Running helps improve your cardiovascular fitness, build bone density and manage your weight. You don't need a lot of gear or skill to run, making it convenient for most people. Despite its accessibility, you should proceed gradually from walking to running to prevent injury and build up your stamina. Although running on a treadmill and running outdoors use the same muscles, a treadmill may be easier on the joints. It is also convenient and ensures you don't get too far away from home, making your workout longer than you intended. Before beginning a running program, make sure you get clearance from your physician - especially if you have heart or joint conditions.
Learn About Your Treadmill
Acquaint yourself with the primary controls on your treadmill. Locate the start button, which makes the belt move. Determine whether your treadmill has a "quick start" button as well as various program buttons which will give you a pre-programmed workout. Choose "quick start" or "manual" as a beginner.
Find the stop/pause button, which will slow and eventually halt the movement of the belt. Determine whether your treadmill model has an emergency stop button as well. This button will halt the treadmill suddenly, which can be dangerous if you are in the middle of a speedy workout, but can be a life saver if you are in distress.
Locate the speed button which increases the rate at which the treadmill belt moves. Use this button to control your pace walking and running. Identify the incline button which raises or lowers the height of the treadmill platform. Keep the treadmill at an incline of 0 or 1 percent when starting a running program.
Notice if your treadmill has a safety key, which is a key or a card which must be inserted into a slot for the treadmill to operate. Remove this key after a treadmill session if you have small children or another reason to prevent the treadmill from being used without your supervision.
Familiarize yourself with mounting and dismounting the treadmill. Position one foot on each side of the frame on either side of the belt. Press start and allow the treadmill begin moving at 0.5 to 1 miles per hour. Step on with a normal stride, holding onto the handrails. Increase the speed to a comfortable walking pace. Dismount by slowing the treadmill belt down to 0.5 to 1 miles per hour and step back onto the side rails. Stop the machine entirely and step off.
Become comfortable walking for at least 30 to 45 minutes straight before beginning your run training. Start with 10 to 15 minute increments if you are brand new to exercise or coming back after a long break.
Add short running intervals after one to four weeks of walking three to five times per week for 30 minutes or longer. Warm up with a light walk for five or 10 minutes and then run for 30 seconds. Walk for five minutes and then run again for 30 seconds. Repeat until you have completed a full 30 minutes. Cool down at an easy pace for five minutes. Do this workout at least three times on nonconsecutive days during your first week of running.
Increase the length of time you run and shorten the periods of walking over the next several weeks. Avoid progressing too much too fast as this can lead to burn out or injury. Add about 30 seconds to each running interval and subtract about the same amount from each walking interval until you are running steadily for 10 to 15 minutes. Focus on safety and perceived exertion rather than speed or distance. Run at a pace that feels good, not at one you think you should master.
Continue to increase the length of your runs until you are able to go 30 minutes or longer, depending on your goals. Run two to six times per week, always leaving at least one day for rest.
- Before starting a treadmill running program, head to a local running store and have a gait analysis done - most offer these for free. The store staff can then recommend shoes that will work best with your individual stride and help prevent injuries such as shin splints and runner's knee.
- Once you have mastered treadmill running, consider taking your run outdoors. You may have to reintroduce some walking intervals as the introduction of hills, varying terrain and wind resistance can make the effort harder.
- Consider signing up for a race to give you a goal for which to aim. Local fun runs and 5Ks are a perfect place for beginners to start.