Movement

Transform your Treadmill Training

By Nike Training

How Treadmill Running Is Anything But Boring

How using a treadmill can dial in your workouts to help you perform better on the road.

Running on a treadmill is very different to running outdoors, and that’s the key thing to remember. The treadmill is a tool - it’s not intended to replace your outdoor runs. Once you learn that, you begin to see those miles on the machine in a new light. Put an end to boring treadmill runs forever with these tips on how to make it your biggest training tool.

Let us guess: When we say treadmill, you think, boring, right?

“The only time the treadmill is boring is when you just set it and forget it,” says Nike Run Club coach Jessica Woods, describing the mistake most of us make.

A 45-minute run in place with no speed or incline variation can certainly feel like an eternity. And if you’re looking for a treadmill to replicate the experience of casually running outdoors, you’ll probably be disappointed. But that kind of thinking is also the problem, says Woods, who manages the treadmill studio Mile High Run Club in New York City.

“The whole point of the tread is to use it as a tool,” she says. Do this, and you can stay engaged while enhancing your workout and your fitness. Here’s everything you need to know and do to make it happen.

A Treadmill Gives You Control

Running on a machine makes your workout environment dependable, since you determine the pace, incline, and times. Outside, you’re at the mercy of a watch and how accurate its GPS is at determining pace and distance (and that’s if you’re even wearing a watch).

What’s more, adds Woods, running indoors eliminates inherent obstacles, like potholes and wind resistance, not to mention performance-inhibiting variables such as cold, humidity, and constant stoplights.

While you likely get a little less muscle activation on a treadmill because of the way the belt pulls the panels beneath your feet, Woods says that setting the incline to 1 percent can help counteract the effect.

Machines Are Easier on Your Body

A treadmill’s padded belt can offer better shock absorption than running on the road, making it a good option to help reduce the repetitive impact of pavement pounding on the ankles, knees, and hips (and the overuse injuries associated with that). Treating those weight-bearing joints to a nice cushy tread workout can help you feel better training outdoors—and in the long run.

“The whole point of the tread is to use it as a tool”

Nike Run Club Coach, Jessica Woods

Running Indoors Is a Great Workout

There’s no replacement for running outside, especially if you’re training for a race. Still, indoor running is effective—and not just on rainy, cold days where you don’t want to (or it’s not safe to) run outside. Running on a belt lets you set the exact pace versus guessing or looking at your watch constantly, so it’s particularly good for speed workouts.

And though a treadmill might feel easier, your biomechanical patterns are not significantly different when you run on a motorized machine versus outside, according to a recent review in the journal Sports Medicine. Treadmill running also has a similar effect on your VO2 max—or how efficiently your body uses oxygen, a major benchmark for cardio fitness—as running outside does, the same review found.

How to Get the Most Out of the Treadmill

Sold on the upsides of the machine? Great. Now make training on it effective and fun.

“Treadmill running has a similar effect on your VO2 max, or how efficiently your body uses oxygen — a major benchmark for cardio fitness — as running outside does.”

Sports Medicine Journal

01. Ease In
Any time you run, it’s essential to warm up, and that’s especially true if you’re using a treadmill for high-intensity speed or interval work. "Warming up means you're going to increase blood flow and body temperature, plus improve your coordination and range of motion,” says NRC Chicago coach Robyn LaLonde. “All of these translate to better form and improved speed.”

Jog easy for 5 to 10 minutes, and follow that with a few drills—say, a series of high-knee skips, butt kicks, walking lunges, or leg swings—off the tread that will further loosen your muscles.

02. Check Your Form and Position
No one wants to fall off the treadmill, so people tend to crowd the console. But doing that means you can’t hit your natural stride, says Woods. Her advice: “Take a quick peek down at your feet. If they’re going over the front of the treadmill belt, you’re too close to the console,” she says. “Take half a step back so you can fully swing your arms and drive your knees.”

Just don’t keep looking down. “Your momentum follows the direction of your gaze,” explains Woods. Look down too long, and all that energy that should be moving you forward is dropping to the ground.

You want to also avoid the temptation to hold on to the treadmill arms, warns Woods. Relying on the handrails can inhibit your stride. And instead of fussing with any buttons or monitors on the machine to estimate how hard you’re working, use a simple scale of one to 10 in your head. The higher that number, the more you’re pushing yourself.

Finally, and we have to say it, save the texts and calls for after your workout. When you’re running on a moving belt, you need to limit the distractions (unless you want to end up in a viral video).

“Take a quick peek down at your feet. If they’re going over the front of the treadmill belt, you’re too close to the console”

Nike Run Club Coach, Jessica Woods

How Treadmill Running Is Anything But Boring

03. Hit the Gas and Recover (Again and Again)
Interval training—pushing yourself, then recovering, usually for a set amount of time—strengthens your legs and helps build your speed. The beauty of doing it on the treadmill, aside from keeping your mind and body engaged, is that you eliminate guesswork to hit a certain pace.

