A treadmill is an equipment designed to be used for indoor walking, running, and climbing. Treadmills nowadays are useful for runners and athletes due to the convenience it provides indoors, especially now that a lot of us stay at home due to the coronavirus.
Running outdoors and running on a treadmill will never be the same thing, however, the latter still has its advantages.
Starting slow is a great key when you plan on taking on treadmill running. If you have not run or are not used to running but are interested in starting to run on a treadmill, it is best advised for you to try walking or running programs first.
On the other hand, you can also personalize a workout program for yourself such as starting with a few minutes of walking as a warm-up then changing between running and walking along the way. Gradually easing into treadmill running would also help you avoid any running-related injuries due to impact and intensity.
Aside from safety and convenience, treadmill running can also help you with fitness, weight loss, and aerobic exercises. We have listed below a few things to know about running on a treadmill and how to start with it.
Understand How Treadmill works
Every treadmill is built differently and the manufacturers will usually provide you with a manual to guide you on how to use it. However, for some who go to the gym and have not really used one before, knowing the basics of how to use it will be helpful for them. The universally basic buttons for a treadmill are Start, Speed and Stop.
Once you step on the treadmill, you will see a button that says “Start Workout” or “Quick Workout” that you can press and make the belt move at a slow tempo. When you have got the hang of the belt, you can now adjust the speed on your preference. Aside from these, you can also acquaint yourself with other buttons such as the programming controls, speed controls (incline/decline) and the emergency stop mechanism.
What Should You Wear
Like running outdoors, you should also prepare appropriate clothes for you to wear once you start running on a treadmill. First, remember not to wear anything made with cotton since the material would struggle when you start sweating. It could lead to an uncomfortable running session.
A lightweight tank is great for treadmill running but make sure the material or fabric will keep you dry and comfortable on your run. Some also like to wear long sleeves, so it would also depend on your preference.
Choosing your shoes is also important and you would want a pair that is specifically made for running as well. Some would go for a pair of running shoes that offer stability, others would prefer more cushion.
More importantly, your running shoes should fit perfectly on your feet. Always remember to wear clothes and shoes that will make you feel comfortable and will allow you to move freely.
Be Careful With Your Speed
Three words: take it slow. The key to safe and efficient treadmill running is taking it slow and doing a warm-up before proceeding on your run. A good warm-up will pump your blood and heart rate which will prepare you for your run. Experts have advised that taking at least 5-10 minutes of slow-moderate walking speed on the treadmill then slowly increase speed and build your momentum.
Even though the belt provides you with a cushioned surface to run on, this does not fully prevent you from any injuries. Some runners have revealed they still experienced aching and pains due to going the extra mile on the treadmill. You should be mindful of the speed and only run at a pace you are comfortable in.
Length of Your Run
How long you should run depends on your preference and how long your body can take. It could also differ from runners to runners especially on their start points. If you are just about to start running on a treadmill, it will be the best time for you to measure out how long you can run as long as you stay within your fitness level and pay attention to your body.
As mentioned, try starting at a slow pace that can be 15-20 minutes three times a week. As you progress, gradually increase the duration until you find what fits your needs or preference.
Enhance Your Experience
For some, running is a great way to relieve their stress and clear their minds of intrusive thoughts. Some might also be easily bored when running indoors with a treadmill as opposed to running outdoors where you can run around nature or meet people along the way. Worry not, since running indoors can be enhanced using a few things that can also be integrated within the machine.
For example, you can listen to music when you run to take your focus off of trying hard to complete your run and it has been proven to boost endurance up to 15 percent. In place of music, you can also play podcasts or audiobooks to stimulate your mind while running. Some treadmills have the music integration feature to assist this.
For runners who have their treadmills at the comfort of their homes, they can also opt to watch light TV shows and movies that they are not too involved with while running on it. All you need is compatible headphones or earbuds to plug in.
Treadmills will help you monitor your pace or how fast and how slow you run. However, runners have noticed that most treadmills display miles-per-hour (mph) to show your pace instead of minutes-per-miles, which runners are mostly familiar with. RunnersWorld have provided a cheat sheet for you in case you prefer to monitor your pace with minutes-per-miles:
- 4.0 mph = 15:00 minutes per mile
- 4.5 mph = 13:20 minutes per mile
- 5.0 mph = 12:00 minutes per mile
- 5.5 mph = 10:55 minutes per mile
- 6.0 mph = 10:00 minutes per mile
- 6.5 mph = 9:14 minutes per mile
- 7.0 mph = 8:34 minutes per mile
- 7.5 mph = 8:00 minutes per mile
- 8.0 mph = 7:30 minutes per mile
- 8.5 mph = 7:04 minutes per mile
Choosing Your Treadmill
This section is for anyone who will be purchasing their own treadmills to use at home. Buying a treadmill is a huge investment for anyone considering it so it is wise to know what things to look for in them. Typically, a 20-inch belt is enough for anyone but for taller runners, it is best for them to opt for a treadmill that has a belt with 22 inches or more.
Look into great features being offered as well such as music integration that will boost up your running experience. A heart rate monitor is also a great feature to have on a treadmill to help you go faster and make your runs more effective.
Another feature to look out for is the incline/decline options that will enable you to recreate your outdoor running experience. Most importantly, look out for the power of the motor that will ensure your smooth run.
Treadmill Training Plan
Once you have got the hang around running on treadmills, creating a training plan will help your running form and consistency without repeating the same workout that you do. Runners can opt to go online and research for a well-prepared training plan but they can also personalize their own based on their preferences.
In any case, a training plan should always include a warm-up, cool down, and mobility exercises. TheRunExperience website has provided some training plan videos for treadmill training. For beginners, they should check out this video from TheRunExperience for a simple training plan.
Benefits of Treadmill Running
Even if you will just be running at home or indoors, treadmill running also has a lot of benefits for runners in comparison to running outdoors.
Treadmills are either at your house or in gyms and these places scream safety since the first one is your own home and the latter usually have security management. These types of environments will prevent you from facing any danger while running outdoors such as cracks on the road, cyclists, thieves or dangerous stray dogs.
If you are the type of runner who gets affected by other runners reacting to your performance, a treadmill can provide you the privacy you need in order to lessen your stress with other runners.
The treadmill’s belt will offer runners a cushioned run, thus, lessening the impact on the feet on every step, preventing any running-related injury. With outdoor running, you will be taking on hard surfaces such as cement or asphalt which have increased impact and are vulnerable to injuries.
Marko is a recreational runner (and a techie) that has completed a full-distance trail marathon from Australia. He is the lead writer at JogTunes and spends his off-time time testing different running shoes and GPS watches.