Marathons are one of the most challenging feats of endurance known to man. It takes extreme physical conditioning, countless hours of running, mental preparation and dedication. In addition to this, every one of us is unique, this means there is no “one way” of training for a marathon.
The basic rule is to start out by determining the maximum miles you can run, gradually increasing your miles until you reach your target mile. Treadmill training is different from running outdoors. As a result, athletes who train for marathons use treadmills on occasions where running outdoors is not an option.
There are advantages of using a treadmill for marathon training, you can always train regardless of the weather, treadmills are always available for use and you don’t have to worry about what you wear.
✔ NORDICTRACK C990
✔ PRECOR TRM 835
✔ EXERPEUTIC 100XL MAGNETIC RESISTANCE TREADMILL
✔ FITNESS ASSAULT AIRRUNNER
Behind successful marathoners is a heavy training and workout routine. The treadmill is one of the best pieces of fitness equipment marathoners can use to train. Treadmills allow you to get cardio workout no matter the time, weather, or season. Treadmills are an excellent training partner for marathons.
Here are some key qualities to help you find the best treadmill for marathon training.
If you are looking for a treadmill to help with marathon training one thing to consider is its motor. The treadmill should have belt motors that can handle high speeds, operate for long periods of time without overheating and can respond quickly to speed adjustments. For beginners you probably don’t need more than 2.5 Continuous Horsepower but for marathoners it’s highly recommended to have at least 3 CHP and above.
For marathon training, it is best to choose treadmills with high quality cushioning to help protect your joints. It can minimise the risk of injury and is safer than training outdoors thanks to the good cushioning of the treadmill. Cushioning also absorbs the momentum of footfalls, preventing the creaks and bounces of flimsier machines.
Another thing to consider is the tread belt, for serious runners treadmills need to have a high quality tread belt or running track in terms of composition and size. The standard track size is 20 inches wide by 60 inches long but for marathon training it is better if you have extra width and length. A spacious belt allows you to have freedom of movement.
Aside from motors, cushioning and treadbelts, treadmills must have advanced technology. Wireless heart rate monitoring is of one of the most advanced aspects of technology that is best for marathon training. Most of the treadmills have contact pulse sensors built into their handlebars but wireless systems are preferable and are more accurate and more convenient, especially at higher speeds. It should also have an easy to read console that can provide you feedback such as for your speed, time, distance, pulse and calories.
The treadmill must also have a power incline of at least 10% to a maximum of 20%. The inclines help you to burn calories faster, enhance cardio training and helps you to avoid boredom.
For home treadmills, it is generally recommended that the motor is 1.5 CHP. This would satisfy roughly 90% of home users. It is safe to say that this is suited for people who use treadmills 5-10 minutes every day. But of course, a marathoner who needs superb conditioning would need a bit more juice on their treadmill. The NordicTrack C990 has 3.0 CHP which is double the continuous duty rating.
The average human height is 5’9”. With this height, an average running stride measures 31 inches (heel to heel) to go with it. The 60-inch length of the NordicTrack C990 is designed to take on taller runners with longer strides.
The 0-12% incline feature of the NordicTrack C990 gives you the option to power up your training should you need to increase the resistance.
If you think that a 3.0 CHP motor is not enough, you might want to consider Precor TRM 835’s 4HP AC Motor. This makes it more durable and has a longer lifespan since it runs on alternating current compared to most treadmill’s direct current motor engineering.
An LED-based console that records fitness stats for accurate progress and comparisons is useful. Real-time tracking completes its Experience Series™. The sleek design keeps athletes informed of their stats.
Precor developed their own progressive shock absorption system for absorbing high impact movements and steady kick-off. Designed specifically to compliment an individual’s natural running stride.
Most manual treadmills only have one wheel. But the Exerpeutic 100XL has two allowing runners to train smoother.
They may not be as tech-savvy as their electric treadmill cousins but they offer just about the same stability depending on the model. Manual treadmills are designed to have them be a part of you. You become the motor. In terms of safety, we can consider the fact that it stops when you stop lessing the risk of slipping and falling over a great feature. But in a marathoner’s point of view, the thought of visualizing yourself running in the track without the aid or challenge of pre-set programs provides the mind conditioning you need. Since when actually running outdoors, no machine or program will be with you as you run.
In addition to not being as costly as electric ones, with the right configuration, you can have just about the same benefits. Plug that mp3 player in, turn the speaker loud, or download a running app on your phone and you’ve got yourself an alternative for the entertainment/features of an electric treadmill.
The unique curved running surface is probably the best stationary running simulation you will ever get. If you want to increase speed you only need to lengthen your strides and step higher. To decrease speed, position yourself near the rear end of the curve.
Contrary to it’s intimidatingly techie-look, the Fitness Assault Airrunner is manual. You power the treadmill. No fuss. Hop on the belt and start sprinting, it will automatically adjust to your speed. The tracking rollers and its toothed pulley do that for you. No need to worry about electrical parts being replaced or maintained since it is non-motorised.
As the name implies, you will feel like running on air. Make no mistake though, it is not that easy. Unlike any other treadmill you have used, the Assault AirRunner burns up to 30% more calories compared to any motorised treadmill. Downside is that this is not recommended for beginners as it is used primarily by athletes and dedicated running training centers. Unarguably the king of static running training, this offers optimum simulation like that of running outdoors. On top of that, the belt can last up to 150,000 miles worth of distance.
These are four of the best treadmills to consider when training for a marathon. Each with their own strengths and advantages. However, Assault AirRunner is in a different league. If you are training for a marathon event, it will be hard to overcome or even be on the same level as the Assault AirRunner. Do not just run towards your goals, run past them. It does not have to be fast, for dreams are meant to be reached, regardless of the time it takes.
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