Many runners prefer to exercise outside. However, there are some who prefer the predictability of running inside on a treadmill. And even the biggest outdoor enthusiast will occasionally have to yield to Mother Nature.
Running on the treadmill might seem like a no-brainer workout. However, there are actually quite a few mistakes you could be making. Do any of these common mistakes sound familiar?
1. Skipping warm-up and cool-down. For some reason, treadmills make it easy to skip warm-up and cool-down. While this may be tempting, don’t do it. You’re just asking for an injury.
2. Using bad form. Many treadmill runners are nervous of slipping off the end. As a result, they change their running form. Try to run with your natural gait – and little, jerky strides aren’t natural. You should also be cautious of overstriding. You will create a braking force with the treadmill belt if you are repeatedly landing heel first, outside your center of gravity. Keep your feet under you. Don’t let them wander in front or behind.
3. Gripping the handrails. If you are hunched over the handrails, you will eventually experience pain in your neck, shoulders, and back. Let go of the handrails and keep your eyes level, your back straight, and your shoulders even. Also, using the handrails makes the workout less challenging since you reduce the load. If you are gripping the handrails because you are nervous about falling off, you need to slow the pace or reduce the incline.
4. Taking it easy. If, at the end of your workout, you have read an entire magazine and haven’t produced a drop of sweat, you aren’t pushing yourself hard enough. We acknowledge that it isn’t a good idea to run hard every day or for the entire workout. However, you should challenge yourself at some point!
5. Not adding variety. Think about this: when was the last time you ran outside and maintained the exact same speed at the exact same elevation for the entire workout? That probably doesn’t happen too often. Outside, you are bound to encounter traffic lights, hills, wind resistance and more. Let your treadmill run mimic your outdoor run. Change the pace and incline occasionally.
6. Running uphill. Running at an incline is helpful. However, if you think running the entire time at a steep incline will provide a better workout, you are sadly mistaken. In reality, you shouldn’t set your treadmill to an incline for more than five minutes. It is best to alternate between a few minutes at a steeper elevation and a few minutes at a lower elevation. Never run above a 7% incline; you’ll put too much pressure on your hips, ankles, and back.
To avoid injury and prevent workout boredom, avoid these common treadmill mistakes. If you know of any other treadmill blunders we left off the list, let us know!
Photo credit: Jennifer C.