How to Run on a Treadmill: All You Need to Know

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Running is a great exercise, no matter your age or disposition. Some people run to improve their physicality or to lose weight. Meanwhile, others run for personal reasons, such as keeping fit and dealing with anxiety. However, no matter your reason, you should know that you cannot always run outdoors. At some point, you may have to opt for a treadmill workout.

Many people have incorrect notions about running on a treadmill, including believing it is not as efficient as outdoor running. However, this is not true. You can achieve the same results from running on a treadmill as you will outdoors. If you are new to running on a treadmill, we will tell you all you need to know in this guide.

Why You Should Run on a Treadmill

Young Man Running Treadmill

Treadmill running has various advantages that may convince you to try it. Some great reasons to run on a treadmill include:

Safety

Running on treadmills is a safe option if you want to run in the early mornings or late evenings. It protects you from the threats that lurk outside on the street or in silent places. Running a treadmill can also be your safest, and possibly only, option in bad weather. You can still get a good run even when the rain is pouring, or the heat is unbearable outside.

Measurement

Treadmill runs also allow you to measure your activity and progress. While you can get armbands and wrist watches that perform similar functions while running outside, it is not the same as using a treadmill. Treadmills come with a display panel where you can monitor key components of your run.

There are options to view your speed, incline, distance, and time. This can help you measure your performance and progress. Some treadmills also come with a calorie burn calculator, heart-rate monitor, and similar features. You will have to burn about 3500 calories to lose a pound. Treadmills make it convenient for you to keep track of goals and achieve them as well.

However, these features are not always accurate, so don’t rely too much on them.

Beginner-Friendly

Treadmills are beginner-friendly. If you are just starting as a runner, you may think running outside is the best way to start. Unfortunately, this is not always the truth. Running on a treadmill allows you to decide how you want your runs to go.

You can run, jog or even walk on a treadmill. The main benefit is that you can view your metrics as you work out. This will allow you to make decisions about improving and becoming a better runner.

Treadmills also have safety clips that you can use until you grow more confident on your feet. The handrails and emergency stop are features that will allow you to start running safely as a beginner. Of course, you should know how to use these features to reduce the risk of injuries in the process of using them.

It Can Be Fun

Yes, running on treadmills can be fun! It is also true, however, that many people don’t like treadmills because they get bored with them easily. But, this does not have to be the case. While you cannot experience the same feeling as running outdoors, you can easily simulate it.

For this, browse for apps that guide you through having the best outdoor experience while running on a treadmill.

Another way you can beat boredom on a treadmill is by infusing entertainment. You can watch your favorite show or listen to a podcast while running on a treadmill. You can also listen to music with wild abandon. Unfortunately, you cannot do these things while running outside due to their safety risk.

How to Run on a Treadmill

Now that you know the benefits of running on a treadmill, it is time to learn how to run on a treadmill properly. If you are unsure about how to get started yourself, you should get a coach or a more experienced runner to help you. However, you can also simply explore everything by yourself and learn with the experience.

Here are some tips for running on a treadmill:

Start by Warming Up

Never start running without a good warm-up. This rule applies whether you are running outside or on a treadmill. Running without warming up puts you at risk of getting injured. To prevent this, take the first five minutes of your time to warm up your body properly. Afterward, you can start with a walk or a jog to prepare your body for the task ahead.

Warming up will raise your heart rate and temperature and send oxygen to your muscles. Once your body gets used to the change, you can pick up a steady pace and start your run. Remember to increase your speed gradually – the same goes for the incline.

Get to Know Your Treadmill

women running on treadmill

It’s not advisable to go to a gym and jump on a treadmill that you have never used before. Instead, take your time to learn the treadmill’s features and figure out how you can best maximize them for your run. Most treadmills have similar features, such as the speed display, but they are not always obvious the first time you use them. Learn where everything is to ensure you do not have an accident.

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You can also enlist the help of a trainer to guide you through the treadmill if there is one available. They can show you where the speed display is and other features such as the pre-set workouts.

With the pre-set workout, you can set how you want your run to go and have the machine adjust accordingly throughout your run. By using this feature, you don’t have to manually change things like the speed and incline during your run.

Use an Incline

Running on a treadmill can be just as good as running outside. One of the features that make this possible is the incline setting. Outdoor tracks are not always flat, and you may experience uphill portions during your runs. You can simulate this on a treadmill through the incline setting. This way, you will not just be running on a flat track throughout.

Start gently with about one or two percent incline when running on a treadmill. Once you get used to that, you can gradually increase your incline – do not overdo it at first. It is not recommended to use more than a seven percent incline.

This is in part because most outdoor tracks don’t have more than a seven percent incline. Also, going higher than this can put you at a risk for injury, especially if you are a beginner. So, use an incline but minimally.

Don’t Hold onto the Handrail

If you are just starting to run on a proper treadmill, you may be tempted to hold on to the handrail for dear life. Don’t fall into this temptation – handrails are not there for you to hold onto throughout your run. Instead, they are to help you get safely on and off the treadmill. During your run, your hands should be bent at 90 degrees the same way they are positioned when you are running outside.

While running on the treadmill, you should try to do everything the same as you would on a track outside. For example, if you hold the handrail as you run, you will have a bad running posture. You may also experience shoulder, neck, back, and upper body pains.

