From being able to vary the intensity of sessions to enjoying all-weather running, treadmill running offers a wealth of benefits.
Whether you’re just starting your jogging journey or have a number of races and long-distance events under your belt, there’s a tool that is in every gym that could help to improve your running: the treadmill. While often overlooked for being ‘boring’, the humble hamster wheel can rival outdoor running for its overall impact on your cardiovascular health, and can even provide some benefits that road or trail running can’t match. So lace up, don your best running headphones, and get ready to feel the benefits treadmill running has to offer.
You can train as easy or as hard as you want
Unlike the outdoors, where terrain and gradient can turn a gentle jog into an uphill sweat fest, it’s possible to tailor the speed and incline of a treadmill to alter the intensity of your workout – and get incredibly specific with drills or intervals in the process.
If a training plan says to complete a 60-second hill rep, the adaptability of a treadmill means it doesn’t matter if you live in a pan-flat part of the country, while you can undertake all-out sprint efforts without having to worry about dodging other people or traffic. This specificity also makes it an ideal piece of kit for those returning from injury, with you less likely to push yourself too hard too early.
Easier on joints
Rather than pounding the hard pavement, when running on a treadmill, your feet are treated to a softer surface, with the belt absorbing some of the force with every foot stroke. This can help to minimise injuries to knees, ankles and hips, which tend to bear the brunt during an outdoor run.
What’s more, a 2014 study found that the design of a treadmill led users to shorten their stride and increase their overall stride rate, again lowering the impact on joints.
Improve running techniques like cadence
For experienced runners, the above might not sound like enough gains to warrant splashing the cash on a treadmill or investing in a gym membership. But what if we were to tell you that shortening your stride and increasing your stride rate (which a treadmill forces you to do) could make your overall technique more efficient?
Rather than overstriding and bounding, taking light, short steps will help you to hold the same pace for less effort, or even increase your speed and smash your 5K PB.
Able to train in all weathers
While this might seem like an obvious point, the indoor nature of a treadmill means you’re never going to have to battle with wet and windy conditions and the slip hazards that come with running in the rain.
It’s not just the downpours that you can dodge either, with a treadmill and a powerful fan providing a way to escape heat and humidity on summer’s hottest days, leaving you with one less excuse for skipping your workout if the UK’s unpredictable weather isn’t playing ball.