Should I be running on treadmills? As a runner I was often curious about the benefits of outdoor running when compared to treadmill running.
When I first donned a pair of running shoes those treadmills for home use were still in the early developmental stages. Now times have changed and there are many health and fitness factors to consider.
I will go into more detail now so that you can decide whether treadmill running should be part of your training program.
Running On Treadmill vs Outdoor Environments
Treadmill running can deliver a challenging workout for runners at any fitness level.
To really benefit from the effectiveness of this workout equipment you need to have one of the models that features a variety of programs such as ‘hill climbs’; ‘fat-burning’; ‘interval runs’; incline adjustments and different speed settings.
With the ability to change the running program to suit each runner there is actually a much better chance of finding a course setting that will be ideally matched to your needs and abilities.
I find that running on treadmill equipment very closely mimics most of the experiences you would face on a standard outdoor run.
You can vary the computerized program to the specific type of run that you want.
While many ‘gym rats’ walk on a treadmill or just set the pace for a slow jogging speed of 4mph you can always adjust the machine settings and begin your workout at a brisk 6-8 mph pace if you prefer.
Advantages Of Treadmill Running
If you consider treadmill running as part of your training program, these advantages may apply to your situation:
- Climate controlled environment.
- Improvement of your cardiovascular system.
- Strengthens your leg muscles and improves your balance and coordination.
- Television and music channels are available during your run.
- Adjustable speed settings.
- Variety of running programs.
- Music is known to trigger more production of natural endorphins which are responsible for a ‘feel good’ attitude during and after intense runs.
- Rain, heat or cold weather will not interfere with your indoor run.
Disadvantages Of Using A Treadmill Machine
There are some negative features as well that need to be considered when discussing running on treadmill equipment at home or at the gym:
- The environment can be a little too comfortable which could make you lazy.
- Some people may just stop the treadmill machine whenever they start to really ‘feel the burn’.
- Treadmill programs may give a runner a false sense of confidence about their true running abilities.
- Indoor runs are different from outdoor runs and they do not provide the same opportunity to acclimate yourself to changes in temperatures or uneven running surfaces.
Exercises For Treadmill Running
Always stretch your leg, hip and back muscles before and after running on treadmill machines. This will help you prevent any unnecessary muscle and joint injuries.
Varying your routine with some exercises that are designed for treadmill runners can also be very helpful:
- Practice with different strides-long, medium and short.
- Pump your arms and try not to rely on gripping the handrails.
- Practice lifting your knees higher in the air as you begin to hit those higher speeds.
Running on treadmill equipment gives you a smooth, even surface under your feet and this is a perfect time to concentrate on your footwork.
Discover the positive impact that those correct breathing techniques can add to your running game.
Interval Running On Treadmills
When you want to lose extra pounds and burn that ‘body fat’ then interval running techniques are what you will need to practice.
With this running style you are constantly challenging your body by subjecting it to high speed sprints interspersed with slower jogging exercises and power walks.
Speeding up your workout pace and then slowing the pace back down will keep your body ‘firing on all pistons’. If you consistently run at the same speed your metabolic system will figure out how to conserve calories while allowing your body to perform the same exercises.
However when you incorporate interval running into your normal routine there is no way for your body to decode this exercise program. That means you can burn more fat calories without spending more time working out.
Running on treadmills is a good choice for anyone who wants to get in shape, lose weight, improve their level of cardiovascular fitness or just enjoys the thrill of an intense running experience.
Are you preparing for a marathon in early spring? Treadmill running may perfectly fit in your marathon training program. You don’t have to hit the road on cold, icy days!