It is inevitable that some of your training runs in Feb. and March will be safer if done on a treadmill (also affectionately called dreadmill). I would like to share some of my recommendations to make the treadmill effective, safe and maybe more fun and more fulfilling. Even though you are inside in a temperature controlled environment you still need to warm up. Your blood vessels in your muscles (including your heart) need to dilate. You want to slowly bring your heart rate up. A 5 minute warm up is a common recommendation. If you will be running on treadmill this may mean a walk, then a brisk walk and then a slow jog and then progress to you running speed. If you are your run is slow a jog, or run/walk combination give yourself 5 minutes to slowly work up to your jogging speed.
A big pet peeve of mine is seeing people hold onto the treadmill. Granted I understand some people need to hold on for balance issues, that is not what I am talking about. I am talking about the people who increase the speed or incline so much they can not keep up unless they are holding themselves up with handles. Unloading yourself on the handles so you can do more speed or incline does not make you do more work, it just causes neck and shoulder issues. You are better off slowing down and bringing the incline down and just keeping up with the treadmill with good posture.
Be aware of where your feet are landing. Your feet should be landing underneath you, not out in front of you. If you are not sure have a friend watch you from the side. Or even better yet have a friend record you. It is recommended to run with 1 to 2% incline to mimic outdoor resistance. This incline add just enough resistance change your gait just slightly to make more like running outside. Running on a TM with 0% incline means the TM is doing some of the work for you, with the 1 – 2% incline you have to work a little harder and requires your muscles to fire just a little bit different which is more like outdoor running. To add in some hills to mimic outdoor run is a good both physically and mentally for you. When adding in some hills don’t do it for more than 5 minutes and it’s not recommended to add a incline over 7% while running. Steep incline can put a lot of stress on your back and hips.
A huge benefit to running on a treadmill is that it allows you and friend who runs a different pace to run together and provide motivation and distraction. One of my dear friends runs a very different pace than I do, but in the winter we can easily get caught up during a long run, running side by side on treadmills. Doing intervals on TM can actually be pretty enjoyable. I find doing intervals on TM more enjoyable than doing intervals outside thru the neighborhood. On the TM you can easily see your time and distance and know exactly when to start and more importantly when to stop and recover. My favorite intervals are a half mile intervals. Go out of your comfort zone, run a hard steady pace that you can maintain for a half mile. Then recover for as long as you need (you can walk if you need to) once recovered go back to an easy jog for the remaining half mile. Then repeat as many as you need to, in order to get your distance for that run.
Listening to music is must on the treadmill. But for long slow distance runs listening to a podcast or audio book can make the time go a little faster. For very long runs you are doing at the gym try changing treadmills half way thru your run. Just changing the scenery a little bit can really help. It is important to cool down, let your heart rate decrease and your breathing come back to normal. Stopping suddenly can cause your heart rate and blood pressure to drop to suddenly leaving you light headed. We just need to get thru the next 6 weeks or so of some cold icy conditions that may push us onto the treadmill. Soon we will be faced with some of the best outdoor running conditions before it get too and too humid.
Total Health Systems Discusses Making Treadmill Exercise Fun
Total Health Systems is pleased to be able to share how to make your treadmill exercise more fun as well as tons of other important tips on what is the best for your body while working out. For more information on improving your workout or to make an appointment at Total Health Systems contact us at 586-228-0270.