Running on a Treadmill

Just because the weather isn't ideal, you don't have to skip your training. You also don't have to feel like a hamster on a wheel while running on a treadmill. Running on a treadmill can be an enjoyable experience if you approach it with a good training plan and the right attitude.



Treadmill Motivation

Perfect Weather
Rain, snow and sleet may stop your mailman, but it shouldn't stop you from running. Assuming your treadmill is inside, you'll always have good conditions for you run. You'll stay dry, you won't overheat and you won't freeze. To warm, turn up the air conditioner or turn on a fan. To cold, turn up the heat. Ahh. Perfect running conditions.

Conditions You Can Expect
If you run early in the mornings, it's often difficult to know what's it's like outside. Even if you watch the weather station and have an outside thermometer, when that outside air hits you in the middle of the winter, it's a shock. After a couple of months of this, you may get to the point where you no longer want to deal with it. But inside on your treadmill, you'll always know what to expect. You'll know what to wear and how long it'll take you to warm up. This is a comforting feeling on those early mornings when getting out of your warm bed is tough.

Darkness
Though often exhilarating, running outside in the darkness can be dangerous. You can't see rocks, branches or holes on the ground, which may cause you to trip causing an injury that may sideline you. Cars have trouble seeing you and their high-beams blind you. What about those unusual noises... Animal? Person? Is it safe to keep going forwards? Or should turn around? While on a treadmill, just turn on your lights for perfect vision. And for safety, lock your doors.



Treadmill Routines

The features on your treadmill will dictate what routines you have available to you. As with most things, you get what you pay for. But this doesn't mean you can't buy an inexpensive treadmill and still get a great workout. You may need to adjust our routines if your treadmill doesn't have the required feature.

Easy Day
Your body can't take constent pounding every day without eventually breaking down. But you can still get a workout in without too much strain on your muscles and joints. Use those nasty weather days that you can't get outside as your easy days. Set the speed on your treadmill to an easy jog. Set the incline to 0. Turn on a good TV show or listen to your favorite tunes, and run for as long as you have time for.

Speed
On your treadmill, unlike running outside (unless you have one of those new GPS's), you know exactly how fast you're going. After a 5 minute walking or easy jogging warm up, increase the speed to an easy run. Run for 3 minutes, then slow it down to your jog speed for 3 minutes. Increase the speed to a little faster then your last speed, run for 3 minutes, then jog for 3 minutes. Increase again for another 3 minutes, jog for 3 minutes. Play around with different durations and speeds. When done, follow with a 5 minute cool down.

Hills
Hills not only increase your endurance, but they also strengthen your legs. On your treadmill, you can control how steep the hills are and how long they are (unlikely you can do this outside). After a 5 minute warm up, increase the speed to a comfortable jog, then increase the incline. Don't over do it if you haven't done this before. Running on an incline does increase the stress on you joints, so take it slow. Run for 5 minutes then set the incline back to 0. After a few minutes, increase the incline a little more then last time. Run for 5 minutes then set the incline back to 0. Like speed training, play around with different inclines and durations. No matter how strong you are as a runner, you can really challenge yourself with a large incline. And if the incline isn't challenge enough, increase your speed too. When done, follow up with a 5 minute cool down with the incline at 0.

Speed and Hills
Not in the mood for a speed workout? Had enough of just putting an incline on your treadmill and running it? Then combine the 2. Increase the incline and the speed of your treadmill. Want more? Keep increasing the incline without changing the speed. On the treadmill, you're in complete control.

Heart Rate
For those runners that wear heart rate monitors and like to control their workouts by their heart rate, treadmills can't be beat. Many treadmills will read in your heart rate from your chest strap and control your speed and incline to keep your heart rate in your target zone.

Programs
Many of today's treadmills have programs performing similar functions as mentioned above. Some treadmills even have virtual programs, making runs identical to locations throughout the world. These are all fun, but most runners we've spoken to like to control the programs themselves.



Treadmill Advice

Buying a Treadmill
Spend your money on a quality treadmill and skip the bells and whistles. A treadmill loaded with programs may seem great, but most runners we've spoken to don't use them. If you're a beginner runner who feels these programs may help motivate you, then get them. But a solid treadmill that doesn't shake or rattle and has the basic features such as speed, distance and incline are really all you need. And a treadmill with a heart rate monitor may also be a feature you'll want. This doesn't mean that you should buy the cheapest treadmill possible. You usually get what you pay for. Read reviews and buy one that has a great reputation. A good treadmill will last you for many years, so buy what you can afford. You won't be sorry.

Music
The top motivational device in all our treadmill surveys. If you're at your house, turn on you stereo. At the gym, use your phone or ipod with headphones. Even if your gym has music playing, having your own play-list is usually much more enjoyable.

Television
A close second to listening to music is watching television while on the treadmill. Although great for walkers, many runners don't like the treadmills with a television attached to the control panel. While running, your bouncing too much to watch the television that's right in front of you. A much better alternative is having a television 10 feet or so away. Keep your remote control within reach to change channels or adjust the volume. Putting on a movie while running on the treadmill is also a great way to make the time pass quickly.



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