It seems that treadmill studios and classes are popping up faster than a Starbucks on every corner. So, what is it about running on a treadmill that is drawing in athletes beyond those looking to get out of the cold or beat the summer heat?
With so many options for cardio training, let’s explore why people are paying to run indoors.
BENEFITS OF INDOOR RUNNING
First and foremost, walking or running on a treadmill is a great exercise that puts less stress on your body than running on the street, hard pavement, or a track. And when you join a class, there’s a level of accountability that you might not get if you try and run on your own. Andrew Hahn, owner of DASH Run Studio in Santa Monica, says treadmill classes are gaining in popularity because people who consider themselves “non-runners” are intimidated by running outdoors.
DESCRIPTION OF TYPICAL CLASSES
A typical class ranges from 45-60 minutes. Runners of all levels will find they can select the speed and incline that works best for their level. A coach or teacher leading the class instructs and motivates runners and walkers on how to get the most out of the class. They recommend when to increase speed, adjust incline or simply push it to the limit during a quick sprint. Having the ability to control the tempo is also ideal for those who want to work on improving speed. Sometimes outside conditions don’t allow runners to run safely at a faster pace. And for those who live in a flat area, practicing running on different inclines is great training for an upcoming race with hills or even a hike with high elevation.
Whether you want to focus on hill climbs or speed work during a treadmill workout, there’s always plenty of opportunities for runners to get out of their comfort zone, when they might not do so on their own outside. While coaches will call out speed ranges, it’s your class, so it’s your choice. If you have injuries or are new to running, make sure to tell your coach beforehand.
For athletes looking to improve their 5k time or marathon PR, most coaches and trainers will tell you it’s not just about speed work. Running on its own takes a big toll on the body “so strength training will help keep muscle mass and avoid muscle deterioration,” says Nick Malizia, an athlete and trainer at Burn 60 in Brentwood.
INCORPORATING STRENGTH TRAINING
That’s why some treadmill studios and classes also incorporate strength training into the workout. These combination classes tend to switch from three to five-minute intervals on the treadmill to exercises with dumbbells, bodyweight training, or even core work.
Classes that incorporate weights range from upper and lower body-centric to full body. Those who are training for a 5k or longer might want to consider lower body classes. These classes will focus on glutes, quads, hamstrings, calves and core, all of which are essential muscles needed to run stronger.
There are other benefits to running at a treadmill studio, too. For slower runners, you can now run with a friend and you won’t get left in the dust. Because of the variety of classes, you’ll never get the same workout twice. This keeps classes exciting and the boredom of running that some may find, to a minimum. Whether you’re a runner looking to get out of the heat, improve your time, or looking for something new, check out a run studio near you. I almost guarantee you’ll find a new appreciation for running.
Written by Bethany Stirdivant