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Treadmill running tips from Angela Naeth

The biggest benefit of a treadmill is that you have full control over it. This helps you work on pacing and your running technique.

Oh no, the dreaded treadmill, also known as the dreadmill. After years of back and forth, I have finally learned to love running on the treadmill. Even when the weather is perfectly fine for a run outside, I jump on the treadmill to work on specificity and pacing.

Why the treadmill?

A treadmill offers a controlled environment to take your running technique to the next level. It helps you set a pace and work on your cadence. Running on a treadmill also gives you an opportunity to figure out if you’re over-striding, which can increase the risk of overuse injuries.

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When I’m on the treadmill, I like to focus on foot cadence. I try to aim for 180 steps per minute (90 steps per minute per leg).

To test your cadence, count the number of steps you take on one leg for 30-seconds. This number should be roughly around 43-45 steps, which equates to roughly 90 steps per minute per leg.

Pacing on a treadmill is very easy. With a push of a button, you can set your desired pace and train at different race speeds. For example, you can run at a sprint triathlon pace (3:45/km) or a half Ironman pace (4:30/km). Because a treadmill is so easy to use, you can also incorporate interval training by mixing paces.

Tip: Always start at a low pace and progress. The key is to use it as a tool for increasing pace over time. The controlled environment allows you to listen to your body and monitor your effort.

How to do it? 

The biggest benefit of a treadmill is that you have full control over it.

Use the manual button on the treadmill set your pace and intervals. The incline can also be changed to your needs. I like to keep it at 0 per cent at the start and avoid any significant changes in the gradient to protect my Achilles. Tip: If you have any Achilles issues you may want to avoid inclines on the treadmill.

Some studies suggest that increasing your incline to 1-2 per cent when running at paces over 8mph is helpful to simulate running outside, but I don’t implement that. Talk to your coach and see what works best for you.

Angela Naeth on the run at the Ironman World Championship 2018. Photo: Reb Bull Content Pool

Don’t hold onto the handrails or console – this will compromise your natural biomechanics and doesn’t help you improve your running. You may be able to go at a faster pace – but it’s a false ability.

Finally, I love to listen to music while running on the treadmill. It helps with motivation and improves my running rhythm. But listen to whatever you want – podcasts or tunes, you may even choose to listen to nothing.

After a few solid runs on a treadmill, you might incorporate it into your training this season.