Treadmill Running: How To Do It Right.

Running on a treadmill is an excellent alternative for runners who dislike hitting the open road due to unfavorable/unpredictable weather or for those with safety concerns.

On top of this, there are also a number of advantages that come from running on a treadmill that you simply cannot get from running outdoors.

If you want to make the most out of your treadmill workouts, then keep reading below to learn our tips for an enjoyable, effective, and safe treadmill run.

Never Skip A Warm Up

As tempting as it is to jump on the treadmill and start your workout – it is incredibly important that you warm up your muscles before getting into the more challenging parts of your run.

A warm-up will raise your heart rate, sending more oxygen to the muscles and raising your body temperature. This will make your workout more efficient.

For a warm-up, try starting with a 5-minute walk or light jog on the treadmill before picking up the pace or increasing the incline.

Try A Slight Incline

If your treadmill or your gym’s treadmill has an incline option, try setting it between 1 and 2%. As there will be no wind resistance in your home or in a gym, a gentle uphill incline will better simulate outdoor running.

If you are just starting out on your running journey, then it is totally fine to set your treadmill incline to zero until you are ready to build up your fitness and increase your comfort level on the treadmill. If you are able to run on a 0% incline without breaking a sweat, then you’re not working hard enough, and you should try to push yourself harder.

Try to increase incline and speed to challenge yourself for at least part of your workout – interval training (where you run hard for some time, then rest for another interval) is a really excellent way to push the pace without fatiguing yourself for the entire run.

Avoid An Incline That Is Too Steep

Not to counteract the previous point, but you should not set your incline too steep (more than 7%) as this can place too much strain on your ankles, shins, hips and back.

Some runners will assume that they are getting a good workout if they challenge themselves to complete their entire run on a steep incline – but in actuality, that much straight hill running is never a good idea and can cause a number of injuries.

A steep incline run for more than 5 minutes should be avoided, as you will get a much better and safer workout if you alternate between running for a few minutes with an incline, and then a few minutes without. Running uphill will help build strength, and the flatter runs will build stamina and endurance.

Keep Yourself Upright

Always ensure you keep your body upright as you may end up with neck and back pain, or you could even lose balance and fall. It is unnecessary to lean forward as the treadmill pulls your feet backwards.

It may also help if you check your posture by settling your shoulders above your hips and pulling in your abs before you step on the treadmill as well as during your warm-up and periodically throughout your run.

Don’t Look Down

It’s difficult not to keep looking down at the console to see how much distance you’ve gone or to see how much time you have left, but your running form will start to suffer if you are constantly looking down. Try not to stare at your feet either as this can lead to you running hunched over, which will lead to back and neck pain.

Watch Your Stride

You should run on a treadmill as you would run outdoors. Try and run with your natural gait to avoid taking short, uneven strides. If your form feels like it might be off, then try slowing your pace until you feel like you are using proper form, then you can gradually increase the pace.

Another common error is overstriding or landing with your heel first and your foot well ahead of your body’s center of gravity. As the treadmill’s belt moves you forward, overstriding can create a breaking force with the belt. To avoid this, you should keep your feet under your body and not ahead or behind. Keep your stride fast to help minimize the impact transferred to your legs.

Always Do A Cool-Down

If you’ve ever stepped off the treadmill feeling dizzy, or as if you’re still moving on the treadmill, it could be due to the fact that you didn’t cool down correctly at the end of your run.

You might feel like jumping off the treadmill the second your timer hits the goal, but by stopping suddenly you can suffer from light-headedness as your heart rate and blood pressure drop rapidly. Cooling down slowly can allow them to fall more gradually. Try not to end your cool down until your heart rate goes below 100 bpm.

Just as you slowly raised your heart rate at the beginning of your workout with a warm-up, you need to lower it slowly at the end. Try walking or jogging slowly for 5-10 minutes before you step off the treadmill. You can also follow up with post-run stretches if you’d like.