Treadmill Running Basics
The benefits of running indoors on a treadmill are huge. To name a few obvious ones you can hide from the weather, which might mean staying cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Treadmill running is a great way to avoid sunburn and dry skin, because the cold winter wind is an expert at chaffing your lips. Your eyes won’t get the harmful UV rays of sunlight bouncing off the snow.
Being indoors also provides the runner with a safe environment, especially in winter. Ladies, for example, might feel vulnerable running outside on their own, but give them a running machine and they’re good to go.
You can also accurately measure your speed, distance, time and calories burned. Some of the newest treadmills have ever more sophisticated features, such as decline to replicate running downhill.
One of the bonuses of working out at home or the gym is that you will have a rest room so you don’t have to pee behind a bush and risk getting a fine for exposing one’s self. Highly embarrassing and not a great way to start a new hobby. We want to stay on the road to peak fitness, not the road to Alcatraz.
Running machines can easily be installed in a garage or spare room, if you opt for a fold-able version. Do bear in mind that running machines are very expensive bits of kit, even the more modestly specified budget brands don’t weigh in cheaply.
Read on and we’ll go over all you need to know about treadmill running, including workouts, equipment and apparatus, different types of machines. How not to get bored and other nifty little tips and tricks to keep you ahead of the pack.
Running Machine Footwear
You needn’t fuss over your choice of footwear. Running indoors will place roughly the same amount of stress and loading on your bones and joints as running outside. Smooth tread will provide you with the best grip and a chunkier outdoor tread is unnecessary. That’ all there is too it. Well apart from making sure that your shoes aren’t too bouncy, as running on a treadmill requires a firm and sure footing.
Oh, you’ll also need to make sure that your laces stay tied – it is potentially more dangerous if your laces got stuck in the machine than simply tripping over on the grass. Some folks say flat laces stay tied better, but personally I would say round ones do and in either case just double knot them and that is the end of the matter.
The most likely reason you will want to keep an extra pair of running shoes handy will be down to where you run. If you run outdoors and across muddy fields, then it is of course best to be respectful and use clean shoes on the treadmill.
Get to Know the Machine
Familiarise yourself with the control panel emergency stop button, speed, incline and volume buttons if you wish to listen to some music. It’s especially important that you know how to shut the machine down both quickly and safely. There is always the danger of someone else falling into the machine and causing you to have an accident so be prepared for every outcome.
There will most likely be a speed rocker button, which is exactly the same as any other modern rocker switch. Think of your volume buttons on the side of your phone. Some machines will have a quick-start function. Regardless of the brand, just as long as necessary to acclimatise yourself with the workings and don’t use the machine until you are confident.
If you are in the gym, don’t feel stupid if you have to ask the attendant for advice. That’s what they are there for and it’s better to ask for help than to ask someone to phone for an ambulance.
Getting Warmed Up
First of all you need to make sure that you have warmed up properly, in order to keep the injuries at bay. Just like working outdoors, it’s still paramount that you do a full body warm up before you get started, even though running is about your legs, you still use your core and arms for stability.
If you’re in a gym, you can take advantage of the other machinery such as steppers, ski machine or do five minutes on the bike. Start off gently and build up until you’re comfortable.
At home, presuming that you only have the running machine, you can do a five-min walking to jogging workout. Slowly increase and decrease the pace until you are confident that you’re warmed up and ready to start running properly.
Correct Running Technique on the Treadmill
Once you are warmed up and ready for your full workout, the hard work begins. For your first session, though, it’s vital you get comfortable with the treadmill and its features. You shouldn’t even worry about using the hill climb feature until you have built a base level of fitness. Remember, whether you’re indoors or outdoors, running up hills is hard and isn’t something recommended for beginners.
Don’t run with your strides too short and equally don’t over-stride because that will act as a brake on the running machine’s belt. Try and find as natural a gait as possible; focus on this rather than anything time or distance related.
