Running indoors, while not ideal for some, can still be incredibly effective for training. Whether it’s a rainstorm, business trip or just you can’t leave the ranch, the treadmill helps you to keep on track.
However, running on a treadmill is its own game. Here are eight things to know about training on a treadmill before you start pushing those buttons to power through.
1. Don’t look at your feet. Don’t do it!
Don’t look down! While it can be tempting, doing so does the chance of you losing your balance / falling off / becoming the next YouTube sensation. It also puts strain on your neck and back, which can affect your overall running form and cause pain. Keep on looking ahead with an open chest.
2. Aim to land mid-foot.
You know who we’re talking about — the guy who slaps his feet so hard on the belt you can hear him from the weight room… downstairs.
When running on a treadmill, aim to land on your mid-foot or the ball of your foot— not your heel. Landing otherwise can cause muscle strain, injury, and poor form as your body tries to compensate.
3. You must mix up your workout routine.
Avoid the runner’s plateau by varying your workouts. While it can be easy to fall into a one-speed routine because that treadmill stays constant, it really helps to switch it up. Your body will reap more health and it could help avoid the potential for a runner’s rut!
4. The bars are for safety, only.
Avoid those grab holds or sidebars unless especially when at a high pace or climbing a steep incline. When you support part of your body weight, your body isn’t working as hard as it could be. Those bars are meant only to help you hop on and off.
5. Mind your form.
You don’t need to adjust your running form between your outdoor or indoor workouts. Consciously transfer your same form from the open road to the treadmill. Do be mindful of where on the belt you are running so you can keep your natural stride – aim for the sweet spot middle.
6. Your treadmill might slow you down.
If you are training for a 5K, 10K or other running competition, be sure to transition to running on the road before race day. Use the treadmill speed and incline tools to simulate the outdoors, but your body may still need to adjust some between running indoors and outdoors.
7. It doesn’t have to be boring.
There are ways to make your treadmill run, even the long doozeys, interesting. Some common forms of entertaining include music, television, podcasts or movies. And of course there are the amazing RunSocial digital running routes, a tailor made antidote for treadmill boredom!
8. You can simulate the outdoors with a 1.5% incline.
A 1.5% suggested incline is less to recreate the unsteady terrain of the outdoors and more to recreate the natural air resistance. Windy or not, your run outside braves the elements more so than that on your indoor kit.