Treadmill Running Tips for Effective Workouts

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While some might jokingly call it the “dreadmill” due to its perceived monotony, the treadmill offers numerous benefits for your training.

It’s an excellent option when the weather is unfavorable or when outdoor running isn’t safe, particularly for those who run early in the morning or late at night.

To make the most of your treadmill sessions, consider the following tips. These will help you overcome boredom and fully enjoy the benefits of treadmill training.


Warming up is crucial for any exercise, but it’s particularly vital when you’re planning to use the incline feature on a treadmill.

Increasing the incline simulates the experience of hill walking, which intensively activates the muscles in the back of your legs.

Begin every treadmill session with a 5-10 minute warm-up.

Start by walking on the treadmill at a flat level to gently warm up your muscles.

After this initial warm-up, consider stepping off the treadmill for a thorough hamstring stretch.

This extra step in your routine can help prevent discomfort and ensure you get the most benefit from your inclined treadmill session.

Incline Setting

Use a slight incline, around 1-2%, on your treadmill.

This mimics outdoor running better by compensating for the lack of wind resistance indoors.

For beginners or those new to treadmill running, starting at 0% incline is fine.

Aim to gradually increase to 1% incline over time.

Setting the incline too high, such as over 7 percent, can put excessive strain on your back, hips, and ankles.

Many runners mistakenly believe that running the entire duration on a steep incline (more than 2 percent) equates to a superior workout.

However, consistently running on such steep inclines is not advisable and can increase the risk of injuries.

It’s unrealistic to compare this to outdoor running, as you would rarely encounter a 3-mile hill with a continuous 5 or 6 percent incline in a natural setting.

Moderation is key to a balanced and injury-free treadmill workout.

Avoid Holding the Handrail

The handrails are for safety, not for support while running. Holding them can lead to poor posture, causing back pain.

Instead, run with a straight spine and swing your arms naturally.

While gripping the rails might seem like it helps you maintain pace and intensity, it lessens your effort, making the workout easier.

Aim to run as if the rails aren’t there, mimicking outdoor running.

If you find yourself needing to hold on for balance, consider that your pace or incline might be too high.

It’s safer and more beneficial to slow down or lower the incline.

Remember, maintaining proper form and safety is more important than pushing yourself too hard.

Mind Your Stride

Keep your stride similar to how you run or walk outdoors.

Avoid over-striding, where your heel lands far ahead of your body’s center of gravity, a common issue on treadmills.

Aim for a light, quick stride, and use a cadence tracker if available.

Safety First

Never step on or off a moving treadmill. Most treadmill injuries happen this way.

If you need to stop, slow down the treadmill to a minimal speed or use the pause function before stepping off.

Be prepared with essentials like a towel, headphones, and water to avoid stepping off frequently.


Using headphones for music on a treadmill is a great way to keep your runs interesting and can help you run longer.

Unlike outdoor running where headphones can be unsafe, they’re a perfect companion for treadmill workouts.

Create a motivating playlist for your workout; it helps you stay focused and reduces the temptation to constantly check the time.

If you prefer watching TV or movies on a screen while running, pay close attention to your posture. Ensure that you’re not straining your neck or altering your form to see the screen.

If the screen’s position doesn’t suit your height or posture, it’s better to avoid watching videos. Instead, you can opt for music or podcasts.

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