Most serious competitive runners hate treadmills. They often jokingly refer to them as “dreadmills”. However, for many busy fitness runners treadmills are vital tools without which their training programs would fall apart. Both serious competitive runners and fitness runners often find that a treadmill can greatly help to work around the normal problems of life and keep their training consistent. Here are a few tips to help make sure that your treadmill miles are beneficial and injury free.

One: Be sure to wear appropriate footwear.

Wearing appropriate footwear can hold different meanings for different types of runners. If you are a competitive runner experimenting with the latest trend in “minimalist” running shoes or barefoot running, a treadmill can be the perfect place to try these out. A treadmill allows you to try these out without worry about rocks or glass or being far away from your regular running shoes when the experiment doesn’t work out. However, the average fitness runner is better advised to wear the same type of shoes they would wear if running outside. People often think that just because they aren’t running on concrete or asphalt that any shoes will do. This is not the case. Many of the typical overuse type injuries associated with running can actually be aggravated more by running on a treadmill than running on the roads or trails. Take care to wear the appropriate running shoes on the treadmill.

Two: Watch Your Form

Most people tend to restrict their normal gait when running on a treadmill with the surface moving below their feet. This is actually an improvement for some people, but for most it can amplify the types of foot and knee problems people experience when running on outside surfaces. If you plan to do a lot of treadmill running, be sure to have someone look at your running form. Many local running stores will have clinics where coaches come in to analyze and help you improve your form. This can help even if you don’t do a lot of treadmill running, but it might be vital if a you do spend a great deal of time running inside.

Three: Keep your treadmill in the middle of the action.

Most people end up hiding their treadmill in some out of the way place like a basement or in the garage. If you really plan on using your treadmill for training, don’t do that. Keep it out in the open where you will see it while you carry out your normal activities. This will bother the interior decorator types among us, but if running is important and you need a treadmill to keep up your training consistency, you need to give in and keep your treadmill visible. The experience of many has shown that any exercise equipment which is stored out of sight never gets used. Of course, this doesn’t mean you have to set it up in the middle of the den in front of the TV. An extra bedroom or a sunroom will work fine.

Four: Vary the incline and speed while running on the treadmill.

Many people keep the treadmill flat and just “serve out their time” jogging for the required number of minutes. Unfortunately, this will barely get you any benefit at all over time. When running on a moving surface such as a treadmill you use less muscle power than you do when running outside. Keep your treadmill incline at level 2 or 3 at a minimum and regularly alternate inclines throughout your run. This helps simulate running outside as closely as possible and gives a much better training effect. You will discover that you actually feel much better at the completion of your run when you increase the training challenge this way.

Five: Listen to music or watch television while you train

In spite of the fact that many people do it anyway, listening to music while running outside can actually be dangerous. Watching TV while running outside is, of course, impossible. Listening to music when running indoors on a treadmill, however, can help to make the time pass faster than it would if you were simply staring at the wall while you put in your running time. Avoiding boredom this way makes it easier to run longer and get in a more effective workout.

Running on a treadmill is definitely not for everyone. However, when the circumstances of life make it necessary, having a treadmill available can be the only way many people can continue to train and stay in shape.

Added by Craig Payne