Running is a great way to keep fit, lose weight, and boost your health. Hitting the streets for a run will clear your mind and help you manage stress levels. However, sometimes it’s not possible to get out onto the tarmac for your daily dose of tarmac tension relief. Nature doesn’t follow your running schedule, occasionally ruining training time with thunderstorms, rain, or snow.
With ever-increasing demands on our time, completing important or urgent tasks can also cut into the time we spend on the road. If you are struggling to find the time to run, or you live in a rainy city, a treadmill can help you achieve your training and running goals. This beginners guide will help you with everything you need to know about treadmill running.
Treadmills are available from many different manufacturers, with many different models available at a variety of price points to suit any budget. Purchasing a decent quality treadmill from a reputable manufacturer can be an expensive exercise. However, the benefits of owning a treadmill are well worth it.
Purchasing a top of the line treadmill can cost up to $80,000 depending on the brand and model. However, it’s entirely possible to buy a treadmill for much less than that. Treadmill prices range between $2000 to $5000 for a model that will have excellent build quality and outstanding performance.
Tips for Running on a Treadmill
How To Run On A Treadmill – Warm Up
Run or walk at a slow, easy pace for 5-10 minutes. It’s tempting to just jump on the treadmill and start your workout, but you should allow time for a warm up.
How To Run On A Treadmill – Use a Slight Incline
Set the treadmill inclination to 1% to 2%. Since there’s no wind resistance indoors, a gentle uphill better simulates outdoor running. Of course, if you’re just getting started with running, it’s fine to leave the incline at 0% until you build up your fitness and increase your comfort level on the treadmill.
How To Run On A Treadmill – Don’t Make It too Steep
At the same time, don’t set the incline too steep (more than 7%)—this may lead to Achilles tendon or calf injuries. Also, don’t run at an incline of more than 2% for your entire run. Make sure you’re mixing up steep inclines with some flat running.
How To Run On A Treadmill – Don’t Hold on to the Handrail or Console
Some people assume that they need to hold onto the handrails when walking or running on a treadmill. The handrails are only there to help you safely get onto and off of the treadmill. When running on the treadmill, practice proper upper body form by keeping your arms at a 90 degree angle, just as you would if you were running outside.
How To Run On A Treadmill – Cool Down
It’s also easy to hop off the treadmill when your workout is done and your heart rate is elevated. Spend 5 minutes doing a slow jog or walk at the end of your run and allow your heart rate to go below 100 bpm before you get off. Cooling down will help prevent dizziness or the feeling that you’re still moving when you step off the treadmill.
How To Run On A Treadmill – Don’t Look Down
It’s hard not to continually look to see how much time or distance you have left, but if you’re looking down, your running form will suffer. Don’t stare at your feet either. You’re likely to run hunched over, which could lead to back and neck pain. Looking straight ahead is the safest way to run, whether you’re on the treadmill or running outside.
How To Run On A Treadmill – Visualize a Route
Another trick to pass the time on a treadmill is to visualize an outdoor route that you frequently drive or run. Picture yourself running along and imagine the buildings and other landmarks you’d pass along the way. Change the incline setting at the time you’d be heading up a hill.
How To Run On A Treadmill – Hydrate
You can lose even more water running on a treadmill then you would if you were running outside since there’s little air resistance to help to keep you cool. Keep a bottle of water within easy reach.
How To Run On A Treadmill – Listen to Music
Although using headphones while running outside is not safe, listening to music on the treadmill can be a great way to combat boredom and run longer. Choose motivating songs and create a playlist for your workout—it will help prevent you from continually checking the clock to see how much more you have to go.
How To Run On A Treadmill – Work on Improving Your Stride Count
The more steps you take per minute, the more efficiently you’ll run. Elite runners run about 180 steps per minute. Determine your stride count by counting how often one foot hits the belt in a minute and then doubling that number. Try to improve your stride count during your run by focusing on taking shorter, quicker strides and keeping your feet close to the belt. This exercise will help you deal with boredom on the treadmill and even improve your outdoor running.
How To Run On A Treadmill – Pay Attention to Your Stride
Keep your stride quick and short to help minimize the impact transferred to your legs. Try to maintain a mid-foot strike to make sure you’re not heel striking and sending shock to your knees. You may need to exaggerate the heel lift because the lack of forward momentum means your feet won’t be moving in a circular path.
How To Run On A Treadmill – Don’t Lean Forward
Make sure to keep your body upright. It’s not necessary to lean forward because the treadmill pulls your feet backward. You need to pull your feet from the belt before they are driven away by the belt. If you lean forward too much, you may end up with neck and back pain.
A Beginner’s 30-Minute Treadmill Workout
Starting off as a beginner requires a slow and steady approach to your treadmill training. The best workout structure for a beginner involves walking at a brisk pace, followed by intervals of jogging and walking. It is a simple and effective starting point that will bring results in just a few weeks. The goal of the beginner program is to help your body get used to the stresses of running while keeping the joints pain-free and mobile. Follow this workout for the first two weeks of your training program and then make adjustments depending on your results.
The Warm-up (10 minutes)
Stretch and get the blood flowing as mentioned previously.
First jog interval (3 minutes)
Once you are warm, turn up the pace to around 3.5 to 4 mph. Don’t push too hard during the first interval; the goal is to become comfortable with moving at speed and focusing on engaging your core while maintaining the correct posture.
Active Recovery with Walking (2 minutes)
Get your heart rate back under control by controlling your breathing. Take a sip of water if you need it.
Second Jogging Interval (3 minutes)
Repeat as directed above.
Active Recovery with walking (2 minutes)
Third Jogging interval (3 minutes) Push yourself for the final jogging interval. Make sure that you are not losing form. Try to train in front of the mirror if you can; this will help you get another perspective on your running form.
The Cool Down (5 – 10 minutes)
Every good workout should end with a cool-down session. A cool down will help your muscles and cardiovascular system return to rest and avoid cramping. Back off to a slow walk for two minutes and then stretch out your legs before you hit the showers.