Treadmill running

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There are many times and reasons for running on a treadmill; such as in the winter months when well-lit running routes are hard to find or when the snow is on the ground making outside running treacherous. Other reasons might include monitoring improvements for gait, cadence or running technique that can be analysed easily on a treadmill.

Some runners simply prefer to run in the gym because it is familiar territory and entertainment is available in the form of screens, people-watching or chatting to other gym users. Read on for some ideas on how to maximise your treadmill sessions.

Some of the benefits of treadmill running are:

  • Safe environment
  • Consistent temperature and atmosphere
  • Consistent and well-cushioned surface
  • Option to alter the incline and pace to  fit with your specific training session

Of course there may be drawbacks such as the monotony of never-changing scenery, terrain and training routes but there are ways to combat these. Some may enjoy the routine a consistent rhythms

Train to music - Facilitated by MP3 technology, an increasing number of people listen to music when they run – 75% according to a recent survey. Academic research confirms that listening to music can lower perception of effort, increase motivation and enhance performance. MP3 players and phones store thousands of tracks so your playlist doesn’t need to be monotonous. Running apparel is more regularly  designed with a place for your device and an outlet for headphones or Bluetooth device. Modern technology of audio qualities are top drawer, so that your running can be enhanced by the music that pushes your buttons! A modern music device and running specific headphones are a good investment for maintaining motivation in treadmill running.

Train to entertainment - Whether you are treadmill running in the gym or at home some light entertainment whilst you run will make the training session fly by in no time. Most gyms have large screens positioned in front of the treadmills and if you are at home you may be able to position yourself in front of the television.  Failing this you could listen to the radio. A talk show or podcast can engage your mind in discussions and debates and a music show can offer a variety of beats to run to. You could mix your session up by altering the speed of the treadmill according to each music track that is played. If you crank up the speed for a fast track and try to hold your pace until the end of the track this could be simulating a race situation where a competitor picks up the pace and you try to go with them, not knowing how long that surge will last!

Train with a friend - Treadmill running doesn't need to be a lone activity. Most gyms position treadmills next to each other so you can jump on the one next to your friend and run along whilst chatting to each other. The beauty of this is that your friend could be at a completely different level than you, working at a different speed but you can still stay together for the training session unlike running outdoors where one of you may have to speed up or slow down to run next to the other. You can even do your speed work together. The session could be 6 X 2 mins fast, 2 mins slow. Your fast pace can be different from your friends but you will both be working just as hard. You can then enjoy catching your breath together during the recoveries.

Train with a mix of routes and speeds - Whether you are training on a treadmill or outside you will want to mix up your training routes and speeds to maintain motivation and to work all of your energy systems. Modern treadmills offer various programmes, inclines and speeds. Experiment with some of the programmes and you will find that you can do interval sessions, hill sessions, fartlek sessions and others that you would do outside.

Another drawback could be a lack of fresh air and a tendency to overheat but again, you could combat this.

Train in lightweight, breathable kit. By opting for fabrics that keep you cool and wick the moisture away you will be able to keep your cool whilst on the treadmill.

Train with a fan - A fan positioned in front of the treadmill will work like a gentle breeze and help you to keep cool throughout your training session.

Train with water - Most treadmills have a place where you can keep your drinks bottle so that you can sip when you are thirsty without having to get off the treadmill.

Although safety can be listed as a benefit of treadmill running it can also be listed as a drawback. When you are running on a treadmill the ground is coming away from you so you have to be in control of the speed or there is a danger of it running away from you and dropping you off the back. Treadmills come with an emergency stop button that you should always be able to reach. If you hit the button it will slow down to a stop so that you can safely step off. They also come with an emergency cord and clip system. You should clip the cord to your shorts or running top so that if you slip it will activate the emergency stop.

With some organisations and federations there are discounts available for specifc types of technology. See Shokz bone conduction earphones.