“The tread lets you home in on those specific paces,” says Woods. “It’s like muscle memory; the more familiar you are with that exact pace, the better you’ll be able to hit that same feeling outside.”

There are infinite ways to program intervals into your training, and one of Woods’s suggestions is a ladder. For example, run 3 minutes at a 10K pace (or 80 percent effort), 2 minutes at a 5K pace (90 percent effort), then 1 minute at a mile-race pace (100 percent effort), and give yourself 90 seconds rest after each bout. Beginners, try the sequence once through, advanced runners shoot for two or three times. For more interval workout ideas, check out the NRC app.

“It’s like muscle memory; the more familiar you are with that exact pace, the better you’ll be able to hit that same feeling outside.”

Nike Run Club Coach, Jessica Woods

04. Crank the Incline
Playing with the incline throughout your run keeps things interesting and helps strengthen your glutes, quads, and cardiovascular system, says Woods.

That’s because hills are basically speed work in disguise, she says. An incline adds resistance, which forces you to increase your power output. That’s going to improve your calorie burn, muscle strength, and stride in the same way running faster would, and it will better your form too. Running uphill also strengthens the explosive, fast-twitch muscles in your legs, which will translate to faster speed on flat ground.

05. Don’t Be Afraid to Walk
Just because the belt is moving doesn’t mean you need to be running. “If you’re doing intervals, try bringing the speed down to a walk for the recoveries until your breath comes back or your heart rate comes back down,” says Woods. The harder the interval work, the harder you want to recover. That way you can max out your effort on the next interval, she explains.

You can also use the treadmill to just walk. “It’s great to get fatigue on the legs without actually running,” says Woods—a prime way to cross-train. “And if you want to up the effort without increasing speed, keep your pace at a walk while increasing the incline.”

06. Always Cool Down
Five to ten minutes of easy jogging or brisk walking will help you ease out of your workout the same way a warm-up helps you ease into it. “You don’t want to slam on the brakes after a workout,” says Woods. “A cool-down kick-starts the healing process of sending blood flow to help repair the muscles.”

How Treadmill Running Is Anything But Boring

Move Forward

Download the Nike Run Club App now.

By Nike Training

How Treadmill Running Is Anything But Boring

How using a treadmill can dial in your workouts to help you perform better on the road.

Running on a treadmill is very different to running outdoors, and that’s the key thing to remember. The treadmill is a tool - it’s not intended to replace your outdoor runs. Once you learn that, you begin to see those miles on the machine in a new light. Put an end to boring treadmill runs forever with these tips on how to make it your biggest training tool.

Let us guess: When we say treadmill, you think, boring, right?

“The only time the treadmill is boring is when you just set it and forget it,” says Nike Run Club coach Jessica Woods, describing the mistake most of us make.

A 45-minute run in place with no speed or incline variation can certainly feel like an eternity. And if you’re looking for a treadmill to replicate the experience of casually running outdoors, you’ll probably be disappointed. But that kind of thinking is also the problem, says Woods, who manages the treadmill studio Mile High Run Club in New York City.

“The whole point of the tread is to use it as a tool,” she says. Do this, and you can stay engaged while enhancing your workout and your fitness. Here’s everything you need to know and do to make it happen.

A Treadmill Gives You Control

Running on a machine makes your workout environment dependable, since you determine the pace, incline, and times. Outside, you’re at the mercy of a watch and how accurate its GPS is at determining pace and distance (and that’s if you’re even wearing a watch).

What’s more, adds Woods, running indoors eliminates inherent obstacles, like potholes and wind resistance, not to mention performance-inhibiting variables such as cold, humidity, and constant stoplights.

While you likely get a little less muscle activation on a treadmill because of the way the belt pulls the panels beneath your feet, Woods says that setting the incline to 1 percent can help counteract the effect.

Machines Are Easier on Your Body

A treadmill’s padded belt can offer better shock absorption than running on the road, making it a good option to help reduce the repetitive impact of pavement pounding on the ankles, knees, and hips (and the overuse injuries associated with that). Treating those weight-bearing joints to a nice cushy tread workout can help you feel better training outdoors—and in the long run.

“The whole point of the tread is to use it as a tool”

Nike Run Club Coach, Jessica Woods

Running Indoors Is a Great Workout

There’s no replacement for running outside, especially if you’re training for a race. Still, indoor running is effective—and not just on rainy, cold days where you don’t want to (or it’s not safe to) run outside. Running on a belt lets you set the exact pace versus guessing or looking at your watch constantly, so it’s particularly good for speed workouts.

