10 Tips To Run Better On A Treadmill

10 Tips To Run Better On A Treadmill

For a heart-raising workout, there are few machines more effective than the treadmill. But that doesn't mean you couldn't make better use of it. From incline to sprints and everything in between, here’s what London’s leading running experts want you to know…

Don’t Rely On It

“While there is definitely a place for treadmill running, it shouldn’t be your sole form of running, especially if you are training for a race. Cold winter nights and poor weather are great excuses to get your run in on a treadmill, but because the mechanics of running are slightly different to the pavement, treadmill running won’t prepare you for running outside. As the belt is powered, you merely have to lift yourself off the belt, making it more of a ‘hopping’ motion rather than a ‘bounding’ motion, which you would have outdoors.” – Luke Worthington, fitness coach


Know It’s Better For Your Joints

“Running on concrete is harder on the joints than running on a cushioned surface, such as a treadmill. Lots of newer treadmill models, such as the Woodway, use individual shock-absorbing slats instead of a belt, which help to reduce shock in each step.” – Melissa Weldon, head trainer at Sweat It


Forget The Incline Myth

“Lots of fitness experts say you should increase your treadmill incline by 1% or 2% to simulate air resistance and mimic the effort required to run on a level surface outdoors. However, this is total rubbish. A steeper incline will absolutely work you harder, but it does nothing to mimic outdoor running.” – Luke


Don’t Jump Off

“One of the biggest mistakes I see people making in both treadmill-based classes and on the gym floor is jumping on and off a moving treadmill – this is particularly common when incorporating sprints into your workout. Jumping to the sides of the treadmill should be avoided as it creates a huge amount of deceleration through your knees and puts you at risk of injury.” – Luke


Consider Your Form

“The treadmill does make it easier to achieve higher speeds but this can compromise form. When running on the treadmill, you should feel strong and in control, even when sprinting. Your shoulders should be relaxed and rolled away from the ears and your stride should be long and purposeful. If you find yourself weaving, or struggling to keep up when sprinting, pull your speed back a little.” – Melissa


Think About Time

“If you’re a total beginner, prioritise time over distance. Time is a more straightforward approach when it comes to running on the treadmill – it’s easier to say to yourself you’ll run for half an hour as opposed to doing a 5K. If you’ve never run before, start with three minutes of running followed by three minutes of walking, repeated three times.” – Anthony Fletcher, biomechanics coach and founder of OneTrack


Stay Hydrated

“You sweat more when you run inside as there’s no outside air to draw away moisture. As a rule of thumb, consume 500-700ml of water in small doses for each hour of treadmill running. If you are training for a race, the treadmill is also a good chance to practice drinking while running.” – Luke


Mix It Up

“In some people’s minds, treadmills are still synonymous with boring steady-state cardio. But with the growing popularity of HIIT and, more specifically, treadmill-based HIIT classes, the treadmill can provide a challenging workout. Incline can be a great way to build strength and power, while sprints will help increase speed and anaerobic fitness.” - Luke


Have A Plan

“Don’t just jump on the treadmill without having an idea of how you’re going to train. A simple and effective 30-minute workout doesn’t take long to plan and can make all the difference between a good and a bad workout – start by jogging at a medium pace (either 10/12/14 kph, depending on whether you are beginner, intermediate or advanced) for 800m; follow this with 600m at 11/13/15; then 400m at 12/14/16, 200m at 14/16/18 and 100m at 14/16/18. Break between each sprint for 30 to 60 seconds, depending on your fitness levels.” - Melissa


Remember It’s Not Just For Runners

“The treadmill is a really valuable, under-used tool for non-runners. Walkers can get amazing results from high-intensity, hill-walking workouts, which target the legs, glutes, core and upper body. Aim for a speed between 5-7 kph (it should feel like a power walk) and vary the incline between 3%-10%, aiming for 45 second intervals.” – Melissa

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