What You Need to know to Running on a Treadmill

Running on a treadmill can be great, or the death of boring. Whether you have a treadmill at home or run on it at the gym, these tips and tricks can help you make your workouts more enjoyable and productive.

It may seem too obvious (I just press start, right?), But here is the information you should know before getting on the treadmill so that your sessions are effective and your performance improves.

First You Should Know Your Treadmill

We have all heard that treadmills can be terribly boring and while for some people they are not compared to running outside, with the wind caressing your face and the sun warming your shoulders, the reality is that this tool will be as boring or fun as you want to be.

See: 19 Quick Tips Winter Weight Loss

It is clear that runners like the outdoors, be it the asphalt or the mountains, and I am the first to decide between running outside or on a treadmill, because I choose the former. However, it is not always possible, there are situations in which, if we want to run, we are forced to pull the tape. Or of course, it can also be the case of runners who love to train indoors, because the truth is that it also has its advantages.


Beware of overdoing yourself when running treadmill
Release the grips on the treadmill
Attention with the treadmil running numbers
1% incline on the treadmill running
Ventilation running on the treadmill
Don’t Forget to Hydration is vital
Entertainment for treadmill running
Do series, intervals, blocks … varied treadmill workouts
Take the opportunity to look at the running technique
Don’t forget to cool down after training

Beware of overdoing yourself when running treadmil

Some people who are used to running outdoors report feeling pain when they transition to a treadmill. The best way to avoid it? Don’t overdo it on your first gang adventure. Everything seems to indicate that we still have several weeks of quarantine left, so try to increase your mileage little by little as you get used to the new surface. The ideal increase in total distance per week to avoid injuries is a maximum of 10%. That means that if, for example, the first week you run 15 kilometers in total, the next week you should not run more than 16.5.

Release the grips on treadmil

For beginners, holding onto the side bars of the treadmill can provide a sense of security, however it negatively impacts running technique, which can lead to injury. If you are forced to take the grabs, then you are going too fast. You better slow down a bit and make sure you are stroking naturally, as you would running outside.

Attention with the treadmil running numbers

The amount of calories burned that the band throws out is usually very imprecise, this is because there are a large number of factors that intervene to determine your calorie burning rate, from age to body fat percentage, gender or heart rate . If you have an activity tracker that tracks all of these metrics, your calorie burn reading is likely to be more accurate than the band reading. Either way, don’t get obsessed with this number and better focus on improving your cardiorespiratory capacity.

4.0 MPH15-minute mile
4.5 MPH13:20-minute mile
5.0 MPH12-minute mile
5.5 MPH10:55-minute mile
6.0 MPH10-minute mile
6.5 MPH9:14-minute mile
7.0 MPH8:34-minute mile
7.5 MPH8-minute mile

1% incline on the treadmill running

This is usually one of the most frequently asked questions, what incline to put on the treadmill? Practically all models have a% incline that we can vary, there are even tapes that allow negative percentages.

treadmill running

Is running on flat asphalt the same as on the treadmill at 0% incline? The truth is that no. For years, a study from 1996 has been taken as a reference, which concluded that, when running on the street, a part of our energy was dedicated to overcoming air resistance and small variations in the terrain. Therefore, it was stated that the energy cost of running on a 0% treadmill is lower than that of running outdoors. This study invited to set the treadmill to 1% incline to equalize that energy cost and thus equalize the outdoor conditions (flat) at the same intensity.

New studies, from 2019 and 2020, have new conclusions, and that is that it is NOT necessary to put a 1% incline on the treadmill because the variations in energy consumption up to 16km / h are insignificant. Here I tell you more about these new studies:

Of course, that does not mean that we can play with the inclination of our treadmill to simulate new stimuli, but there is no basis that supports 1% as a way to equalize the conditions on the street, at least among runners who are going to go slower than 16 km / h or 3:45 min/km.

Ventilation running on a treadmill

Another consequence of training indoors is that we need to do something to cool our bodies. Outdoors, the air covers practically our entire body, even if it is not windy. This helps us maintain body temperature and regulate ourselves. However indoors we do not have that continuous air current, so our body struggles and expends energy to thermoregulate, especially if we talk about long-duration sessions.

