I am training for my first 5K in 2.5 weeks. I have been on the treadmill and was hoping to get outside...however, it is spring in chicago and it looks like it is going to be raining whenever I have the chance to run (usually in the late evening after my son goes to bed). How can I maximize my training on the treadmill (as I know that the treadmill is nothing like running outside)
You can do plenty of good 5k training on the treadmill.. I dont know how fast you are but run at your 5k pace on a treadmill alot and you should improve... Since its your first 5k You should probably try running at the speed that was the fastest you did 3 miles ever as much as you can.
(1) Run with the treadmill at about a 1% incline. This is the equivalent of running outside on a flat surface - compensates for the lack of wind resistance on the treadmill.
(2) If your race will have hills, include some similar hills in your treadmill training (adjust your uphill speed accordingly).
(3) Consider covering up the display - or at least not looking at it - for at least part of your runs. When you run outside, you will not have the electronic display to give you continual feedback on your pace. Learn to judge your pace independently - e. g. by breathing rate, leg turnover speed and fatigue level - which is what you will need to do during the race.
(4) Consider: if you are doing all your training on a treadmill, in a climate controlled environment - what will you do if it is raining on race day? Some outdoor running in the rain is excellent practice for racing in the rain.
(P. S. I live in Los Angeles where it rarely rains - and it is quite easy to schedule runs to avoid bad weather - but you can't control the weather on race day. So I intentionally started to do occasional training runs in the rain. It was definitely worth it when I recently got poured on during a race).