Maintain an Upright Posture

You need to run on a treadmill as you would outside, and one important thing to pay attention to is your posture. Make sure that you are not hunched over on the treadmill or leaning too far forward. These habits will hurt your posture and may cause pain.

Leaning forward may also make you lose your balance and fall on the treadmill. The same goes for looking down – it will hurt your running form and prevent you from improving. To get into a proper form, check your posture before starting and occasionally throughout your run.

Your shoulders should be above your hips, and your abs pulled in. You should always look straight ahead instead of staring too much at the display to watch your stats.

Concentrate on Your Stride

When running on the treadmill, it’s important to pay attention to your stride. Don’t get too absorbed with running on the treadmill that you do not enjoy the process. Instead, run the same way you would if you were running outdoors. Take comfortable strides and ensure you are not struggling to keep up with speed.

If you experience discomfort or find yourself hunching over, you should slow down to correct your posture before gradually increasing your speed. While doing so, ensure you are not taking short, choppy strides.

Find a comfortable gait that allows you to run properly. Similarly, you should avoid overstriding by paying close attention to your posture. Your feet must always be under your body and your strides quick.

Don’t Step On or Off the Treadmill Abruptly

Don’t ever step on or off the treadmill while it is moving. You should always start and end your run slowly to prevent injuries. Start with a flat surface and minimum speed. Gradually increase the treadmill speed and incline until you find a comfortable pace.

The same goes for stepping off the treadmill when your workout is complete. Reduce your pace until it is slow enough to step off safely.

Use the emergency stop feature if you suddenly need to step off the treadmill. This is one example of when properly knowing how to use a treadmill will benefit you. To prevent leaving the treadmill abruptly, have your essentials such as water and towel close to you. This way, you can use them without hopping off the treadmill.

Visualize an Outdoor Route

When running on a treadmill, it helps to visualize an outdoor route you are familiar with. This way, you can keep boredom at bay while having the best experience of simulating an outdoor run. For example, increase the incline when running over a hill and reduce the speed when waiting for the traffic lights.

When doing treadmill training it can help to imitate the geography you are familiar with. The track outside will not always be flat, or at the same incline level, so you must introduce variety. The same goes for speed, as you cannot maintain a uniform speed throughout your run on an outside track.

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Cool Down

Always remember to cool down after your run. Your muscles have been contracted, and your heart rate is higher than normal. Slowly ease off your run to lower your heart rate and get your body back from the adrenaline. You can do this by slowing down to a walking pace or try jogging for five to ten minutes at the end of your treadmill workout.

You should also stretch a bit after your run to get your body back on track. Failing to cool down after a run on the treadmill can lead to lightheadedness. You may also feel faint if you are dehydrated, so ensure you stay hydrated before, during, and after your run.

Tips for Running on a Treadmill

Man standing on treadmill

Running on a treadmill is great if you are doing it correctly. If you are new to running on a treadmill, here are some helpful tips to get you started.

Know and Respect Your Limit

As a runner, you must always know and respect your limit. Don’t compare your progress to others. Focus on improving yourself – start small and improve as you run more.

As important as it is to know your limit, you must also respect it. It is good to push yourself to improve, but don’t push yourself too much over your limit. This can lead to injuries or long-term harm to your body.

Get a Running Buddy

Whether you are running outdoors or on a treadmill, it helps to get a running buddy. Ask a friend or family member to join you on your runs and motivate each other to get better. You can also join a community running club where you can join general runs with the members or find other beginner runners who do not mind running on the treadmill with you.

You can enjoy your time running by conversing with your buddy if you don’t want to listen to music. In addition, you can motivate each other to do better and stay consistent if you are both beginners.

Prepare Against Boredom

Many people complain that they get easily bored when running on a treadmill. The reason is that there are fewer distractions than when running outdoors.

When planning to run on a treadmill, prepare against boredom. The first thing to do is make sure that you have the right motivation. Let your motivation for running drive you even after spending 30 minutes on the treadmill.

You can also prepare against boredom by bringing your favorite entertainment along. For example, plug in your speakers or put on headphones to listen to a curated running playlist.

Another option for treadmill runners is to listen to your favorite podcast during your run or watch a show on your phone. One thing you should be conscious of is your posture and try to avoid running with a bad form just to pay attention to the entertainment.

Have Your Necessities With You

Before hopping on the treadmill, ensure you have everything you need during your run. Place your water bottle and towel within arm’s reach to avoid stepping off the treadmill abruptly to use them.

The water bottle is especially important as you must hydrate properly while running. Getting dehydrated while running can cause harm to your body.

Do Everything Like You Would on a Track

Run on a treadmill the same way you would on an outdoor track. Abandoning your form while running on a treadmill and grabbing the handrails is easy, but you should stay away from those bad habits and try to keep running on a treadmill as you would outdoors.

Pump your arms at a 90-degree angle to your body and keep your feet moving under your body. Use the treadmill features to simulate an outdoor track as much as possible by changing the incline, speed, and others.

You should also aim to spend about 150 minutes running, walking, and doing other exercises you can perform with your treadmill. This is a much faster way to ensure you reach your goals and see results.

Final Thoughts

Learning how to run on a treadmill is simple, regardless of myths you might have heard. It is also a great way to be able to run when you are concerned about your safety outdoors or need someone to help you get started.

The process is easy to replicate once you have a basic understanding of it. In addition, you can download running apps that can help you create a running plan if you cannot do it yourself.

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