With temperatures plummeting and dark nights drawing in, the treadmill is suddenly looking a bit more tempting. But if you’ve never tried treadmill running before – or you’re a bit rusty – we’ve got you.
Take a look at our tips for indoor running and take your gym session from dreadmilling, to top treadmilling.
Familiarise yourself with the tech
It’s not just a case of ‘Start’ and ‘Stop’ – with a treadmill, there’s usually a whole range of different pre-set programmes to choose from. Getting familiar with these can be really helpful, meaning you can simply ‘set and go’ and stop worrying about pressing buttons midway through. As an absolute minimum, you’ll need to know how to adjust your speed and incline in case you find yourself struggling or in need of more of a challenge – and you’ll definitely need to know where the emergency stop button is. Speak to a member of the gym staff or take a few minutes to experiment before starting your workout – trust us, it’ll be worth it.
Find your sweet spot
Once you get going on a treadmill, pay attention to how your body feels. Holding onto the guardrail? Don’t – it might feel like you can push yourself harder without falling off, but you’re actually making it easier by taking some of the pressure into your arms. Still feel like you’re going to fall? It’s likely that you’re going too fast. Take it down a notch and find your most natural gait, then take the speed up again once things feel more comfortable. Don’t overstride and try to keep your feet below your body – not too far in front or behind. It can take a little time to get used to treadmill running, but persistence pays off.
Air and water
Even in an air-conditioned gym, you’re going to sweat more than you would outdoors, so make sure you’re close to a fan or an air conditioning vent. You might find you need to drink more than you would normally too, so bring a water bottle and pop it within easy reach so you can swig while you run.
Gyms present lots of distractions – screens, TVs, other people – but it’s important to keep checking in with your posture to avoid aches and pains later on. Keep your head up, avoid looking at your feet and keep your body upright. Push those shoulders back, make sure your hips are facing forward and engage that core to make sure you’re running strong,
If you’re a true outdoor runner, visualising can make your indoor experience a bit more authentic. Have one of your favourite routes in mind and plan it using your treadmill settings – so the inclines, downhills, the bits where you’re forced to slow down and your final victory stretch. Adjust the settings accordingly and have the route in mind as you run – you’ll rack up the miles in no time!
Finally, don’t forget to cool down! If you’ve ever felt dizzy stepping off a machine it’s probably because you’ve stopped suddenly and your blood pressure and heart rate has dropped too quickly. Avoid that light-headed feeling with a 5-10 minute cooldown – and don’t stop until your heart is below 100bpm. And make sure you stretch it out afterwards – our handy guide to stretching is here.