Tips for Running on a Treadmill

Tips for Running on a Treadmill

The new year is a perfect time to start running or make it a regular habit. One tough part about running in January, though, is getting outside in winter weather. Don’t feel discouraged—there are plenty of ways to stay motivated and dress for the cold—but another option is running inside on a treadmill.

If you are new to running (or just inexperienced with indoor running) the treadmill can seem intimidating. But it doesn’t have to be! Here are some tips for how to not just run on a treadmill—but also enjoy it.


Dress for success! It can get warm running on a treadmill, so shorts and a T-shirt (or sports bra) are often the best choice.

Temperature control. Consider setting up a fan near you to help keep you cool.

Hydrate appropriately. Grab a Gatorade or Poland Spring water to keep with you on the treadmill.

Set the incline to a 0.5-1% gradient. You won’t even notice this minor incline and studies have shown it helps you approximate your outside running form.


Plan your entertainment. Some options include listening to music, playing a podcast, or watching a show.

Start slowly. If this is your first time on the tread, start at a walking pace and gradually increase the speed to a light jog. It might take your body a few minutes to adapt to running on a belt so stay safe by taking it easy until you feel comfortable.

Fartlek for fun. Fartlek is the Swedish word for speed play. Mix up your run by occasionally picking up the pace and then backing off. Mixing it up can keep both your legs and mind feeling fresh.

Play with incline. As you gain confidence with using the tread, adjust the gradient to add in some hill work.

Finishing Your Run

Slow the belt. Once you are done with your run, gradually drop the speed of your tread down to a walk, then gradually to a stop. This will provide a cool-down, which is the best and safest way to bring your body to a stop.

Stay safe. Most treadmills include a red safety belt. Clip that onto your shirt while running. Be careful not to accidentally knock the safety clip off. Doing so slows down the tread to a stop; to get back moving, you will need to reclip.

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