While it would certainly be nice to be able to hop on a treadmill, burn a ton of calories and eat as much you want for the rest of the day, this is simply not realistic. Treadmill training is not necessarily complex, but there are some simple guidelines that should be followed so that you can be sure that you are getting the most out of your workouts and that you are safe while doing so. Ask yourself these five questions to avoid making the five most common treadmill mistakes:

Do You Warm Up?

Any experienced running coach will tell you how important it is to warm up before you train, so you are doing yourself a major disservice by skipping it. If you are doing a base training run, it is sufficient to warm up by simply easing into the pace that you planned by walking first and gradually accelerating over the course of five to eight minutes. If you are doing more challenging work, you may want to consider doing a longer warm up followed by some dynamic mobility exercises before starting. But never skip it, ever.

Are You Challenging Yourself?

Walk into any gym and you will find someone more engrossed in a book or magazine than their workout. That person is getting more out of what they are reading than what they are getting out of their workout. When you are training on the treadmill, make sure that you are focused on your training and that you are challenging yourself to be better. After all, that is why you are on the treadmill in the first place.

Do You Hold the Rails While Running?

There are many problems with holding onto the rails while running, all of which are detrimental and should be avoided. Holding the rails can cause you to over-rotate your hips, which can result in injury. It also reduces the training stimulus, which means that you are not getting as much out of your workout as you should.

Are You Changing the Speed and the Incline?

Not only is maintaining a constant speed every time you hop on a treadmill boring, it is also not going to help you get any more fit. In order to avoid hitting a training plateau, you have to vary the types of workouts that you do. You can do this by changing the speed and incline of the treadmill for each workout. You should also consider adding the following types of workouts to your routine:

  • Intervals
  • Hills
  • Tempo runs

Do You Risk Injury While Getting Off the Treadmill?

Just as it is important to warm up before you run, it is also important to cool down after a run. Make sure that you do not stop your workout abruptly and that you ease out of your run the same way you eased into it. Not only is this better for you from a physiological standpoint, but it is also safer. Jumping off a moving treadmill has caused many injuries along with a number of unfortunate YouTube videos. You do not want to deal with either, so always end your workout the right way.