Most treadmill accidents are caused by “user error” and are generally avoidable. But apart from mistakes that result in physical injury there are quite a few that can lead to your running workout being less effective than you’d want.
To get the most out of your workout, avoid these common treadmill mistakes.
1. Over relying on the handrails
If you’re worried about falling, you might be running at too fast a pace. Running while holding on to the handrails has a massively negative impact on your running posture and form.
It forces you into a hunched position, leading to poor running form, which in turn make running uncomfortable and even worse may lead to neck, shoulder, and back pain.
How to fix: For proper running form, let go of the handrails and “run tall”, look ahead and keep your shoulders level.
Read on: How to run with proper form
2. Setting the incline too steep
It may look like you are working really hard and stomping up Mount Everest, but holding on to the handrails for dear life negates the benefit of going uphill.
By holding onto the handrails you’re making your workout easier as you’re reducing your load.
How to fix: If you’re struggling to run/ walk without holding on, you’re probably running/ walking at too high an incline. Lower the incline and let go of the handrail for a more effective workout
3. Stepping off the treadmill while the belt is still moving
This is a common cause of treadmill injuries. Reduce the pace and incline, and wait until the belt has stopped moving. Seriously, how much time do you think you’re really saving?
If you are doing interval training stepping on and off quickly may be unavoidable as some treadmills are slow to decelerate and speed back up.
However, if you do decide to jump on and off do so very carefully and consider using an alternative exercise machine such as a rower or bike for your interval training.
4. Training on the treadmill to run outdoors
Due to the even “terrain” and because the belt pulls your feet under you, your muscles work differently when you run on a treadmill compared to running outdoors. Also the lack of wind resistance makes running on the treadmill a little easier.
This means that even though you can get very fit for treadmill running, this doesn’t necessarily translate to improved running performance outdoors.
How to fix: If you want to be able to run outdoor with relative ease, run on an incline and include hill running sessions on the treadmill a couple of times a week.
If you can, mix in some outdoor running sessions with your treadmill runs.
5. Talking and running on the treadmill
If you turn to talk to your neighbor, make sure you don’t inadvertently travel over to the side of the belt and off the edge. Nobody looks cool falling off a treadmill – plus you might get injured.