Treadmill Training for RunnersThere are many reasons to run or walk on a treadmill. It may be a way to get a workout in when the weather particularly awful, or bad knees may not be able to take a pounding, or the person exercising just likes to watch television while working out. However, working out on a treadmill is not the same as working out outside. This week I am going to talk about some common treadmill mistakes.

The fifth mistake: Not understanding how much easier treadmill training is.

Running at a 0° incline with no wind to work against means that the 7 minute pace the treadmill is telling you that you are running is not really equivalent to running at 7 minute pace around a track, for example.

Rick Morris talks about the “treadmill equivalent pace” in his book, Treadmill Training for Runners.

“More than likely you’re not going the speed it says you’re going,” he says. “Because the belt is moving, that’s doing part of the work for you; in addition, there’s no wind resistance.” Because of that, Morris recommends adding a one- or two-percent incline to your run to get a pace more like an outdoors pace.

For instance, a 10-minute mile on a treadmill is equivalent to a 10:43 mile of “free-range” or outdoor running. A 10-minute mile on the treadmill with a one-percent incline translates to a 10:13 free-range mile, and a 10-minute mile with a two-percent incline is a 9:46 mile.

Running without an incline on a treadmill is roughly equivalent to running on a slight downhill slope. To get into a more natural running stride, make it a habit to run at around a 1° incline. Also, decrease the speed when you are simulating a hill workout with a steeper incline; the treadmill doesn’t know that you have to work harder.