Running for fitness, weight loss, or simply as an aerobic exercise remains popular for good reasons. It’s simple, convenient, and functional. Running on a treadmill makes this simple workout even more accessible. Whether transitioning to the treadmill during the winter months or starting a running program for the first time, a running treadmill offers some distinct training advantages. Here’s what you need to know get started running on a treadmill.
How to Start Running on a Treadmill – Start Gradually
Whether you’re running indoors or outdoors, start gradually. If you haven’t run before, try a run/walk program. Start with five minutes of walking to warm up, then alternate running and walking for one minute at a time for 15 minutes. Finish with walking for five minutes. Each week you can increase the time spent walking by one minute per interval until you are up to running for a full 20 minutes.
While the running surface of a treadmill provides more cushion than running outdoors, the impact and intensity of running can still result in discomfort and soreness as you get started. Most running related injuries, especially shin splints, are the result of increasing mileage or intensity too quickly. If you’re new to running, start with two or three 20 minute running workouts each week.
Expect some soreness, especially after your first workouts. If you notice a lot of soreness in the front of your shins, give yourself an extra recovery day (you can walk instead). This will improve quickly over the weeks. As you add mileage or time, stick to increases of ten percent in time or mileage each week.
While it’s tempting to focus on how many miles you run in each workout, the clock is a better measure of early success. Build up the total time spent running in your workouts each week until you are able to run for twenty minutes consecutively.
Once you reach this benchmark, start to add mileage on to your runs, especially if you are working towards a goal of training for your first road race. When you’re ready to get faster, you can choose specific running workouts that will get you faster (here are few good ones!) and increase your fitness (try these simple workouts!)
How to Start Running on a Treadmill – What to Wear
Dress for running on the treadmill is similar to running outdoors. You’ll want shoes that are specifically for running. A local running store is a great resource to help you choose your first pair. Many runners, especially larger runners, initially benefit from shoes that offer additional stability and support for the arch.
You may also be more comfortable with some level of cushioning as you grow stronger and acclimated to the impact of running. Running clothes don’t need to be fancy. Ladies, you’ll be more comfortable wearing a sports bra that provides good support and allows for easier movement. Wear something that you’re comfortable sweating in and that allows you to move freely.
How to Start Running on a Treadmill – What Treadmill is Best for Me?
Finally, know that not just any treadmill will work well for running. A running treadmill has more space to allow for stride length and changes in movement during your workout. Look for a belt that is at 20 inches. 22 inches or more is even better, especially for taller runners. Additionally, don’t undervalue the power of the motor (read up on that here). A high quality, continuous output motor will result in a smoother run for you, especially if you’re a larger or faster runner.
A treadmill is a big investment that you won’t want to repeat, so consider the features you will use over time. Music integration and virtual active technology that allows you to bring immersive experiences into your workouts will make long runs more enjoyable. Heart rate monitor integration will help you become a faster and more efficient runner. Be sure that your treadmill offers incline options.
To more closely replicate the experience of running outdoors, you should increase your incline to 1 or 2 percent to compensate for the assistance that the treadmill provides your leg in returning to the start position. Additionally, many machines offer pre-programmed workouts that range from aerobic to interval and take the guess work out of planning your training week.
How to Start Running on a Treadmill
Running is a cardiovascular fat-burning exercise that can burn up to 500 calories in one hour, notes fitnessmagazine.com. Running on a treadmill is convenient and offers controlled variation–which outdoor running lacks. You should always start with a pace that is comfortable for you.
If you’ve never run on a treadmill, begin with a walk and work up to a full one mile run. Walking mixed with running intervals is an effective way to build up to running a mile on the treadmill. Whatever your level, always begin your run with a five minute walking warm-up and end with a five minute walking cool-down.
How to Start Running on a Treadmill – Step 1
Set treadmill to zero incline and begin with walk-running intervals. Start your pace at a comfortable stride for you–this is usually around a three speed for most. Once you’re comfortable walking on the treadmill take the speed up one level at a time to increase your pace until you’re running at a comfortable pace.
Hold your running pace for one minute, usually around a five or six, and then bring it back down to your walking pace for four to five minutes. Keep this interval pace up until you reach the one mile mark on the treadmill face. As you get more comfortable with running, lower the amount of time you walk, until you are running for the entire mile.
How to Start Running on a Treadmill – Step 2
Pace your run so you can build up to one mile. To run one mile on the treadmill begin with a shorter distance at your desired pace and add more distance each week. One formula for distance training is to add 1/4 of a mile each week to your run. Begin with a basic 1/4 mile on week one, add a 1/4 mile so you’re running a 1/2 mile on week two, add another 1/4 mile on week three for a total of a 3/4 mile. And week four add a 1/4 mile to complete your full mile run. Your pace should stay the same through the duration of your training.
How to Start Running on a Treadmill – Step 3
Train with hill intervals to build up to a flat mile. Using the hill feature on the treadmill–often referred to as incline–will increase the intensity of your workout and is an effective tool for building up to a one mile run at a walking pace.
Walking hills increase your fitness level quicker than walking flat land because it requires a greater amount of exertion. Run for 15 minutes or more, alternate walking on the incline for five minutes with running on zero incline for one minute the first week. The second week decrease your incline walk time to three minutes and run on zero incline for two minutes.
Week three decrease your walk on the incline to one minute and run on zero incline for four minutes. On week four keep your incline walk at one minute and increase your flat run to five minutes. The final week run the entire 15 minutes–or one mile.