How Elite Athletes Use Treadmills

Most of us don’t think of elite athletes when we think of treadmills. However, something to consider is that treadmills play a key part of many elite athletes’ training regime. While you may not be aiming to become a top athlete, getting some insight on what makes them the best can only improve your own workouts.

Terrain Training

Scott Jurek – ultramarathon legend – this famous trail runner knows that treadmills have a place in all athletes’ lives.

“So many people think in order to be a trail runner, they have to always train on trails,” says Jurek, champion ultramarathoner and coach in an interview with Runner’s World. “Not everybody can have access to trails everyday, and even if you do, it can be like too much of a good thing.”

Instead, he recommends a good incline treadmill to simulate a hilly terrain and he has been known to use them to ease back into running after taking time off.

Antonio Vega, winner of the 2010 U.S. Half Marathon Championship, also recommended treadmill usage during an interview with Outside.

“Course simulation is a great reason to run on the treadmill in the summer months,” said Vega. “I used to run on the treadmill with a course elevation map of my next race on the dashboard so I could change the incline to match the race course exactly.”

Vega also likes the ability to control for the temperature between the fans on most treadmills and being able to set the thermostat so the run stays comfortable. This way you can maximize your run as you prepare for your next event.

Recovery and Injury Prevention

Basketball star Kobe Bryant took his treadmill use to the next level. His most famous treadmill usage was when he posted on Instagram while running on an anti-gravity treadmill! The machine took the majority of Bryant’s weight off of him so he could work out without risking re-injuring his Achilles tendon.

While those of us without millions of dollars riding on recovery use more normal treadmills like the top-selling NordicTrack Commercial 1750, treadmills can be a great tool for those recovering from injuries or the injury-prone. The cushioned surface of the treadmill is gentler on the joints and muscles that need to be eased back into working out.

Speed Training

Ever saw the videos of NFL players Robert Gill and Chad Johnson who ran 25 miles per hour and 26 miles per hour respectively? How did they manage to get so close to Usain Bolt’s record of 27.44 miles per hour?

A study theorized that a human could actually reach 40 miles per hour and the only thing holding us back was our ability to move our legs fast enough. With the use of a special high-speed treadmill, the scientists saw that much of the runner’s impact force was absorbed by the treadmill and allowing them to run much faster.

This increase in speed translates away from the treadmill as well. Speed workouts on the treadmill can accustom your body to working at higher speeds while limiting your risk of injury. You can also train yourself to a faster pace than normal as the treadmill coaches you on how to be more pace consistent.

So figure out what you need from a treadmill, read plenty of reviews and find the right treadmill to help you reach your fitness goals!