- 1 minute fast pace (8% Incline)
- 3 minute easy pace (1% Incline)
- Repeat above with inclines at 4%, 6%, 8%, 10%, and 1% incline
- Repeat above with inclines at 6%, 8%, 10%, 12%, and 1% incline
- 5 minute cooldown
This is my go-to workout when I am short of time and need to get some good hill session sprints in without running for miles to find the nearest or quietest hill!
I lack glute strength and so I also find this is a great strength and technique session for me - ticking multiple boxes in one session.
Rachael Brand - PF&H Community Manager
- 15 minute warm up
- 5 x 10 seconds accelerations
- 3 x 15 minutes LT2 (Threshold) with 3 minutes recovery as easy jogging between reps
- 10-15 minute cooldown
This session would come towards the end of a block of threshold training, where I would have built up to this over 6-8 weeks. As a Sports Scientist, I really enjoy the accuracy and physiological benefit from working at threshold on a treadmill, without environmental conditions causing my pace/effort to vary.
I will often take blood lactate measurements during a session like this and doing it on the treadmill makes this so much easier. It also gives me a great opportunity to have drinks/food readily available during this mentally and physically tough session.
Chris Harris - Sports Scientist
- 20 seconds fast pace on, 10 seconds off x 8
- 1 minute rest
- 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off x 8
This session was recommended to me by a friend. It's short and sweet, but I've found it ideal for fitting in an explosive set in between weight sets.
Raff Hussey - Sports Scientist
Something to listen to...
And if you're in need of something to listen to during your next treadmill session, we recommend TriDot's podcast which dedicated an episode to helping you get the most out of your next indoor run.
Something to watch...
If you have the skill to run and watch during your treadmill run (sometimes easier said than done), check out this video from Sweat Elite as Matt Fox ticks off some indoor sessions as part of his quest to go sub-2:20 at the Tokyo Marathon...