Five tips for taking up treadmill running

Treadmill running offers a number of health benefits and can also help you reach your most ambitious sporting goals. It's a very useful machine for helping you stay fit when the weather's not so good, both in the gym and at home.

When you run on a treadmill, always start at a slow, gentle speed (only slightly faster than a brisk walk).

Your body needs to get used to the machine and the feeling of the belt rolling under your feet. 

Once you're warmed up, you can increase the intensity to reach your target speed (6km/h or more depending on your fitness).


Adjusting the incline

When you run on a treadmill, you're running on a flat surface with no wind resistance. This can make it feel easy. 

To compensate for this and replicate outdoor running conditions as best as possible, you'll need to set the incline to between 1% and 2%.

Adopting a relaxed posture

Your posture is very important if you're to run as naturally as you would outdoors.

When you do your workout focus on:

- keeping your back straight;

- looking right out in front of you rather than down at the console screen;

- don't stand too far forward on the machine (you won't be able to lift your knees up properly) or too far back (your strides will be too short and too fast);

- don't check the position of your feet (as you might do when you're running outdoors);

- stay relaxed and loose.

The closer to the middle of the belt you run, the more natural your posture will be. You'll naturally pick up your knees and use all of your muscles (thighs, backs of the legs and buttocks).

It's all about posture! Good posture reduces the risk of neck, back and muscle pain.


Monitor your strides

When you run on a treadmill, your stride isn't as natural as when you run outdoors. This is because the treadmill dictates your stride: the cushioning is even, the pace is constant, and your foot's contact with the ground is slightly different. This leads to you taking smaller strides than you would when running outdoors.

Another thing to bear in mind is that when you use a treadmill you feel as if you are running faster than you actually are. 

To run at the right speed with the right posture, take ten minutes before your session to warm up (set the treadmill at 2-3km/h, for example) and then spend a minimum of 20 minutes running, increasing the intensity and the incline as you go.

If you want to have the same level of intensity as an outdoor workout, try to take the same size strides and listen to your body to dictate your pace.

In terms of breathing, don't forget to breathe in and out properly. It's important to breathe comfortably throughout your workout. In other words, you shouldn't feel completely out of breath.

Running also means hydration, cooling down and stretching

Running on a treadmill means you can train in any weather. You'll sweat more indoors than you would outdoors. This is because your body isn't ventilated by the wind and by you moving along.

What's the answer?

Coach's tip: Set new challenges to stay motivated and keep pushing yourself. Think about mixing up your treadmill sessions by doing some interval training and changing the incline.