Friday, May 13, 2011

Should You Incline The Treadmill?

I often hear people say they incline their treadmill at least 1% if not more when running indoors. Does this sound like you? They quote that the reason they do this is because if the treadmill is not inclined then it is not like running outside. In my opinion this is one of those 'running myths' that continues to get perpetuated for no good reason.

Running on a treadmill is NOT like running outside in any way shape or form, so it is my firm belief that in order to avoid injuries you should not treat it as thus or try to make it like running outside. This is why you will see me distinguish between tempo runs outside and treadmill tempos, a timed mile on a track and a treadmill mile, and so on and so forth.

I don't hate on the treadmill. Why? Because with out my treadmill this mom of three would have never have been able to train for and run numerous races, including marathons. My treadmill, though not as fun as running outside, is one of the most important tools in my training routine. On most days it is either the treadmill or no run at all. This makes it very important for me to make sure I avoid any injuries typically associated with treadmill overuse.

In my opinion you should not incline the treadmill and keep it at a level zero percent grade. If you want to make the workout harder then I would attempt a faster pace than you typically run outside. Running with your treadmill on an incline, even a small one, is associated with overuse injuries. Typically I hear people complain about pain in their Achilles, this is from overstretching on every stride.

Well if I do not incline my treadmill then I will not be able to run fast outside, correct? No, not true. It will feel different to run outside, but this does not mean you will automatically be slower. Since getting my treadmill I have recorded my 4 fastest marathons to date. Running distances up to 20 miles on it during each training cycle. Do I think it is as effective as running outside, no, but it can get you into great shape if you treat each run on it as a treadmill run and do not attempt to make it like a run you would do outdoors.

What are your thoughts? Do you incline the treadmill?

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runningfor3 said...

I've read that a slight incline (1%) is better for your back. I have also read a great chart that correlated what outside pace was equivalent to a given treadmill pace and incline. Could have been hogwash.

I find training for speed most effective on the treadmill - think interval sprints. Biggest problem with long runs on treadmill - besides mind-numbing boredom - is that you don't learn to regulate your own pace.

But you do what you have to do.

Deme said...

I think it depends on your needs. I normally decline 5%-10% of my treadmill