Treadmill Running

I will admit it; I have a special relationship with my treadmill. It is my favorite piece of equipment and I sometimes feel like it just waiting for me to hop on! Running on the treadmill can actually be pretty scientific and (even I will admit) sometimes boring. Maybe these tips will help you maximize your treadmill work out as well as help combat treadmill boredom! 


You all know who I am talking about. The slammer is the person that is running next to you on the treadmill so loudly that you can hear their footsteps pounding away above your IPOD. I know a few slammers and I always think that they must have some serious joint pain at the end of the day. Treadmills, in general, offer better shock absorption than concrete or asphalt. However, when running on a treadmill, still try to be as light on your feet as possible. You shouldn’t hear your feet striking the belt. Pay attention to your stride. You want to keep your stride quick and short. This will help to minimize the impact of shock throughout the legs and knees. The more steps you take per minute, the more efficiently you will run. Take shorter, quicker strides keeping your feet close to the belt. This will help you increase your stride count. All of these things will improve your running efficiency and put less stress on your joints. 


Running on the treadmill is the perfect time to work on your form so that it will be easier to run outside on uneven terrain. First, don’t lean forward when running on a treadmill. Stay upright because the belt is already pulling your feet backwards. Next, pump those arms. Focus on keeping your arms at a 90 angle with your finger loose. Swing the arms back and forth just above your hip bone keeping your shoulder relaxed. Remember your legs will naturally follow your arms. When you get tired just focus on moving those arms and your legs will, by default, follow. 


Set the treadmill on a 1 to 3% incline when running. This will better simulate the terrain you will encounter when running outside. You can also use the incline to simulate hill interval running. Simply set the incline up and run for a set amount of time or distance. Lower the incline to simulate a flat terrain and repeat. Experiment and have fun with it. This will also help combat the monotony of running at one set pace and level. 


Instead of running at a constant pace, mix it up! It can be as simple as: A 3 minute warm up followed by 4 sets of five-minute intervals (2 ½ minutes of hard running and 2 ½ minutes of easy running), followed by a 10 minute cool down. Spice it up and really push yourself! 


Use this time to zone out! You don’t have to pay close attention to your surroundings like you do outside. This is the perfect opportunity to think about your day, make plans, and think about things that have been on your mind. I have some of my best “Kelly Time” on the treadmill. I can get so much accomplished in my head! 


Put that IPOD to good use! Download the songs that motivate you and will keep you going. The best part is no one has to know what you are listening to. So go ahead and download that “teeny bopper” song and start jammin! 

I am not going to promise that these tips will make you and your treadmill BFF’s but it should help make those treadmill days more enjoyable and maybe (gasp) even a little fun! 

Me (on the right) and my friend Debra running last Halloween in our sassy running skirts! We had on t-shirts that said "Good Witch" and "Bad Witch". (I was the bad witch)


See? Bad Witch!


Do you like the treadmill?


62 Responses

  1. I can’t stand the slammers. Those and the people who hold on to the hand bar. That’s not the same as regular running!
    I never touch the incline, because I’m a baby and get upset that you can’t go downhill, haha

  2. I’m giving this to my husband. He’s a slammer and has horrible form. Not that I run, but even I can spot poor form. Thanks!

  3. I found that running at 2-2.5% prevents my plantar fasciitis from flaring up as well. I still am not a fan of the treadmill. I can do HIIT/Interval workouts on it, but that’s about it. Of course, it would be different if I had one at home and I could watch whatever I wanted on tv. That does make a huge difference actually.

  4. i loved running on the treadmill when i belonged to a gym…but when i started running as hard and fast as i could i started slamming and i think that’s where my knee issues began…BLAH

    • You definitely have to be aware of the slamming thing. The good thing is that you can hear it more on a treadmill than when you are outside. So once you master it on the treadmill (being light and quick on the feet) it is easy to translate when on harder (less pliable) surfaces like pavement.

  5. Thanks for the great tips! I will pay more attention next time I am on the treadmill!

  6. I used to be a treadmill runner until I started running outside. Now i can’t go back. I’m an outside girl all the way!

  7. me loves the treadmill for speedwork and tempo runs but for long runs id rather shoot myself in the foot than step on it 🙂

  8. We have a few treadmill -slammers at our gym…and some people who go absolutely wild on the treadmill, as in – too fast for their own two feet. It’s insane.

