How to run properly on a treadmill?

How to run properly on a treadmill?

A treadmill is a great machine that is suitable for all levels of runners, from newcomers to fitness to experienced athletes preparing for serious competition. Whether you just want to run for your health without the limitations of the weather, or you are an avid runner, the track can be used according to your needs.

However, for the simulator to be useful, improve form and give pleasure, you need to know and follow the rules of how to run on the track. The treadmill helps simulate outdoor running, but it’s not exactly the same.

Running on a treadmill has several nuances, but it’s not so difficult to understand them. We will talk about this and much more in the article.

Features of running technique on a treadmill

By using the right running technique, you can not only improve your economy but also protect yourself from injury plaguing runners. Here are a few rules that work when running on a treadmill.

Look straight
Don’t look down, nothing will happen under your feet, and dropping your head behind your eyes puts a strain on your neck and upper back. Bending your neck will not only affect your posture but will also make breathing difficult. Looking at the runway can also cause dizziness.

Don’t slouch
Another mistake people make is slouching shoulders while running. Keep them relaxed by periodically lowering and shaking your hands.

Keep your back straight
Be sure to keep your body position straight: the track will pull your legs back, but you don’t have to lean forward too much. Otherwise, you may experience pain in the neck and back, or you may lose balance.

Breathe through your mouth and nose
Beginner runners can read the nose-breathing guidelines, but the nose will not be able to draw in enough air for a running load. Moreover, there is not enough oxygen on the premises, so breathing through the mouth is necessary to fully satisfy the body’s needs.

Do not put your foot far forward.
Watch where your footsteps as you land. Ideally, when striking the treadmill, your foot is directly under your body, not far in front of your body. Excessive forward movement can stretch the muscles and tendons.
You may need to shorten your stride and increase your running pace to maintain this technique, but as you practice it will come naturally.

Land lightly in the middle of your foot.
It is also very important not to hammer your feet with all your might on the track. Run with light strides, touching the surface with the middle of your foot, not your toes or heels. Landing correctly will prevent many running injuries.

Do not turn your feet to the sides
The toes should look straight ahead while running. If this is difficult, reduce speed and incline and just run with your feet on an imaginary or delineated line.

Work with your hands
Keep your hands at an angle of no more than 90 degrees and actively help yourself by moving them. But pay attention that your hands do not cross the center of your chest because otherwise, you yourself are artificially limiting the amount of air that can enter your lungs.

Such a twisting movement, repeated for a long time, causes great stress on the muscle groups of the trunk. It takes more energy from you. Also, make sure your palms are open and not fisted.

To summarize the technical aspects of treadmill running, we want to emphasize that each part of the body has a role to play. And if one of them is in the wrong position or makes the wrong movements, it affects the rest. This is where injuries and imbalances come from.

How many calories are burned when running on a treadmill

The amount of calories you burn with any kind of exercise is highly subjective. It is impossible to give a definite answer since calorie-burning depends on body weight and intensity of work. The quantity and quality of sleep, general health, and activity during the day are also affected.

But there are average numbers that can guide you on how many calories you burn on the track over a certain time.

Harvard Health Publishing has published the results of a study on the burning of calories, including on a treadmill. The starting points were weight, speed of 8 km / h, flat surface, and 30 minutes of running:

for a weight of 57 kg – 240 calories
for a weight of 70 kg – 288 calories
for a weight of 84 kg – 336 calories.
The tracks have a built-in calorie counter, but you shouldn’t trust it if it doesn’t take gender, age, weight, and heart rate into account.

Many beginners do not run but walk on a treadmill. What about calorie burning here? In the same Harvard study, the following figures are given for walking on a flat surface at a speed of 5.5 km / h for 30 minutes:

  • for a weight of 57 kg – 107 calories
  • for a weight of 70 kg – 133 calories
  • for a weight of 84 kg –159 calories.

You can increase your energy consumption by setting the tilt of the track “up”. For example, an 84 kg person walking on a 10% incline at a speed of about 5.5 km / h can burn about 250 calories in 30 minutes. The steeper the incline you walk and the harder your heart pounds, the more calories you burn.

