Treadmills are a god send, at least for me. I really would feel that if I ran outside, I would get stabbed, so I play it safe and run on the treadmill and man do I love it. The invention of the treadmill means that we can run 5 miles whilst technically staying on the same spot. However, putting aside all the glory that is the treadmill, there are a few things that should be noted, whether for safety or for a general better experience of running on the treadmill. I have experienced many injuries when it comes down to the treadmill, and all of them are due to my ignorance of what I was running on.
- Warm up/cool down
Now I'm guilty for skipping warm up because I simply cannot be bothered but DO NOT! Warming up well warms up your body and muscles, making a possibility for injury less likely. Moreover, it can help you be less stiff at the start of a run so you feel more comfortable. I have also found that warming up gets me into the workout mood so I'm ready to tackle the run with a fierce expression. Cooling down is also very important. Simply taking a 5 minute walk after your run slows your body down so there's no sudden you're running one second and then you're standing still. This helps prevent shin splints which are a bitch to get rid of.
- Don't run the entire run on an incline
This was partly the cause for my two calf strains in a 1 year period. There is a debate about whether we need incline, some say that running on a 0% incline becomes more stressful on the knees and can cause severe injury whereas other's argue that running on incline puts stress on your calf muscles. I choose to, again, play it safe and meet the two arguments half way. When running on my treadmill, I switch my inclines up and down every 2-5 minutes. I never go past 2% because I have never had a desire to do so, but you knock yourself out. However, take note that you should never run on an incline more than 7% for more than 5 minutes, that's just silly.
- Running shoes
This was also the problem that caused my calf strains. I had the same pair of running trainers for the past 2 years, and they weren't even new then. I never gave my foot apparel too much thought as I didn't think it needed it, but several painful recovery times later, I realise that you should change up your trainers at least once a year, or every 400-500 miles you run. This is to provide support to your foot so that all the force that is taken on your leg when running doesn't mess it up, old shoes just lose their pizazz, once you buy a new pair of trainers, you will feel a very noticable difference.
- Listen to your body
I'm all about pushing my body to its full potential but I have learned to recognise when my body is asking me to stop running. Don't try to be tough and push pass the pain that's in your leg because I can guarantee it will not get worse before it gets better, it'll just get worse before it gets super worse. The more you run, you'll learn to recognise the soreness vs the pain, but if you're unsure, I say better safe than sorry. Try to run again the next day, if the pain is gone, false alarm, if not, then you better find out what's the issue and deal with it!
- Have fun
*Caution, please refrain from skipping when running on a treadmill, it could result in an injury.
*Image from about.com
Thanks for reading!