    I love the treadmill, and only recently gotten out of my comfort zone and started going outside to run! hahaha… I actually preferred the treadmill! 🙂

  9. Oh my God too funny – slammers! I love that pic of the running skirts…too freaking cute! I’m sure the guys at the gym loved that one haha.
    I thought of you the other day when I had Mahi Mahi …but then I remembered that you usually eat the ahi ahi tuna…I think…but anyways! mahi mahi rocks! …i was actually a bit salty…but maybe that’s why i liked it so much…could’ve been the load of ketchup on top too of course 🙂

    • I love Mahi Mahi too…when it comes to fish I rarely discriminate! And hell yes to ketchup…that is my number one favorite condiment!!!

  10. I hate the treadmill!! I only run outside, but I know everyone’s preferences are different and treadmills definitely offer some benefits that outside running does not. I admire you for being able to stick with the treadmill!! 🙂

  11. I love the treadmill for all the reasons you mentioned. No slammer here! I know the ones you speak of.

    You 2 look so cute in them skirts! At first I thought…oh no, she tries to be cute at the gym 😉 Then I remembered you’re more like me and love the feel of sweat on your body all day long LOL!

  12. Great tips! I used to really dread the treadmill because I love to run outside so much. But, now I have come to like it sometimes. My knees always feel so much better after taking a few days off of running on the pavement!

  13. I see treadmills as a necessary evil. However, I need to love them soon because when I get the all clear from my foot doc, I have to stick to the treadmill for a bit before I can hit the streets again.

    Cute pics!

  14. I really enjoyed reading this tips. I actually prefer to run on a treadmill instead of running outside. The treadmill is where I started running at so it was hard for me to adjust to outside running. My sister thinks I am crazy and she says running outside is way easier. I guess we just differ on that subject!

  15. Lol– I love ya’ll’s shirts! My husband was a total slammer until I pointed it out to him. 🙂 Now he’s much better!

  16. Good advice! My relationship with the treadmill is pretty rocky, but I’m trying to make friends with it. For some reason, I can’t get in “the zone” on the treadmill…I just keep staring at the clock. Interval workouts are definitely my favorite on the treadmill, though!

  17. I love all these tips! I definitely have “slammers” at my gym…I’m always worried they’re going to break the stupid thing! haha And I agree with Evan above…you shouldn’t hold onto the handrail while you’re running. It’s not the same.

    Anyway, I think these are all great points (especially using the treadmill as a time to focus on your form and to zone out). The treadmill can be a really great tool that actually HELPS your running…you just have to have the right attitude about it. 🙂

  18. I do like the treadmill – we have ones that are all springy and easier on your joints. Plus you can keep up a steady pace and I can read while I’m on it.

  19. I definitely thought the slamming was normal since EVERYONE who runs on the treadmill at the gym does it. XD I’ll be sure to keep that in mind though, thanks. 🙂

    I don’t particularly like the treadmill, but I have a pinched nerve in my foot that gets aggravated by pressure to the foot, so when I’m on the treadmill I usually put it to a reeeally high incline and then walk up it at like, 3.5ish miles an hour for 20-30 minutes. Not the same as running but it’s still hard. At least for me. 😛
    I remember seeing a woman running quite fast on the treadmill at an incline so high that if she’d put it a just a little higher she would have been running at a 90 degree angle. She stayed like that for 45 minutes. It was both impressive and scary.

  20. I really have a hard time staying focused on the treadmill. It seems like I constantly worry about when it will be over. I’m working on my relationship with it though! 😉

  21. Great tips! I love the zen with it one! And your pictures were super cute!! Way to rock the good witch bad witch outfits at the gym – I love it! 🙂

  22. Great tips!

    I hate the treadmill though 😦

  23. I rarely use a treadmill because I dont go to a gym. If Im in a hotel I use the treadmill though, and the last time I actually enjoyed it. I NEVER have before. I credit the ipod!

  24. I hate treadmills, but I love that photo of you guys in your sassy skirts! 😉

  25. Good suggestions! I like the treadmill, especially because I live in the northeast and I would never run in the winter if it weren’t for the treadmill. We are moving soon and I want to buy one of my own…. Do you have your own treadmill? I’m looking for brand recommendations…..

    • I do have my own. Living in Texas it is kind of the same as living in the NE…for you it is too cold and for me it is too hot. 🙂 I have a Landice 7.0…it is an AWESOME treadmill!

  26. I have to say the outfits are too cute!!!! My relationship with the treadmill varies. I have phases where I’m constantly going for that machine… but now is not one of them! especially since I lost my I-pod!!!! But great article. I’m working on being lighter in my steps so that was very helpful!

  27. i’ll bet any guys that were behind you in that gym were enjoying the view of you two 😉

  28. Thanks for the reminders. I used to despise running on the dreadmill – yet not walking – but I have found a new liking for it in the past couple months. It’s superb for intervals!

