Treadmill Mistakes You Might Be Making
By Amy Roberts
Photo by Women’s Health
Surprise: Running on a treadmill is not only about putting one foot in front of the other. With a few tweaks to your form, habits, and plan, you can get so much more out of your indoor running workout. The best place to start? Avoiding these seven treadmill errors:
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Mistake #1: Not Having a Plan
You get on, you push “start,” and you crank up the speed. You go until the timer hits your predetermined time (or your body hits the wall), and you stop. Not only is this workout uninspiring, it’s definitely not pushing you to your potential. “You’ll always do more work with a plan—always!” says LA-based running coach David Siik, creator of the Precision Running treadmill program at Equinox and author of a forthcoming book about running. “Find a one- to three-day-a-week routine, and make the commitment to put the work back in workout.” (Need some help? Check out how to implement an interval or “hilly” treadmill plan here.) That said, following the same plan all the time isn’t ideal, either. “The body limits gains when it isn’t challenged in a variety of ways,” says Sean Fortune, an NYC running and track coach and founder of Central Park Coaching. “Running fitness is earned by training the body with steady-state runs, progression runs, intervals, long runs, easy short runs, hill sprint runs, fartleks, tempos…” Not only that, mixing it up helps protect you from injury, so make sure you’re regularly trying something new.
Mistake #2: Skipping the Warm-Up
“The biggest mistake I see by far is people going too fast too soon,” says Fortune. “They start off from a dead standstill at a pace that is unsustainable, and inevitably slow down to a shuffle or start walking shortly after they begin.” Instead, start by walking, progressively increasing to a jog for the first five to 10 minutes. After the first mile, you can crank it up if your workout calls for it. Not only will you not burn out this way, it’s safer for your body. On a treadmill, “you can still pull something even though you are on a softer surface than the road,” says Debbie Blair, running coach and board member of the Greater Long Island Running Club. The same goes for a cool-down—ease back out with five minutes of slower jogging or walking at the end.