How to use a Treadmill:
Advice for beginners:
If you have never been on a treadmill before running on a moving belt can feel pretty unsafe. Running on a treadmill is like learning to ride a bike – it will feel very natural once you start looking forward, get the balance right and your legs are moving fast enough. All good treadmills have a slow start function which means that no matter what speed you intend to run at you will have about 5 seconds of slow walking first.
We recommend any one who has never been on a treadmill before to try one at their local gym before investing on one for the home.
Here are a few things to consider when running on a treadmill :
- Safety first: All good treadmills have a magnetic safety key. The safety key links you and the machine together; one end of a piece of string attaches to your T-shirt and the other end has a magnet attached to the machine. If you fall, the magnet will be pulled off the treadmill and the belt will stop, allowing you to get to your feet.
- Walk before you can run: Find a comfortable walking pace and practice pressing the console buttons to increase and then decrease the incline. Make small changes to the speed to understand how you need to change either the length of your stride or the speed of your legs to compensate. Find the emergency stop button which should clearly stand out so that you can press it if you need to.
- Don’t hold on: The hand rails are there to grab if you stumble but holding on whilst running can drastically change your running stance and impact on your posture.
- Find your rhythm: Try to run at a constant pace. If you are doing interval training stick to two speeds so that you can easily change between the two rhythms.
- Sea legs: Once you finish walking or running its quite normal to feel like your balance is a bit out. We recommend slowing to a slow walk for a few minutes and then holding onto the hand rails when you stop and leave the treadmill.
- Keep a water bottle by you at all times so that you can stay hydrated.
- If possible hang a clock on the wall in front of the treadmill because looking at your wrist watch whilst running is the quickest way to end up in a crumpled heap on the floor!
Tips for regular treadmill runners:
Its natural to try to tune out of the effort of running by thinking about everything else…what you’ll have for lunch, listening to the radio or planning your next holiday. In fact even the most accomplished long distance runners try to disassociate themselves from the grind of running when they train. However research shows that accomplished marathon runners are very in tune with their body on race day. From the rhythm of their feet hitting the pavement, tight muscles, clothes rubbing, and the constant panting they are extremely aware of their body’s response to running. This helps them to push themselves and stay focused on the race. So remember to tune in on race day- whether its your first five kilometres in a park on your own or the London Marathon- don’t let it pass you by.
For training days we recommend music- as loud as you can! High quality treadmills have speakers that you can plug your smart phone or mp3 player into. Pick a running play list before hand and get into the zone.
Visualisation: One of the most popular psychological strategies for top runners is mental imagery. The brain finds it hard to differentiate between a mental picture of something happening and something that has happened in real life. So as you are warming up on your treadmill imagine running your personal best, or running for an extra 5miles and it will help you to accomplish it. Think about how you will feel as the clock ticks down or telling your friends how far you went. Think about how you will get a second wind with 10minutes to go. Think about what song you will pick for the final dash. Now go!
Negotiate: One of the biggest barriers to running further is the voice in your head cajoling you to take a break, slow down or give up and its very hard to ignore altogether. So we suggest staying focused on the next goal, getting to the next corner, running for another 5 minutes or until you have reached the hill in your treadmill programme. Negotiate with the voice in your head; just up the next hill, just a few more minuets..This will help you to get through the present rather than becoming too daunted by the time left on the clock or the total distance you wanted to run.
Intervals: If you start to walk because you are tired but don’t want to give up try turning to interval training. For interval training allow yourself one minute walking or slow jogging for every 2 minutes of running your absolute hardest.
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