It’s the same with running. The upward movement promotes an increase in heart rate, that is, energy expenditure, and therefore, hypothetically, weight loss. Running fast can be traumatic if you are just getting started, but 10-15% incline jogging will not make your legs move faster but will force your heart to beat faster and your muscles to work harder.
You can increase your energy consumption by setting the tilt of the track “up”. For example, an 84 kg person walking on a 10% incline at a speed of about 5.5 km / h can burn about 250 calories in 30 minutes. The steeper the incline you walk and the harder your heart pounds, the more calories you burn.

It’s the same with running. The upward movement promotes an increase in heart rate, that is, energy expenditure, and therefore, hypothetically, weight loss. Running fast can be traumatic if you are just getting started, but 10-15% incline jogging will not make your legs move faster but will force your heart to beat faster and your muscles to work harder.
How much do you need to run to lose weight?
Running is one of the best ways to lose weight. But in order to make progress, you need to know a few secrets and follow simple rules:

run from 40 minutes to an hour so that the body switches to burning fat, and if you cannot run as much, alternate between running and walking;
combine exercise with a balanced diet so that less energy is received than wasted;
run at least three times a week and do strength exercises, because muscles consume a lot of energy;
Once you are more experienced, do your heart rate interval workouts.

What muscles are involved

The treadmill mainly works on the lower body and cardiovascular system. However, no differences between running on the ground and on roads.

Main muscles worked:

  • quads
  • hamstrings
  • hip flexors
  • calf muscles
  • gluteal muscles.

The calves and buttocks work actively if the incline of the treadmill is increased to create an imitation of an upward movement.

As you run, you also work on your core muscles, which keep you balanced and upright.

The back, shoulders, and arm muscles are used less intensively. If you want to run with dumbbells for active work of the upper body, we advise you to study the article Running with dumbbells in hands: benefit or harm.

Treadmill Safety
A treadmill is a bulky machine with moving parts, so it is very important to follow safety rules while exercising on it.

Emergency stop
For safety reasons, all treadmills are equipped with an emergency stop function. On most machines, this will be a magnet that attaches to the treadmill with a thin rope, and it stops when you remove the magnet.

Try playing with the emergency stop function before you start your run. This “training” will be useful: if you need an urgent stop, you will know where the magnet is and how to stop the track.

Turning on a track
Never step onto the tape of a treadmill without turning it on. Turn on the simulator while standing on the side stationary parts. As soon as the tape starts to move, carefully step over to it.

Stop track
When deciding to run fast, keep in mind that stopping on the treadmill is different from stopping on the street. First, you have to either take a step to the side of the stationary part or press the emergency button. And the best thing is to gradually reduce the speed on the control panel.

They are designed so that you can hold onto them in case of loss of balance or during rest. You don’t need to run grabbing onto them. This will only increase unnecessary stress on the spine.

And, of course, don’t use the treadmill without shoes. Running barefoot not only has a negative effect on your joints, but you also risk damaging the skin of your feet.

Types of running on a treadmill

On the treadmill, you can practice:

  • flat run
  • hill running
  • alternation of running and walking
  • sprint
  • long intervals
  • circuit training
  • long run.

Hill running

A treadmill is especially useful for hill running if you cannot find an uphill climb longer than 5-10 minutes in your area. The slope is usually measured as a percentage.

The typical “hill” you are most likely to find on the street usually has a slope of 5-8%. You can use this number range as a starting point for incorporating hill running into your treadmill workout routine.

Alternating running and walking
It is very convenient to practice alternating running and walking on the treadmill, which is recommended for all beginners. There are different running and walking intervals, depending on the starting level.

Example: 1-minute jogging / 1-minute walk – repeat 10 times or more if you feel good, or, conversely, less if you are short of breath after five repetitions.

Interval training
Jogging, sprinting, long runs – for all types of outdoor running, the track is great. Rather, it is even better suited for heavy intervals, as it forces you to run at a given pace.

Is it possible to exercise on a treadmill every day
There is no set time, frequency, or distance for running on the treadmill. Listen to your body and recover efficiently with massage, stretching, sauna, and balanced nutrition.

