Monday, August 31, 2015

Running on a Treadmill

It's inevitable, if you're a runner (especially a Pittsburgh Runner) at some point you're going to be on the treadmill. While its not always the most exciting way to get your training miles in, it can be a good way to build your aerobic base and focus on form. Here are a few pointers that you can use to get the most out of your next "dreadmill" workout.

  • Focus on Form -I get asked all the time, "Can I work on my ChiRunning while on the treadmill?" As a matter of fact, you can! The treadmill is a great place to work on keeping your posture aligned (Shoulders stay aligned over the hips and ankles). Try and feel a "hinge" at the ankle, allowing for a forward lean (use a slight incline to increase this sensation), and keeping your stride short. 
  • Work on Cadence -The best runners in the world keep a consistent cadence between 85 and 90 RPM... so, if you want to run great, do what great runners do and count your cadence. Find your natural rhythm. Do this by counting the number of times your left (or right) foot strikes the ground/treadmill over the course of 30 seconds. Multiply that number by 2 and you have your RPMs. If they fall below 85, slowly try to increase them by 1 or 2 RMP each week until your in the 85-90 range. 
  • Stay in the Middle -Try to keep your body positioned in the middle of the treadmill. If you're up too close to the bar, you'll have a hard time engaging your "lean." If you're too far back, you might fall off!  

On top of these three tips, here are a few other things you might want to consider to make the most of your treadmill run.

  • Use the Incline -When you're running outside, the wind & ground add more resistance to your run. You don't have this added resistance on the treadmill, so to simulate the outdoor intensity add a 1 or 2 percent grade to the incline. 
  • Trust in Your Body NOT the Display -The numbers on the treadmill lie! If you feel like you're going faster or farther than you normally do, the machine's calibration might be off. A treadmill is not the place to stress about running an exact distance or speed. Instead, set a goal for the number of minutes you'll run and the Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE) you'll want to keep during the run. This is a much better strategy than stressing about a distance or speed goal. 
  • Don't Worry How Fast the Guy Next to You Runs -We've all had someone jump onto the machine next to us and crank it up to 10mph, or bust out an Uptown Funk dance. Don't worry about him! You're on the treadmill to run your workout. Keep it at your goal PRE for the length of your run. This is the best way to be ready on race day. 

Do you have any other treadmill training tips? We'd love to hear them!

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