6 Tips for Treadmill Running: Get the Best Workout!

Due to lockdowns and restrictions from the coronavirus pandemic, we are now staying at home. But that doesn’t mean you should skip workouts! If you have a treadmill, it’s time to get running and keep your fitness in check.

But before that, make sure to stay safe and prepared for your indoor run with these tips for treadmill running:

1. Make Sure You’re Dressed Well

Running clothes

One of the important things to prepare before your run is what to wear, even when you’re using a treadmill at home.

You will need sweat-wicking gym clothes that feel comfortable when running, as well as the right running shoes for the treadmill to ensure a safe workout. After all, you'll be running for miles, so your feet require the proper support no matter where you run.

Besides this, prepare anything you’ll need during your run, such as your treadmill (obviously), water jug or sports drink, your tunes, a small towel, among others.

2. Warm-Up and Cool Down

Treat your treadmill run as an outdoor run. You’ll still need to warm-up and cool down to keep your body and muscles in optimum condition!

While it’s tempting to just jump on and off your treadmill for the workout, you want your body to feel comfortable before, during, and after an intense run.

Warm-up properly with a 5-minute walk or easy jog, which raises your heart rate and temperature, sending oxygen to the muscles as preparation for more speed and distance.

After your run, cool down rather than get out and plop on the floor for rest. Cool down with a 5-minute slow jog or easy walk, easing your way to a full stop. Stretch your muscles right after to prevent bad workout burns and strains.

3. Begin With a Slight Incline

Slight Incline

I’m sure you want to burn as many calories as quickly as you can, which is why you might want to go for the steepest incline ASAP to burn more and build muscle. But you shouldn’t do this, especially when you just began running!

Start with a 1-2% treadmill incline, or even zero inclines until you build your fitness enough to level up.

Once you feel comfortable to the point you can’t break a sweat, you can push a bit harder, either increasing your speed or incline. But don’t make it TOO steep, or over 7%, as this will strain the ankles, back, and hips. While you want to challenge yourself and push over the limits, this isn’t a good idea and might lead to running injuries.

Think of it this way: you wouldn't find 3-mile hills with a 5% incline or higher. Instead, you can mix up the steep inclines, running steeply for five minutes and alternate that with flat terrain. This builds strength safely while building endurance and stamina.

What can help with the incline is by visualizing a route, imagining that you’re running your usual trail, whether in the city or surrounded by nature. Change up your speed and incline every now and then as you continue visualizing your outdoor run. Not only does this help your fitness goals, but it keeps the indoor run entertaining, too!

4. Avoid Holding the Handrail or Console

The handrails aren’t actually made to hold onto while walking or running on the treadmill. They were made to help you hop on and off the treadmill safely.

When you hold on to the handrail or console while exercising, you’re most likely to hunch over, which leads to poor posture and body pain. It’s best to keep a straight and erect posture, with your back straight, head and chin up, and the shoulders leveled.

Holding on to your treadmill’s rails won’t help you work harder, but it also reduces the load. When running on the treadmill, act as if you’re running outside, without any rail to hold on to. If you’re concerned about tripping, you might be running too quickly or with a very steep incline, so slow down or reduce the incline, focusing more on safety.

5. Don’t Lean Forward or Look Down

Look down when running treadmill

To add to the tip above, think about your posture and keep the body upright. You shouldn’t lean forward, as the treadmill is pulling your feet backward. When leaning forward too much, it can lead to body pain or loss of balance.

Also, avoid looking down at the console too much, trying to check your time and distance, or at your feet. This affects your running form and has you hunch over more leading to back and/or neck pain.

6. Focus on Your Stride

Besides your posture, look into your stride as well, which should be the same stride as if you were running outdoors. Your strides should be with your natural gait,  not short and choppy ones. If you feel like your form is off, slow down until you’re confident of your form, then increase your pace.

Avoid overstriding as well, or landing on the heel first with the feet ahead of the body’s center of gravity. Keep your feet under the body rather than behind or ahead, as this will minimize the impact you transfer from feet to legs.


Wrapping It Up

Just because we’re at home doesn’t mean there’s no excuse to stay fit. Hopefully, these tips for treadmill running gave insight on how to properly workout on a treadmill. Don’t wait any longer and start prepping for your next workout to burn calories and reap health benefits!

Vera Watson
 

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