By Simon Gould
You may have a treadmill at home or you have one you use at a gym. You think you’ve got everything ready and you’re about to jump aboard and run. However, stop right there. There are some important things you need for a treadmill run that you wouldn’t necessarily need for an outside run. So we provide this list to help you survive your treadmill experience.
1. Water Bottle
Hydration is so important and you know this already for the training you do outside. But a treadmill is in a building and buildings get hot. Especially when there’s someone running on a moving carpet that we like to call a treadmill. Dehydration is meant to cause an impact on your performance at 2%. Whatever the true figure is you do need a regular drink and even more so on a treadmill.
For the same reason that hydration is especially important inside so is the towel. That sweat will be dripping off you so clean it up. Wipe it off your brow as you run to keep yourself close to comfortable. In a gym this is even more vital as you need to wipe down the equipment after use. There’s nothing worse than using a treadmill after someone’s sweated all over the start button. Clean it up.
Treadmills are notoriously boring to run on (we disagree entirely, we prefer them!). However, if they do make you bored then some entertainment will keep you occupied. For most this will be the latest running songs blasting out on your ipod. Or if a television is nearby then a favorite show will pass the time or a DVD. Some people read or use an ipad while running, whatever works for you.
Some treadmills have a fan within the console. These aren’t usually very powerful but any cool air is appreciated. In a gym maybe one of the treadmills is under the air conditioning. If so then grab it straight away. At home you might have a fan you can use, if not, buy one. A lovely breeze as you run is really nice as you work up a sweat.
5. Running Plan
Some of you know exactly what runs you will be doing. It could be your tempo day and you know the speeds off by heart. If not then have a plan of what you want to do. What are you trying to get out of your treadmill run. If you’re a beginner then our couch to 5k treadmill plan might be a good one to follow. You could use one of the treadmills workout programs. Just have a plan in place.
6. Running Shoes
You should have some already and you still need them for a treadmill. You’re doing a run just like outside so it makes sense to use your proper running shoes. If you don’t have any running shoes yet, then you really do need them. Even if you only run on a treadmill. They are designed to help prevent injuries and provide you with vital support.
Didn’t you know variety is the spice of life? It’s also the spice of the treadmill to keep you engaged. Introduce some variety in your treadmill runs. You have the opportunity to use some incline so use it and introduce some hill work in to your workouts. You can specify an approximate percentage so it’s good for hill practise.
The last but easily the most important one on this list. The last thing you want to do is stop your run and visit the toilet in the middle. You really don’t want to feel you need to go so visit the toilet before you get running. So go beforehand. Once you get used to this it will become second nature and your runs will never be interrupted again.
Whatever time you do your treadmill run, it’s good top have plenty of energy to do it. This means having some food at least an hour before. Make sure you give plenty of time for your food to digest to prevent stomach problems. By eating right, you ensure you get the most out of your run and you won’t be fatigued or lack energy before you’ve finished.
Before you get on your treadmill it’s a good idea to stretch your muscles. If you start off at a high intensity without stretching you could cause yourself injuries. Cold muscles can be tight and restrictive and by stretching and warming up, our bodies can be better prepared for the exercise we’re about to do. Dynamic stretching is the new workout trend.
11. Warm up
The aim of warming up before a treadmill run is to get the heart, lungs and muscles ready. A suitable warm up would be a brisk walk on the incline or jogging. Do a mild version of the exercise you plan to do. You should repeat this when you’ve finished your main exercise as a cool down. Do these for at least 5 minutes.
You need to check your treadmill is safe to use. Check if the belt is frayed and centered. Make sure there are no obstacles around the machine and it’s in good working order. Check the emergency safety key is there and functioning. Ensure the belt isn’t loose around the deck and moves smoothly over it. Make sure there are no pets or children around the treadmill.
I’ve gone through everything you need to prepare yourself for the most effective, safe and enjoyable run on a treadmill. Do these 12 things every time, they don’t take long and can make a difference to your workouts. Your run is the most important thing, but take care of the essentials. I have most of these to hand by my treadmill and you should too.
Thinking of buying a treadmill? Here’s my favorite, I always recommend it when asked*