Best Practices for Running on a Treadmill
Most people either love running on a treadmill or dread it. Running on a treadmill can be less pleasurable a workout than running outdoors if you’re an avid outdoor runner. So if you loathe the treadmill, here are a few best practices to help you enjoy treadmill running more.
When running on a treadmill, it’s always a good idea to make the experience as close to running outdoors as possible. There are two ways a treadmill is different from running on pavement. Number one, you run in place on a treadmill – you don’t propel yourself forward. Secondly, you miss the resistance of the wind. To compensate for these, always set the incline on your treadmill to about 2 percent. This can help load your muscles correctly.
You shouldn’t use the incline too much, though
A 2 percent incline is a good idea; raising the incline further when you run for a long time can be harmful. Whether you’re out on a real hill (or on a treadmill that’s inclined like a hill), running uphill for more than five minutes can stress your calf muscles and your Achilles tendons. If you raise the incline past 5 percent for more than a couple minutes, you risk injuring your back.
Warm up adequately
Having a treadmill to use at a moment’s notice can tempt you to jump aboard whenever the mood strikes you. You shouldn’t do it without adequate warmup, though. We’re all pinched for time these days and try to make best use of the time we have available for working out. But it’s always a good idea to warm up for five minutes before you go full steam ahead on a treadmill, or any exercise for that matter.
Use the right form
Avoid using unnatural posture and gait on the treadmill. Don’t hang on to the handles on the treadmill console while you run. When you hold on to something, you tend to run more upright; leaning slightly forward is a more natural running form. You also tend to land with your heels first when holding on, and that’s an injury risk.
Concentrate on your stride
It’s tempting to look at the console constantly to see your progress, calories burned, distance run or whatever. Your posture will slouch when you look at the console because it’s below eye level. Others are focused on their feet as they run on the treadmill. It’s important when you run to look directly ahead.
Put a television in front of you at eye level and place a towel over the treadmill’s display. Concentrate on getting a good, healthy stride. Experts recommend that you should aim for a turnover of 180 footfalls each minute.