Running On a Treadmill: Common Mistakes and How to Avoid Them
Running on a treadmill can be a great way to keep running no matter what the weather, or working out from the comfort of your own home. However, there are a number of common mistakes even experienced runners make when they are running on a treadmill. Here are a few of the main ones to watch out for.
Skipping warm ups and cool down
If you are going to work your muscles, you need to do these if you wish to avoid injury. Stopping suddenly on the treadmill can also lead to dizziness and injury from falling off.
Poor running form
People nervous about falling off treadmills tend to change their form. You need to run the same way both indoors and outdoors in order to avoid injury. Your legs should swing back easily and not go ahead of you. Also watch out for heel strikes and overstriding, which can cause injury because the treadmill belt is moving. Your foot landing in front on the moving belt is like slamming on the brakes as you run, leading to wear and tear on knees and hips.
Holding onto the rails
This causes tension in the arms and upper body, and the arms being in this fixed position means they are not swinging forward to help you with your momentum as you run. It also makes you bend or hunch forward, which can cause problems with knee, lower back and shoulder pain. Use the same form as you would running outdoors. If you are worried about falling, reduce your pace or incline.
Not working out fully
Holding onto the handrails actually makes your workout easier. If you also read a book or magazine while you are on a treadmill, you’re not working hard enough to get the full benefit of the exercise. Not every run has to be a long or hard one, but they don’t all have to be easy ones either.
Stepping Off While Moving
This is one of the main causes of injury. Be sure you have everything you need, water, towel and so on, before getting on.
Running at the Same Pace and Incline for Your Entire Run
Change speed and incline every so often to keep you on your toes and give you a more realistic workout such as you would do outside. Too steep an incline for too long can also cause injuries. Aim for 5 minutes maximum and keep it from 4 to 6% to protect your joints.