4 Tips for Treadmill Running

As the weather gets colder, more and more runners are looking indoors to continue their workout routine. It’s easy to mourn the loss of warm weather, but if done right, running indoors can actually have advantages. Read on to learn about the potential pitfalls (and added benefits!) of running on a treadmill.

1. Play with incline
When running outdoors, we encounter all sorts of obstacles that challenge us and mix up our workout. Without the hills, wind and curves in the path that an outdoor run serves up, one way you can continue to keep your workout interesting is by adjusting the incline. We suggest playing with the incline setting to find what works well for you — a 1% or 2% increase can add a little extra kick to your run. The treadmill’s settings allow you to custom-tailor your workout to your needs. You might try interval training with different incline levels for additional benefit.

2. Don’t look down
Don’t succumb to the siren song of the treadmill belt. Watching the pitter-patter of your feet below might be appealing, but running in this way can have the same effect on your body as hunching over your phone. Keep your body upright with your chin parallel to the ground and your gaze focused on the imagined horizon. When you get tired, it’s tempting to tilt your head up or down; but keeping your head level will prevent neck and back injuries.

3. Keep your hands to yourself
The treadmill’s gadgets and gizmos are tempting to play with (and by all means, play away!) but another potential trap of running on a treadmill is clinging to the dashboard or handrails. The handrails are a great stabilizer when getting on and off, but resist the temptation to hold on during your workout. Doing so not only compromises proper alignment and increases risk of injury, but holding onto the treadmill also reduces workout benefits such as balance and burned calories. If it seems impossible to run without the rails, we recommend reducing your speed or incline to a more manageable pace - you’ll get a better workout, and won’t be putting your body at risk.

4. Embrace the difference
Admittedly, running indoors does not offer the same experience as running outside — but if you choose to look at it positively, running on a treadmill can offer certain advantages. Most treadmills offer workout stats such as heart-rate and burned-calories estimates, as well as speed and incline settings that allow you to custom-tailor your workout. You now have the ability to exercise hands-free: stay hydrated with a water bottle you keep on the console, and stay dry with a towel. You can even set up a mirror to observe and tweak your running posture. You may not feel the sun shining on your face, but with a little forethought, running inside can be just as beneficial — and fun.

Rob Glauz