Running Inside

Tuesday, February 19, 2013 | By Hal Higdon
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Got a question about running? You're in the right place. Every Tuesday, world-renowned coach, author and athlete Hal Higdon posts and answers athlete questions here. You can submit your question by joining the discussions on Hal Higdon's Virtual Training Bulletin Boards.


As I now live in Bangkok, it is difficult to go outside and train, mainly because of the heat and pollution. I will try to schedule some of the long runs in a park nearby to get a bit of the real thing. However, for the time being, most of my training is on a treadmill, which I must admit is quite convenient but boring at the same time.

My major concern is, will I be as prepared for the marathon if I train on the treadmill? What can I do to make my treadmill running more efficient for training? I have heard that some people put the machine at 1% inclination. My marathon will be in June in Phuket, Thailand, but at 4:00 AM, the heat should not play a major role. Also, the course will be flat.


I rarely run on treadmills any more, so I have lost a bit of my expert knowledge on the subject. But in 1996, the top American in the Olympic Trial Marathon for women, Christine Clark, was an Alaskan, who did most of her training on a treadmill because of the dark and cold she experienced much of the year.

Running on a treadmill is not exactly the same as running on the roads, but it certainly is close. As to what angle to set, I'll leave you to experiment on your own to find what feels most comfortable for you. Be aware, however, that calibrations may differ from treadmill to treadmill, so a mile on a treadmill may not be exactly the same as a mile on the road. It might feel faster; it might feel slower. Most important, it will feel “different.” This is not a problem when it comes to getting you in the best possible shape of your life, but it can be a problem in determining race pace.

I understand the problem with heat and humidity, but is this a problem 365 days a year? If the wind blows fresh from the mountains on occasional days and sweeps some of the pollution away, you might do some outdoor runs to see how you feel.

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