If you are new to the ranks, start with slow, low-mileage runs. Then, over time, you can gradually increase the distance, frequency, and duration.

For those whose main goal is to lose weight, there is no need for daily jogging. With long daily jogging, the heart will get used to being in an agitated state with a rapid pulse. This means that your resting heart rate can drop below 60 beats per minute. As a result, the metabolic rate will decrease, and calories will begin to be burned very reluctantly. Better to include strength training on the days between running sessions.

How fast should a beginner run

If you are a beginner runner and cannot run without interruptions, you will still reap many of the benefits of the treadmill when using it. Both lights jogging with a walk break and walking with an upward incline are great options for cardio workouts.

Remember, you don’t have to suffer while running, maintain comfortable breathing and the ability to talk if you run with a partner. For most beginners, the optimal pace will be no higher than 7:00 min/km or 8.5 km / h.

A rare beginner can run for 10-20 minutes without stopping. To smoothly accustom the body to exercise, we advise walking on an incline rather than running for a month or more, if necessary. Both forms of exercise raise your heart rate, which is the main ingredient in cardiovascular training, but upward walking is less intense.

In addition, at the initial stage, the joints will be still weak, and running can injure them. Every step you take while running applies force to your leg four times your body weight! Walking, even on an inclined surface, reduces the stress on the joints, because there is no flight phase in it, and the body weight is distributed on both legs.


  • the first month: walking on an incline;
  • then alternation of running and walking – as long as it takes;
  • A third month or later: Light jogging at a speed where you can maintain a conversation and breathe.

10 tips for running on a treadmill

1. Warm up before starting a workout

Never miss a workout. Do dynamic stretches, not static stretches, to warm up your muscles and joints. Then, after getting on the track, just walk for five minutes and only then pick up speed for running.

2. Cool down at the end of your workout.

After you finish running, do not immediately leave the track, rushing to the locker room. Walk a little so that breathing and pulse gradually decrease. When your breathing has calmed down, start doing static stretching.

Stretching after running is very important as your muscles are tense and you need to stretch them to speed up recovery. 5-10 minutes will be enough.

3. Do not quit classes.

For many people who are just starting to run, keeping a schedule can seem incredibly difficult at first. However, by sticking to it and running slowly, you can develop strength and endurance, and running will become a healthy habit for life afterward.

4. Add load gradually

Always start with an easy running level. Even experienced and fast runners had to start slowly. Keeping your runs slow and short for the first few weeks will help protect your body from muscle pain and injury. Generally, you don’t need to increase your mileage by more than 10% every week.

5. Give your body time to adapt.

The treadmill has a resilient surface as well as a moving conveyor belt, which is very different from the firm, stationary ground you are likely used to running on. Give yourself time to adapt. Just because you can run 10 km outside does not mean that you have to run the same amount the first time you use the treadmill.

6. Run on inclines

On the street, there is always an imperceptible difference in height. Why not activate more muscle by adding 1% and 2% inclines to your flat runs? Consider adding a slight incline even on days when you don’t have to “run up hills.”

7. Experiment

Most people say in one voice that for them every kilometer on a treadmill goes for two kilometers on the street. Yes, it can be boring and incredibly long, so do not be afraid to dilute your run with both accelerations, uphills, and strength exercises outside the track.

Run on it for a while and then get off to do some push-ups, squats, or SBUs for about a minute.

8. Drink and chill

On the treadmill, you are always in one place, that is, the oncoming airflow does not cool you. This is a big drawback, meaning you can easily overheat if you don’t find a treadmill with a good cooling system or practice in an unventilated area.

But the plus is that you can always put water nearby. Take advantage of this and stay hydrated.

9. Don’t chase numbers

Remember that exercising a few hours each day on the treadmill can be extremely damaging to your body. Try to train smarter, not harder.

10. Listen to podcasts

When you work out indoors, nothing distracts you, and running without music, videos or podcasts risks becoming the most boring activity of the day. Why not do two useful things at once: run and listen to an interesting podcast, the information of which will be useful for further training?

Enjoyable and effective workouts!