How To Make A Treadmill Workout Challenging

By Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am — Filed under:

Treadmill by Laura Moncur 10-26-06

When I got my first treadmill, I had been walking and running outside. It was a cold and wet winter, so we bought the treadmill to avoid the snowy mornings. I immediately noticed that it was easier for me to run on the treadmill than to run outside. Here’s what I do to keep the treadmill workout challenging.

  • Increase The Incline: Back then, I put the incline on 2% and it felt about the same as running outside. It’s a guide that I usually follow to this day. I usually assume that my treadmill on a 2% incline is about the same as running outside. The beauty of the treadmill, however, is that I can put the incline up to 12% and have an uphill climb the entire time. Try doing THAT outside.

  • Increase The Speed: When I run outside, I slow down when I get tired. It’s not something I do consciously. It just happens and I look down at my Nike+iPod and realize that I’m running slower. On a treadmill, I can ruthlessly set the speed and stick to my interval schedule without mercy. It’s one reason that I like the treadmill better than walking outside because I can stick to my plans much easier.

  • Mix It Up: I can walk backwards on my treadmill, which works my muscles in a whole different way. I can also do side jumps, long lunges and skip on my treadmill. All these techniques work my muscles entirely differently. Sure, I can skip around my neighborhood, but even I am too embarrassed to do that.

  • Wear A Heart Rate Monitor: The most important thing is that you get a cardiovascular workout. If you wear a heart rate monitor and have your heart rate in the proper zone, then it doesn’t matter if you’re outside or on a treadmill. It’s good advice for both sorts of exercise.

The truth of the matter is that you’ll get a better workout walking 4.0 mph outside than walking the same speed on a treadmill, but that isn’t what you should focus on. The biggest danger with treadmill workouts is BOREDOM. When you are running or walking outside, there are lots of things to look at and watch out for. When you are on the treadmill, your workout can feel like a never ending walk to nowhere.

Stay tuned on Tuesday to find out how to spice up your treadmill workouts.


One Response to “How To Make A Treadmill Workout Challenging”

  1. Paul Rogers Says:

    A trick I use to mix up treadmill running is to use two stride patterns — shorter and longer — alternating, say, every ten or fifteen minutes.

    This takes some experience because it also means adjusting breathing rhythm.

    However, it helps to adjust pressure on the knees and hips which is somewhat automatically catered for running outdoors over variable terrain.

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