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How to survive a winter on the treadmill

For many triathletes in Canada, the winter season means the inevitable prospect of facing nasty outdoor conditions. Ice, snow, wind and continuously cold temperatures are less than ideal for running and cycling and mean that triathletes must adapt to their changing climatic circumstances.

Related: How to dress for winter running

Some will choose to tough it out and stick to the great outdoors, which is strongly encouraged when conditions allow. Even if you can’t hit your target paces or mileage outdoors, you’ll still reap important benefits training at a higher effort level and also develop mental toughness.

But on particularly bad days or when you’ve simply had enough with slipping and sliding around outside, moving indoors and hitting the treadmill or trainer may be the best or only option one has.

With running, few will admit to truly enjoying the treadmill and even a short run on the ‘mill’ may seem daunting or discouraging. However, in some cases, the treadmill is certainly the safest and most effective way of getting a quality run done.

Related: Why a runner should try triathlons

Finding ways to beat boredom while logging multiple miles running on the spot can be a challenge for even the most seasoned fair-weather runner, but with a bit of imagination, it can be done.

One of the best ways to hasten a treadmill session is to literally speed things up and do a quality session or workout. As unlikely as it may seem, a treadmill is indeed an optimal tool for completing a number of workouts including hills, intervals, tempos and even long runs.

The treadmill provides an optimal environment for workouts by offering predictability and control over most elements of a run. Speed and pace are easily controlled. Total distance and laps are tracked and visible at all times. Elevation can be modified as desired. Water and fuel can be conveniently stored nearby. The footing is safe and even softer than outdoor surfaces. Even the temperature and wind is no longer a concern so you can dress light and comfortably.

Some newer treadmills will come pre-programmed with various types of workouts that can be modified for length and intensity and this can be a fun and effective way to boost your training and fitness from time to time. And for a majority of those with their own workouts and training in mind, the treadmill can almost always accommodate and be tailored to meet your needs.

As with any outdoor workout, begin with some dynamic stretches (off the treadmill of course) and then a warm-up of very easy running. Proceed with your workout of choice and then finish with a cool-down of easy running.