It’s that time again, its cold outside; it gets dark earlier and many of us are forced inside to use the treadmill in order to get our weekly miles. It is a great tool for beginners and some of you may even be coming back from an injury – the treadmill offers a softer surface than the roads, as well as a completely controlled environment to do some pace/fitness testing. The treadmill is the cardio option of choice for some people, but for beginners it can be a very intimidating experience. Try some of these tips to make your treadmill walking and running a fun and valuable experience!
If you are new to working or running on a treadmill – the treadmill can look like a beast! She’s big, has lots of buttons and can makes lots of noise. But she really can be a great friend – and offers quite a bit of flexibility as well as indoor comfort. Many of them now have built in entertainment centers, which can make the miles and time go by much faster. You do need to keep aware of your position on the belt, because she has been known to ‘spit’ people off the back end who were too distracted! So make sure when you are starting, you get very comfortable with the machine before adding entertainment and/or other movements to the mix!
Don’t be afraid to ask for help at the gym if you are just getting started, or a quick review of the manual if you’ve made the purchase for home use. There are 2 important buttons on all treadmills, start (green) and stop (red). As well, there is a safety treadmill mechanism – it’s usually a clip or pin— find it and attach it to the band of your shorts. The other end is attached to the treadmill (it’s usually a magnet). Then if you happen to trip or fall, it will automatically pull the safety cord, stopping the treadmill belt. It rarely happens, but we want you safe!
Many treadmills want your age, weight, etc. The more information you give (don’t worry, no one else will know what you put in), the more accurate the calories-burned estimate will be. It may also ask you if you have a time goal (this means how many minutes you’d like to work out) or if you’d like to follow one of its various training programs – or you can opt for the manual option. For beginners, the manual option is a good choice – you can make speed and incline changes to suit your effort.
The speed setting is very important aspect on the treadmill as it will tell you the running/walking pace and give you a good idea of the calories burned. When starting out, find a speed that you can maintain for a prolonged period of time (15 – 20 minutes to begin). Obviously, the faster your pace the more you calories burn, but don’t go crazy and run/walk too hard in the beginning. It’s best to start with a fast paced walk or light jog – concentrating on your form and how you feel.
Well, now that you have a good start with the basics – let’s move on to some great tips and fun workouts to try! Don’t be afraid to experiment! Just be sure to vary your workouts as you feel comfortable – because if you do the same 30 minute run/walk everyday – your body just adapts and figures out the most efficient way to get that done! You have to mix it up so your body has to adapt, which increases your fitness level and your creativity!
- Have a plan- write down your workout. If you know what you want to achieve and how you’re going to do it, you are more likely to follow through.
- Location- you may not always have an option, but scope out the treadmill selection in the gym, find your prime spot, closest to the water or even next to the eye candy you see around ; ) Be comfortable where you are so it doesn’t become a distraction later in your run.
- Intervals - This is my favorite! Speed or hill intervals are a quick and efficient way to get the job done! Try a HIIT (high intensity interval training). See treadmill workouts below.
- Cover the screen with a towel. What?!? I’ve only been going for 3 minutes, arrghhh! Set your pace and cover the screen to avoid the constant looking at your time/mileage.
- Scan a magazine or I Pad – catch up on the latest news or engage in your current novel.
- Switch up machines – not going after a certain mileage, mix your cardio choices up. Run for 10 minutes, bike for 10 minutes, Stairmaster for 10 minutes, etc. This will help break up the time and makes it go faster!
- Multi task! If you are bored or short on time, use dumbbells and add strength to your cardio. Perform bicep curls, shoulder presses, triceps extensions, or lateral raises while walking on a high incline. (warning: perform at own risk, please do not fall or knock someone else off their machine. Well…unless they deserve it J)
- When all else fails follow this video…. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_profilepage&v=1adswSoj-HA
Whatever method you choose, HAVE FUN with it; don’t let outdoor obstacles get in your way of your fitness and health. Be the best version of you all year long!!! Run with joy.
HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training)
This is meant to be a quick but efficient way to increase your heart rate, burn fat and increase endurance. This type of training is also great to help break that plateau effect that can happen with a longer but comfortable pace run.
- 5 minute warm up- walk or easy jog
- 30-45 second sprint @ 80-90% max pace
- 1-1.5 minute easy recover jog or walk @ 50% effort pace (make sure heart rate has decreased before starting over)
- Repeat 10-15 minutes
- 5 minute cool down walk
*Feeling feisty, add an incline between 1-3% to increase intensity and better simulate a natural outdoor incline.
Total workout should not exceed 25 minutes. At the end of the sprint, if you feel like you could continue longer, you know it’s time to increase your pace. The goal is short maximum effort to increase your heart rate but you do not want to keep it too high for too long.
Don’t forget to stretch!
30 Minute Sweaty Incline Butt Burner
Time Incline Speed
0-5 2.0% 3.0
5-6 5.0% 3.5+
6-7 6.0% 3.5+
7-8 3.0% 4.0
8-9 7.0% 3.5+
9-10 8.0% 3.5+
10-11 3.0% 4.0
11-12 9.0% 3.5+
12-13 10.0% 3.5+
13-14 3.0% 4.0
14-15 1.0% 4.0
Repeat starting at 10% and work your way back down. Cool down with an easy walk no incline. STRETCH!
**Speed is optional, find what works best for you!