  29. I would say I love the treadmill, but I can deal with it better than most. And, I LOVE the Halloween outfits. Seeing the just made me want to eat chocolate. I have issues 😉

  30. I love the threadmill…….I also love doing intervals. I am always afraid to run outside, I live in the country and cars drive way too fast past you, too many wild animals and wooded areas so most of my running is on the threadmill 🙂 Cute skirts 😉

  31. Ahh!
    I HATE the DREADmill!! Everything seems like it takes longer! I may have to get on one though, I’ve never suffered from allergies until now, and I think indoors will save my lungs…

    … but I’ve been sucking up the Pollen (literally) because the treadmill causes so much mental pain it’s not worth it!

    But I have so much respect for treadmill runners… I don’t know how you do it!

  32. I love the treadmill. I love the reliability of it, but I also love running outside. I think I have a nice balance of both!

  33. I like the tredmill, but I ADORE your running skirt!! How cute is that?! And girl you have amazing legs!

  34. I love the treadmill! Thanks for these tips!

    Dana ❤

  35. LOVE the outfits! 🙂
    GAH! I’m afraid I might be a slammer…even though I HATE listening to others. I’m not really a runner but have been doing HIIT and when I’m going SUPER fast for 30 second, the last few get a little loud as I get tired! I’ll work on it! lol

  36. LOVE the outfits! 🙂
    GAH! I’m afraid I might be a slammer…even though I HATE listening to others. I’m not really a runner but have been doing HIIT and when I’m going SUPER fast for 30 second, the last few get a little loud as I get tired! I’ll work on it! lol

  37. I freaking love the treadmill. I used to hate it, then I hated running outside…I go back and forth. Now I just like them both! Omg, when I first got new running shoes, I was a slammer and I was soooo annoyed with myself because I know what you mean! Those people annoy me, I feel like they are being lazy or something – its like pick up your damn feet. But these new shoes, I couldn’t help it!! Once I got used to them though, I’m back to dancing like a fairy. Haha.

  38. Since living in the land of five thousand degrees in the summer time, I have become besties with the treadmill! Changing up the speed and incline is definitely the key! Also, having control of all of the tvs in the gym doesn’t hurt either…

  39. I was strictly an outdoor runner up until this year. I am trying to do more interval/heart rate zone training and finding it easier to do so on the treadmill. I am trying to love the treadmill, but it gets so darn BORING! Thanks for posting the suggestions!

  40. OH – and I LOVE the bad witch + running skirt! You’re rockin’ it!


  41. Haha super cute t-shirts. I’m actually ok with running on the treadmill I don’t mind it at all.

  42. I try desperately to love the treadmill. We have a love/hate relationship…I get bored too easily, and I’m never satisfied with the music I’m listening to. By mile 1 I’m usually ready to give up. BUT I need to work on my form, so I’ll start with that!

  43. Great stuff – but I still fear that I’ll HATE the treadmill next time I am forced to use it (hopefully not until WINTER returns to Boston!). How do you get past the first couple of miles that always feel like sheer boredom and torture?? That’s my biggest struggle. I LOVE to run but the treadmill can feel like a total dreadmill sometimes!

    • I agree that the first 15 minutes on a treadmill are the hardest. I just tell myself that once I get past the 15 minute mark then I will be fine. I also load my IPOD with some serious jams for the first 2.5 miles to make sure I stay motivated! That seems to help. And once I get past the first 15 minutes it is literally like a switch flips and it is smooth sailing from there out.

  44. I don’t mind the treadmill for shorter runs. I never use my iPod outdoors for safety purposes, so it is a nice change of pace for me to hop on a treadmill and rock out to my music. And like you said, it’s great for interval workouts.

  45. Great post with lots of helpful info!! Thanks, Kelly! I paid close attention while I running this morning. 🙂

  46. I absolutely love my treadmill. I know most people hate them, but I do a lot of my running before the sun comes up so it is a lot safer than running outside. Also comes in handy on those mornings when I’ve had too much coffee and need a bathroom half way through my run 🙂

  47. Howdy! Just found your blog on the Coffee Run! It’s funny, I just posted about how I hate being on the treadmill.

    Although I HATE running on treadmills, they are great for getting your heart rate in the fat burning zone or for practicing Triathlon Bike / Run transitions

    Also, Sue has a good point of being able to hop on the treadmill before going to work to kinda kick start the day…I like that feeling too, but as for general running, I love being outside.

    Anywho check you laterz!

  48. It is a very important to make sure that the belt of the treadmill is in good condition as this can have a very big effect on the operation of the exercise machine and it could affect your workout performance.

  49. This page was linked onto my running blog entry today. Great tips, thanks for the insight! 🙂

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