Running on a treadmill: our practical advice

The treadmill is an interesting solution when it is too cold, during a storm, at night, or even to find uneven! The treadmill changes the biomechanics of the runner. Some recommendations must be applied to use it properly. Let’s see how to profit from it.

I started running on the treadmill regularly when I lived in Boston. There, in winter, temperatures can sometimes drop to -20 degrees Celsius! Below 0 degrees, it is often wiser to run intense sessions indoors .

The differences between treadmills and outdoor running
Outside, the heat dissipation is facilitated by the air flow generated by the movement of the runner. Indoors on a treadmill, the runner runs in place and the heat is dissipated less well. This is why a fan is often available.

Personally I put the ventilator on when I do active endurance or threshold work, but do not put it low in fundamental endurance. I also prefer to do long intervals or endurance on the treadmill because otherwise you have to constantly change gears and it is not always practical.

Indoors, it is recommended to drink regularly, between 50 and 80 centilitres per hour to compensate for dehydration. Remember to always take a water bottle to hang on the treadmill.

It is recommended to put the treadmill with a very slight slope of + 0.5% from a biomechanical point of view. The stride changes slightly since on the outside the runner will try to propel himself forward while on a mat the stride is more bouncy.

If you are running for the first time on a treadmill, the ideal is to start by running for around 30 minutes and then gradually increase, 10 more minutes on each outing. Running on a treadmill is not very natural at first, but after 4 to 5 runs, you get used to it quite quickly.

It must be said, running on the treadmill is boring, listening to music or a podcast helps to pass the time faster!

Speed ​​not always precise
The speed of the treadmill is often only indicative. A treadmill should be calibrated, but this is rarely the case in practice. The speed accuracy is often 1km / h. For example, if you set the carpet at 12km / h, you may be at 11 or 13km / h. In addition, with each support, the carpet is slowed down mechanically by the weight of the runner.

The more you run on the mat, the more your body will adapt and understand how to adapt the stride, and the more efficient you will be on the mat.

The treadmill mode of GPS watches is not necessarily more precise. Heart rate is the most accurate indicator on the treadmill. The equivalence between speed and heart rate is also biased. This is because the heart rate tends to be higher indoors because the heat dissipation is less efficient. Even more than outdoors, focus on your own feelings.

The treadmill for trail running
If you live in a city and don’t have hilly terrain available, the treadmill is a good tool for positive elevation gain . If you are planning a long outing, you can for example start with a slope of 2%. Then increase by 1% every 6 to 10 minutes.

If the treadmill does not change speed automatically with the grade, also consider decreasing the speed as you increase the grade. With the greater dehydration indoors, I generally recommend limiting yourself to 1.5 hour outings.

Only drawback to the trail, you will not be able to make uneven negative and simulate downhill, also important in trail. It may be interesting to do some weight training indoors or jump to work the descents.

I hope these tips will help you use the treadmill. Personally, I still prefer to run in the rain than to go indoors. Difficult conditions also forge the mind 😉

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