Walk into any gym and you will see them, those seemingly tireless and spritely runners who simply own the treadmill. You see them, and perhaps you are envious of their impressive ability to endure. Keep in mind that these runners were once beginners too, and as a beginner there are a few simple ways to achieve great progress. Below you will find many useful tips to master treadmill training, so read on and then confidently lace up those training shoes!

Getting Started

There are a number of ways to begin a walking and running program, but utilizing a treadmill to do so is one of the safest and most effective methods available. While most veteran runners and walkers will be quick to note that moving through nature at a self-determined pace is one of the more enjoyable aspects of a running and walking program, there are issues that you must contend with as a beginner that does not necessarily make outdoor running a feasible option to begin with.

Ease Into the Walking and Running Program

The most common mistake that beginning runners and walkers make is to do more than they can initially handle. Doing too much will not only cause you frustration, but it will also result in injuries that make progress nearly impossible. The best way to begin a treadmill training program is to work at a pace that is commonly referred to as “conversational,” or a pace that allows you to easily carry on a conversation without having to gasp for air.

The duration of the initial training will depend on your current level of fitness, but many beginning runners have found a great deal of success by alternating between walking and running. You can try this workout to get started:

  • Begin the workout by walking at a brisk pace for four minutes
  • After four minutes, run at a conversational pace for one minute
  • Recover by walking for as long as necessary until ready to run again for one minute
  • Repeat until a total of 20 minutes of running and walking is achieved

This type of workout is safe and not overly taxing, as it allows you to remain in control of your effort level throughout the workout. Once you have progressed enough in your training to run for the full 20 minutes, you can then begin to add more volume and frequency to your training.

Training Should Be Varied for Best Results

When you enter into a training program, you will usually experience results very quickly and achieve a great deal of initial progress. If the training stimulus remains the same, however, you will experience what is known as a training plateau. The only way to continue to progress in training is to vary the nature of the workouts that you do, something that is very simple on a treadmill.

Once a base level of fitness has been established, you should begin to use the treadmill to conduct different types of training runs, including each of the following:

  • Simulated hill workouts – simply adjust the incline of the treadmill to simulate a hill workout, which is a great leg strength builder.
  • Tempo runs – these runs are done at a consistent effort level, which raises your anaerobic threshold
  • Interval sessions – these workouts involve high-intensity repetitions followed by short periods of rest, which can improve foot speed and raise VO2 max (the maximal oxygen uptake the runner is capable of)

Maintain a Running Log

Most treadmills provide you with a great deal of immediate information. In order to adjust workouts according to your current level of fitness, it is best to chart your progress by logging the details of your run. Simply noting the time, distance, speed and any other relevant information can make a significant difference in achieving your desired fitness goals.

Reap the Reward of Treadmill Training

Running is a wonderful sport, and a treadmill makes it possible to run at any time of day with no regard for the various weather conditions that can make running difficult and even miserable. When done correctly, treadmill training can help you become ready to try your hand at more intense training and perhaps even racing, both of which are incredibly rewarding aspects of walking and running.