Here Are The Top 3 Treadmill Running Tips You Might Be Missing

In many places across the world, running year round means running on a treadmill for part of the year. It’s a great way to keep your running performance at peak levels year round, and to get some exercise even when it’s raining cats and dogs and the ground seems to be made of slush.

​Treadmill running doesn’t always come as naturally as running outside, though, so it’s important to work on a proper technique to avoid injuries and get the most out of your treadmill sessions.

​In this helpful video from Everyman Triathlon, we learn exactly what to do and what not to do from Joanna Zeiger (a former Olympian) and her training partner. These treadmill running tips will help keep you in top-shape without injuries all year long!

Tip #1: Avoid Heel Striking

When landing on your heels, make sure your feet are under your body – not all the way in front of you. Landing with your heels in front of you is poor form that makes your whole body tense and actually makes it hard to keep pace with the treadmill, since you’re pushing your body backwards.

Heel striking has quite a few cons:​

  • Puts you at risk of injury
  • Makes your run more difficult and less efficient
  • Causes the rest of your body to tense up

Instead, keep your feet RIGHT under your hips for each stride. Don’t lean back, and don’t stick your feet all the way in front of you with each stride. Keep your posture tall and relaxed, and simply keep your feet underneath you if you notice them going forward!

Not sure if you’re heel striking too much?

One way you can tell is by how loud your use of the treadmill is. If you hear a BOOM BOOM BOOM when running, you might be heel striking. Practice modifying your stride so that your foot will meet the surface of the treadmill when it’s underneath you instead of in front of you, and you’ll be on your way to a more efficient and safer form.

Tip #2: Keep Your Cadence at 90 or Above

As surprising as it may be, running at slower speeds on a treadmill is not always easier. It can actually make your running session feel more laborious. According to Joanna and Brandon, keeping a cadence of 90 or higher will actually make your run a bit easier and wear you out less. If your cadence is in the 70s or 80s, you should speed up!

How can you measure your cadence?

In a 15 second interval (watch the time on your treadmill monitor), count how many times your right foot hits the treadmill. Multiply that by four, and that’s your cadence by minute.

Having a cadence of 90+ is more efficient and puts less of a strain on your lower body. Your feet will land underneath you more easily, your stride will be shorter, and you will experience less impact on your body overall.

Tip #3: Practice Good Upper Body Posture

Like we mentioned in our guide covering breathing tips for runners, keeping a straight, slouch-free body poster is as important as ever.

Slouching forward can take away some of your lung capacity, making it even harder to breathe properly, which is the last thing you need when you’re tired enough to slouch!

Slouching also has another negative side effect – it encourages the poor form of overstriking that we covered in tip #1.

Stand up straight with a tall chest and shoulders back, and you’ll be able to breathe better, align your feet better, and keep that higher cadence. Try to avoid leaning forward or scrunching your shoulders together.

Keeping these 3 treadmill running tips in mind, you’ll be able to maintain a proper running form that will keep you going year round, no matter what surface you’re using. These tips are also helpful outdoors, but something about running on a treadmill can make it easier to get pulled into these bad form habits since it just feels a bit less natural.

Are these tips simple? Yes. But they’re also essential.

Use this guide to get in your winter running groove and let us know how it worked for you!