Ventilation, hydration and entertainment the three basics of running on a treadmill.
Ventilation, hydration and entertainment: the three basics of running on a treadmill.

The result: in a few minutes we are drenched with sweat and surely with a very high perception of effort even for rhythms that we would consider easy on the street. The solution is to ventilate the room where we have the tape well, but more importantly, put a fan nearby.

It is true that many tapes include small built-in fans, but they tend to be less powerful in general and also point to the face. The ideal is to put a fan whose air flow covers a large part of the body. Do you want a small and powerful one? I use this and it goes great:

Don’t Forget to Hydration is vital

An extension of the previous point on cooling is hydration when running on a treadmill. The humidity increases, our temperature increases and we lose a lot of liquid. Hydration playing sports is always important, but if the sessions are going to be long and we are also caught in warmer months, even more so.

Oh, and you don’t just have to drink water, your body requires salts and you have to replace them. Don’t miss this special on runner’s hyponatremia.

Entertainment for treadmill running

What do you usually do while running on a treadmill to make the session more enjoyable? In my case I spend time with:

  • 1. Listen to Music
  • 2. Listen to an Audio Book or Podcast
  • 3. Watch Videos
  • 4. Do the TV Commercial Challenge
  • 5. Work Out with a Friend
  • 6. Challenge Another Runner
  • 7. Run with a Virtual Train

YouTube, Netflix, documentaries … even a television with the news on. Anything will be better than looking at an empty wall, although in case of putting some video, I prefer that it be content in which I do not have to pay too much attention or pay much attention (and of course not read subtitles).

Do series, intervals, blocks … varied treadmill workouts

Let’s be honest, getting on the treadmill and spending 40 minutes or 1 hour riding at exactly the same pace is tremendously boring and monotonous. That way the session will last forever and we will probably catch a mania for the tape.

Try to vary the intensity, even if it is minimally changing the speed every kilometre, or every 3 minutes for example. Simply going, for example, from 11.6 km / h to 12 km / h for a few minutes, will be a stimulus and will also help us to change our posture or extend our stride.

Vary the rhythms, introduce series, intervals, blocks, rhythm changes, call it what you want, after all they are small objectives of X minutes that, little by little, will make us advance in the training and when we are going to realize it, between recoveries and stories, we will have completed much of the session.

Speed ​​km / hPace min / km
9 km / h6:40 min / km
10 km / h6:00 min / km
10.6 km / h5:39 min / km
11 km / h5:27 min / km
11.6 km / h5:10 min / km
12 km / h5:00 min / km
12.6 km / h4:45 min / km
13 km / h4:36 min / km
13.6 km / h4:24 min / km
14 km / h4:17 min / km
14.6 km / h4:06 min / km
15 km / h4:00 min / km
15.6 km / h3:50 min / km
16 km / h3:45 min / km
16.6 km / h3:36 min / km
17 km / h3:31 min / km
18 km / h3:20 min / km
20 km / h3:00 min / km

Take the opportunity to look at the running technique

One of the advantages of running on a treadmill is that we can isolate our training and remove from the equation multiple variables that we encounter when we run outdoors, such as imperfections in the terrain, traffic, turns, other people … On the treadmill it’s just us, on a stable mat and at a perfectly constant speed, why not take the opportunity to look at our running technique and improve it?

Take advantage of the treadmill not only to run but to see HOW you run. Concentrate on your movements, on how you step, on your stride, on the area where you are landing your foot, look at your arm movement, train your cadence by playing with the number of strides at the same speed, or on your breathing while running … You can combine running training on the treadmill with a previous session of running technique exercises and transfer slowly.

If you have the possibility, place the tape in front of a mirror, it is very interesting to see us running, and you can even have them record yourself or put your mobile to record anywhere and then see how we can improve.

Do not forget to cool down after treadmill training

And to finish, don’t forget to cool down a bit after training. When you finish running in the street you still walk for a few minutes until you get home, because you have to do the same on the treadmill.

It is a classic to stop the treadmill suddenly after finishing a hard workout and having the legs for dragging, even some discomfort in the hip or lumbar area if we have not had good posture or have played little with the changes of rhythm/inclination. Take a few minutes to continue walking on the treadmill before coming to a complete stop.

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