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Treadmill Training Made Easier

Updated: Sep 21, 2023

Learn How to Use the Treadmill for Best Results

How to use the Treadmill… Well this may seem very simple and basic, and it is, but you have no idea how many people, including fitness professionals, don’t know what the buttons on the treadmill are for!

Sport specific training, like trail running or road racing, should resemble the training/race environment, as much as possible. What this means is, if you race on trails then train on trails, or if you race on the road then train on the road. But we all know this is not always easy or convenient depending on the weather, timing, your rehab needs, or if you have an injury and can’t yet tolerate the demands of the road/trail environment!

So, how do you make treadmill training resemble the training/race environment? If you are going to race on TRAILS:

  • Train in ‘Random’ or ‘Hill’ mode

    • This will engage the muscles more similarly to the ups and downs of actual trails

If you are going to race on the ROAD:

  • Train in ‘Random’ or ‘Quick Start’ with at least 1% incline

    • This will make you have to work a little harder than on 0% grade (no incline) which is never going to happen on the road

     PRO TIP!! Always put at least 1% incline on the treadmill for walking or running as it will simulate walking on land that much more. Why you ask? Because you naturally use your butt muscles to pushing you forward with each step on the land however on the treadmill the tread going round and round is what pushes you forward. So to get those glutes (butt muscles) firing more on the treadmill, you can set the incline to at least 1% so that you have to propel yourself forward.  We all know what our butt feels like after a good hill climb, so apply that same hill climbing (incline) principle on the treadmill to make it more similar to real life walking or running on land.

Speed Training: Are you that person that holds the speed button down to switch between faster and slower speeds to complete your speed interval training? Well, I was for the longest time but there is a way easier way to do it!!

      PRO TIP: Use the ‘Speed Interval’ Button

It will ask you for your ‘LOW’ (jog/recovery) speed and your ‘HIGH’ (sprint/challenge) speed and your incline (remember at least 1% for this, don’t pick 0% as Road or Trail running is never 0%) AVERAGE Speed Settings (don’t be fooled if the machine is in km/h then these numbers won’t work but most Treadmills display in mph (USA units)

  • Walk <4.0mph

  • Jog >4.0-6.0mph

  • Run >6.0-10mph

  • Sprint >10mph

The treadmill will start with your LOW/JOG speed but you can now switch between your JOG and your RUN speed with ONE click of a button. It will NOT switch between speeds automatically! You will have to push the FLASHING ‘Speed Interval’ button at your desired interval/frequency.

How do I know how long I should run at each speed? So this more comes down to the type of training outcome you are looking for.  Training Outcomes:

  1. HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training)

    1. Increase overall speed

    2. Increase Cardiovascular tolerance (endurance)

  2. FARTLEK: (Swedish for ‘speed play’; change at your will with no specific plan)

If you're worries about injury, ready our injury prevention tips for runners next!

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