Going from Couch to 100 Mile Trail Run…Training entirely on a treadmill?


“The challenge is on! I’ve got a date with 100.2 miles of remote trail with 18k feet of vertical, 23k of descent, with temperatures over 100 degrees.”

Don Freeman, Co-Host of Trail Runner Nation


Can You Get In Shape Entirely On A Treadmill—then Run 100 Miles?

It started with an innocent question on the Trail Runner Nation podcast to a longtime friend and regular guest, Dr. Mark. Cucuzzella. “Do you think someone could prepare for a marathon running exclusively on a treadmill?” I asked.

It was an offhand question, nothing more. But as soon as Mark answered, “I think so, it would be interesting!” well, the seed had been planted. Like so many people, with our race calendars affected, I had gotten a bit overweight and a bit more out of shape than I’d care to admit. Finding muself a bit out of shape, with a demanding work and life schedule, heck, running on a treadmill was the most accessible type of training I could do.

It might have ended right there, except that the folks at TrueForm treadmills were listening. The next thing we knew, I was challenged, to train on a  TrueForm.

Game on. The last six weeks, I’ve been spending about 90% of my training time outside in the heat on the TrueForm, and the rest of the time up and down a local hill. And, this coming July 20th, I’ve got a date with trail, the iconic Western States Endurance Run—100.2 miles of remote trail with 18k feet of vertical, 23k of descent, with temperatures over 100 degrees.

So, can you train for 100 miles on a treadmill? Dr. Cucuzzella thinks so. We’ll see. I’ve learned a lot already, though. First and foremost: be careful. You never know who is listening.

Listen to the pod cast https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=719476695286094

Don Freeman is the co-host of Trail Runner Nation. He has run distances from 5k to 200 miles.