Make the Most of Your Treadmill Running with these 5 Tips

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gym goers running on treadmills

As the temperature drops, more and more of us who are looking to get some cardio in will head indoors to the climate-controlled comfort of our local gym and jump on the treadmill to push out a few miles and break a sweat. Before you do more harm than good logging miles while watching SportsCenter on the TVs hanging overhead, check out these pointers that will ensure that you get the most out of your “runs” and prevent any potential injuries.

Be Prepared

Just the same as during the outdoor running season, you should be properly equipped for your indoor treadmill sessions. Since you’ll be inside, you’re most likely going to break a pretty good sweat. Opt for a technical workout shirt that will dry quickly, as well as a comfortable pair of shorts. Ensure that your footwear is clean and mud free. The last thing you want is to start to speed up and then have some mud cause you to slip and hurt yourself. Don’t be ashamed to throw on a headband and wristband to catch sweat and wipe off your face as you go. A pair of headphones and some good music is always essential to droning out the sounds of the treadmill belts going round and round.

Ease into your Run

Many of us who do most of our running outdoors are guilty of doing a stretch or two and immediately hitting the pavement. During an outdoor run, you are able to control your pace and speed as you go, for example, after the first 5 miles, you may push yourself to go faster. Start up your treadmill session with a few minutes of walking, following by a few minutes of light jogging, finished with 3, 1 minute intervals where you run hard for 20 seconds, then at a recovery rate for 40 seconds. These final intervals are designed to get your heart rate up and blood pumping before you set off on your distance or timed run.

Use the Incline to Your Advantage

Even when just planning to do short, mile-long runs as a warmup before your workout, it’s recommended to set your treadmill at 1 percent incline. Because of the movement of the belt, your body’s natural instinct will be to over stride, as if you are running down a slight decline. Ever seen someone on the treadmill running at a dead sprint? Odds are, it’s not a sustained run, but rather an interval that they are pushing through. Instead of setting your treadmill to a speed that you can barely keep up with, increase the incline by 1 percent and try to better your time for the last mile you did at a lesser incline


Measure Your Progress

Running outdoors allows us to use fancy technology that tracks our heart rates, distances, mile splits, and more, providing us with data that shows us our progress during training sessions. Indoor running on a treadmill can prove to be a bit more difficult, as you don’t really have the ability to “power” through the last half mile in order to meet your split. While indoors, you can use the Marathon Nation Treadmill Test, where you essentially run a 3-mile time trial and evaluate how you feel each half mile. Since a 3 mile run is similar to an outdoor 5k, you’ll be able to take your times from your Treadmill test and use those to base your training off of for the remainder of the winter.

Let It Go!

Even if you just use the treadmill to walk, be sure to let those arms swing freely as you go! Holding on to the handles will prevent your body from burning the calories that it normally would when you allow your arms to be in motion. With the treadmill set at a slight 1 or 2 percent incline, your body should remain nearly vertical, not leaning backwards while holding on to the handles.

For our clients that are looking to boost their rehabilitation and preventative measures to the next level, a treadmill routine is one of the best things that they can do. The ability to control the environment around them, the speed and incline, as well as being able to stop whenever pain is present, makes the treadmill a great way to get your cardio in during the colder months of winter. Do you run or walk on a treadmill regularly? Leave some of your treadmill techniques and tips in the comments below!