How Reading a Treadmill FAQ at Runner’s World Blew My Mind

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After my week off sick, I’m starting to go a little stir-crazy. Not only have I been unable to work and leave my house, I’ve been unable to run on my shiny, new treadmill because whatever the heck I’ve contracted made me so weak I can’t walk to the kitchen reliably–but hey, the tests for flu and mono came back negative, at least!

My cabin fever has made me kind of antsy to run, so I started flipping around on Flipboard and came across a great article at Runner’s World that breaks down some misinformation most people have about treadmills, especially on how easy/hard they are to run on versus being outside.

Q: Is treadmill running easier than running at the same speed outdoors?

Short answer: Yes.
Longer answer: Treadmill running may feel more taxing, but physiologically it’s actually a bit easier than running outdoors. In his book Treadmill Training for Runners, Rick Morris explains, “Running on the treadmill, you don’t have to overcome the effects of wind resistance and you also have that assistance of a moving belt doing part of the work for you.” To more closely simulate road running, set your treadmill’s incline at one or two percent.

The emphasis there at the end is mine, by the way. I highlighted it so you can experience the same revelation I did. Being fairly new to the running life, I haven’t toyed around much with treadmill inclines. When training for my 5K last year, I just focused on distance and pace, and relied on the trails in the park to get me used to running on uneven surfaces.

It worked, kind of.

But using the incline to match my outdoor gait never even crossed my mind. Now, I’m looking forward to getting better for two reasons: obviously feeling better, but also because I can’t wait try out this trick and see how it works.

Do you folks have any nifty tricks you picked up along the way that should be obvious, but aren’t?

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