And though a treadmill might feel easier, your biomechanical patterns are not significantly different when you run on a motorized machine versus outside, according to a recent review in the journal Sports Medicine. Treadmill running also has a similar effect on your VO2 max—or how efficiently your body uses oxygen, a major benchmark for cardio fitness—as running outside does, the same review found.

How to Get the Most Out of the Treadmill

Sold on the upsides of the machine? Great. Now make training on it effective and fun.

“Treadmill running has a similar effect on your VO2 max, or how efficiently your body uses oxygen — a major benchmark for cardio fitness — as running outside does.”

Sports Medicine Journal

01. Ease In
Any time you run, it’s essential to warm up, and that’s especially true if you’re using a treadmill for high-intensity speed or interval work. "Warming up means you're going to increase blood flow and body temperature, plus improve your coordination and range of motion,” says NRC Chicago coach Robyn LaLonde. “All of these translate to better form and improved speed.”

Jog easy for 5 to 10 minutes, and follow that with a few drills—say, a series of high-knee skips, butt kicks, walking lunges, or leg swings—off the tread that will further loosen your muscles.

02. Check Your Form and Position
No one wants to fall off the treadmill, so people tend to crowd the console. But doing that means you can’t hit your natural stride, says Woods. Her advice: “Take a quick peek down at your feet. If they’re going over the front of the treadmill belt, you’re too close to the console,” she says. “Take half a step back so you can fully swing your arms and drive your knees.”

Just don’t keep looking down. “Your momentum follows the direction of your gaze,” explains Woods. Look down too long, and all that energy that should be moving you forward is dropping to the ground.

You want to also avoid the temptation to hold on to the treadmill arms, warns Woods. Relying on the handrails can inhibit your stride. And instead of fussing with any buttons or monitors on the machine to estimate how hard you’re working, use a simple scale of one to 10 in your head. The higher that number, the more you’re pushing yourself.

Finally, and we have to say it, save the texts and calls for after your workout. When you’re running on a moving belt, you need to limit the distractions (unless you want to end up in a viral video).

“Take a quick peek down at your feet. If they’re going over the front of the treadmill belt, you’re too close to the console”

Nike Run Club Coach, Jessica Woods

How Treadmill Running Is Anything But Boring

03. Hit the Gas and Recover (Again and Again)
Interval training—pushing yourself, then recovering, usually for a set amount of time—strengthens your legs and helps build your speed. The beauty of doing it on the treadmill, aside from keeping your mind and body engaged, is that you eliminate guesswork to hit a certain pace.

“The tread lets you home in on those specific paces,” says Woods. “It’s like muscle memory; the more familiar you are with that exact pace, the better you’ll be able to hit that same feeling outside.”

There are infinite ways to program intervals into your training, and one of Woods’s suggestions is a ladder. For example, run 3 minutes at a 10K pace (or 80 percent effort), 2 minutes at a 5K pace (90 percent effort), then 1 minute at a mile-race pace (100 percent effort), and give yourself 90 seconds rest after each bout. Beginners, try the sequence once through, advanced runners shoot for two or three times. For more interval workout ideas, check out the NRC app.

“It’s like muscle memory; the more familiar you are with that exact pace, the better you’ll be able to hit that same feeling outside.”

Nike Run Club Coach, Jessica Woods

04. Crank the Incline
Playing with the incline throughout your run keeps things interesting and helps strengthen your glutes, quads, and cardiovascular system, says Woods.

That’s because hills are basically speed work in disguise, she says. An incline adds resistance, which forces you to increase your power output. That’s going to improve your calorie burn, muscle strength, and stride in the same way running faster would, and it will better your form too. Running uphill also strengthens the explosive, fast-twitch muscles in your legs, which will translate to faster speed on flat ground.

05. Don’t Be Afraid to Walk
Just because the belt is moving doesn’t mean you need to be running. “If you’re doing intervals, try bringing the speed down to a walk for the recoveries until your breath comes back or your heart rate comes back down,” says Woods. The harder the interval work, the harder you want to recover. That way you can max out your effort on the next interval, she explains.

You can also use the treadmill to just walk. “It’s great to get fatigue on the legs without actually running,” says Woods—a prime way to cross-train. “And if you want to up the effort without increasing speed, keep your pace at a walk while increasing the incline.”

06. Always Cool Down
Five to ten minutes of easy jogging or brisk walking will help you ease out of your workout the same way a warm-up helps you ease into it. “You don’t want to slam on the brakes after a workout,” says Woods. “A cool-down kick-starts the healing process of sending blood flow to help repair the muscles.”

How Treadmill Running Is Anything But Boring

Move Forward

Download the Nike Run Club App now.