Stay safe and don’t jump off the machine’s belt while it is still moving. Only hold onto the handrails gently and while you are starting off or slowing down. They’re for emergencies rather than a comfort aid. Also grasping them during your run will ruin your posture, which encourages you to hunch down in order to maintain a hold on them.
Have all your accessories that you may need at hand, such as a towel and a drink. Make sure that your towel is safely out of the way and can’t fall onto the machine. If there is a drink holder for your bottle, make sure you use it.
Using a WiFi Connected Smart Running Machine
Like everything else these days, running machines are getting smarter. Some have TV screens to prevent you from getting bored. Almost all will have some form of jack to plug your headphones into or even communicate with a wireless protocol, such as Bluetooth. You may be able to link up your smartphone app if the machine is a popular brand from one of the big companies.
If you’re going to buy a running machine yourself, the quality and features have come a long way and although the price has gone up, everything else has gone in the same direction. A creaky old second-hand running machine from the jumble sale isn’t really going to encourage you is it?
Once you are certain that you are going to be a regular runner then our choice would be TechnoGym. They provide some amazing features if money is no object. How about a feature that adapts the workout to the music in your library? Sounds cool, eh? These are the type of features that are aimed at the worst enemy of the running machine – boredom.
How to Overcome Boredom
Everyone has their own unique way of getting through the boredom barrier. For some it’s actually worse than the their pain threshold. Try and use your time on the runner as a positive. It’s a chance to relax, zone out and day dream.
Music is the most likely option to negate the effects of starting at a wall in the gym. There’s only so many times you can look round the gymnasium without looking like a weirdo, let’s be honest. A television is another way to pass the time and with headphones on you should be lucky enough to hear what is being said, unlike the old-fashioned running machines that were as noisy as a tractor.
Working Out Indoors – Exercise Guide
The options for running on a machine are essentially the same as running outdoors. You can of course set your speed and time to replicate running on a track. With the most advance machines, they can even match your outdoor runs to the same course incline angle and speed range.
You can start off with a simple strategy where you get used to the machine both physically and mentally. It is surprising how quickly you will adapt to this. There really is nothing to fear from using a running machine.
If you wish to get more detailed, you can speed up and down for X amount of minutes and have a rigid programme set in place. Often, it is best to just go with the flow and speed up and slow down as you feel comfortable. Plan ahead and be mindful of your goals as you arrive at the gym, which will make you more productive instead of wasting time planning on the spot.
Keep on Target with a Treadmill Workout Sheet
By keeping a log or journal of your running mileage, it will ensure that you have a simple way of checking back on previous workout duration, calories burned and other targets. This is the best way to keep track of progress both for speed, duration and weigh loss goals.
One way you can easily remember what to do is by making a workout sheet. You can either print them off on the computer or make a blank and fill them in by hand.
On the top of the sheet you would have four columns with minutes, speed, incline and feeling. A twenty-minute workout would have ten or twelve rows for you to fill in.
The first row would look something like this:
- Minutes: 0-5.
- Speed: 3 mph.
- Incline: 0 degrees.
- Warm up.
Stay Safe When Using a Treadmill
The biggest cause of injury when using a treadmill is from people jumping off before the belt has stopped. Ensure that you follow the safety procedure that the gym have showed you on your induction. If you’re at home, then use your own judgement and don’t be tempted to save a few seconds and get injured. It really isn’t worth it. Be patient instead and get off properly.
Vary your pace and running regime. This will help prevent boredom, but the change in speed and inclination are good ways to avoid repetitive strain injury from overusing the same muscle groups and ligaments. You will also benefit from a more varied workout.
Five More Runner’s Reads
- Running Essentials for Beginners
- Running Warm Up for Beginners
- Nutrition for Beginners
- Jogging Tips for Beginners
- Buying Running Shoes
Have You Indoor Running Experience to Share?
Let us know in the comments what you would do differently. We’d love to hear you opinions.