Annie Bersagel's Best Tips for Taking Your Marathon Training Indoors


Annie Bersagel, an American long-distance runner and lawyer, will race the TCS New York City Marathon for the second time on Sunday, November 6 in a stacked U.S. professional women’s field.

Bersagel’s personal-best time of 2:28:29 came at the 2015 Dusseldorf Marathon, where she finished first and earned the sixth-fastest qualifying time for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials. She was the second American finisher and ninth overall at the 2014 TCS New York City Marathon.

She now trains in Oslo, Norway, under coach Knut Kvalheim, a former teammate of Steve Prefontaine and friend of nine-time New York City Marathon Champion Grete Waitz. Because of Oslo's harsh winter weather, Bersagel is often forced to take her marathon training indoors. 

If the elements—whether that’s snow and ice or extreme heat—force you indoors as well, use Bersagel’s training tips to ensure a safe, effective, and enjoyable lead-up to your next big race.

Annie Bersagel’s Indoor Training Tips

  • Stick with a traditional training routine. Don’t skip long runs or interval training just because you are confined to a treadmill.
  • For interval training on the treadmill, run at a pace close to threshold for 45 seconds, hop your feet to the sides of the treadmill and rest for 15 seconds, then return to running; repeat for 40-60 minutes. To reduce the impact on your knees while training on a treadmill, set it to a higher incline.
  • If a long run on the treadmill is difficult, run on an indoor track if you have access to one.
  • Integrate cross-training into your routine. Bersagel recommends indoor cycling, elliptical workouts, or Pilates. She’s also a proponent of pool running, which helps maintain running-specific strength and fitness with zero impact, which has helped Bersagel recover from a knee injury.

Although inclement conditions often restrict runners to training indoors, finding a safe and effective outdoor cross-training workout can help mix things up, too. Bersagel recommends cross-country skiing or snow shoeing to get your heart rate up quickly.

By Matthew Singer