Here are some treadmill tips (some may seem obvious but it's amazing how many people I see not doing these things):
- Please don't forget to warm up... just like you do when you are outside. If you do five minutes at an easy pace outside, do it on the treadmill as well. When you're done, walk to cool down... just like you do when you are outside.
- Incline the treadmill to 1% or 2% to replicate the natural wind resistance you get outdoors. I said 1-2% and I meant it. You may think, I'll pump that incline up to 10% and really get a good workout. Unfortunately, you can also get injured. Continually running on an incline above 2% results in a higher risk for injuries to your calves, Achilles tendons, hips and ankles. If you're going to incline more than 2% limit it to 5 minutes and then go back down.
- Swing your arms! Yes, there are arm rails. No, you shouldn't use them while you are running (unless of course you start to fall, then, by all means, grab on). Holding on makes running easier. You won't get the workout you're looking for and when you do get outdoors? You will be sorely disappointed by what you think is your fitness level.
- Look straight ahead. Looking down can mess up your shoulders and back. Also, be mindful of not leaning forward. I see plenty of people at the gym making this mistake. Focus on keeping your body upright.
- Hydrate! Just because you are inside doesn't mean you don't need water. You do. Prepare for the treadmill with your water bottle just like you would, you guessed it, outside. In fact, you might need more water inside without a nice breeze cooling you down.
- With less distractions you can really focus on your stride and cadence. Try to strike with your mid-foot and aim for that 180 steps per minute number.
Marathon Nation has these great tips on how to improve your cadence:
"Establish a Baseline Number: Simply count one foot every time it hits the floor for about 15 seconds. Multiply by 4 and you have your current number. Remember the target is about 90, so do the math to see how big your gap is. For example, if my single foot cadence is 82, I have 8 steps to make up. A baseline goal is about 2 steps per week, assuming you are running four times weekly.
• Week 1: Implement 5 x 1 minute focus intervals in at least three workouts. During each focus interval you are counting your strides to make sure they are at your baseline + 2 level. When not in a focus interval, run at your easy, self-selected pace.
• Week 2: Implement 5 x 2 minute focus intervals as ODDS at baseline +2, EVENS at baseline +4.
• Week 3: Implement 5 x 3 minute focus intervals. Within each 3 minute segment, move your cadence up from Baseline +2 to Baseline +4 and then to Baseline +6
• Week 4: Implement 5 x 3 minutes again, only this time bump the cadence intervals up to Baseline +4 to Baseline +6 and finally Baseline +8."
That's it! Running on a treadmill can be a good option when the weather is really nasty. And, it can help you improve your form and stride, so instead of viewing it as the "dreadmill" think of it as a chance to perfect your run!