10 Treadmill Tips for Beginner Runners
Our range of virtual races and challenges, from the 5k to our annual virtual challenges, can be completed anywhere, anytime! The treadmill makes a great alternative to outdoor running and is ideal for both beginners and more advanced runners.
Whether you’re new to running in general or regularly run but have never used a treadmill, check out these ten treadmill tips for beginner runners from virtual running providers ACE Races.
Just because you aren’t running outdoors, doesn’t mean your treadmill sessions don’t require some preparation. Wearing the correct running shoes is still essential for avoiding injuries. You’ll also need running clothes such as a technical t-shirt and a good pair of shorts.
Due to the lack of air resistance, treadmill running can be sweaty business so you may also want to invest in some sweatbands or bring a hand towel along with you. There isn’t always a lot to look at either when running on a treadmill, especially if yours faces a wall, so to stay both motivated and entertained you may want to bring a portable music player packed with high-energy music.
Choose the right time to run
Keeping to a running routine is a great way to stay motivated. Whether you’ve purchased a treadmill for home or you’re visiting your local gym, you need to choose the right time to run for you, and stick with it!
Always warm up
You may be excited to get going, but avoid jumping on the treadmill and running start away as even though you may not be leaving the gym or your spare room, you still need to warm up the same as any outdoor running session.
Gradually warming up and easing your body into a run both raises your heart rate, sends oxygen to your muscles and increases their temperature so that you can exercise more efficiently and avoid strains.
Get to know your treadmill
Treadmills often have a range of functions and, to get the most out of your workout, it’s crucial to get to know your treadmill and what it can do. Some treadmills include a heart-rate monitor, a calorie burn calculator and pre-set workouts.
If you’re using a treadmill machine at a gym, ask a trainer to demonstrate and run you through its functions.
Watch your step
One of the most important tips for treadmill running is to watch your step! You should be running with your natural gait and footstrike, and not taking short strides. Try to run the same as you would outdoors with your feet under your body rather than ahead or behind to make sure you aren’t overstriding as the treadmill belt moves.
If you aren’t comfortable, slow the treadmill down until you find your form and then gradually increase the pace.
Pick your pace
The more steps you take per minute, the better you will run! So once you’re comfortable using the treadmill, you should aim to pick up the pace and improve your stride count.
Elite runners run at a cadence of an impressive 180 steps per minute. Find your cadence by counting how many times one of your feet hits the treadmill belt within one minute, and then times the number by two.
You can then try increasing your stride count by taking shorter, quicker strides and practising keeping your feet close to the belt.
Try a slight incline
To better simulate outdoor running, try setting a slight incline of around 1 or 2%. As there is no wind resistance inside, the incline helps to keep the treadmill run a challenge. Avoid setting the incline above 7% though as it can cause additional strain on your hip, ankles and back.
If you’re new to running, wait until you have built up a level of fitness and feel ready to try an incline. After that, remember to push yourself! One of the best ways to increase the challenge of treadmill running is to introduce interval training once or twice a week where you increase the speed or incline and push the pace.
Practice proper upper body form
To make sure you don’t experience any unnecessary back, shoulder and neck pain, you should try to keep your posture straight and practice proper upper body form by keeping your arms at a 90-degree angle. Always avoid holding on to the handrail as it is only there to assist you in getting on and off the machine.
Essentially, you should run as you would if you were running outdoors, which means keeping your body upright and not leaning forward or looking down.
As there is little air resistance indoors, you may be at more risk of overheating and excess sweating. Remember to stay hydrated throughout your treadmill run and keep a cool bottle of water in reach.
Always cool down
Jumping off the treadmill after an intense running session can make you feel dizzy and disorientated and lightheaded, which is why you should always cool down.
If you suddenly stop running, your heart rate and blood pressure drop rapidly. However, cooling down and gradually decreasing your speed into a jog then walk will help them to decrease gradually.
Virtual Running with ACE Races
Our ACE Races virtual runs can be completed anytime, anywhere!
If you’re a beginner on the treadmill, our races can be a great way to stay motivated and reach your personal fitness goals and win a collectable medal.
Take a look at our virtual 5k, 10k, half-marathon or marathon races and discover how to enter our virtual races today!