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How to Run on a Treadmill

4 Common Mistakes You're Making on the Treadmill and How to Fix Them

Photographer: Kat Borchart

Whether you're a novice runner or an expert, it's important to always practice proper technique while running to prevent injuries — especially when working on a treadmill, since the repetitious nature of the machine can make bad habits stick. The following tips are simple to implement and will help you become a better, more efficient runner.

You're Running Too Close to the Front

It takes time to acclimate to running on a treadmill, but running too close to the front will jeopardize your form.

The fix: Lower the speed and focus on running in the middle and center of the belt.

You Don't Use Your Arms Efficiently

As a trainer, I often see people completely forgetting to use their arms or swinging their arms far across the front of their body.

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The fix: Focus on swinging the arms forward and backward. This will help to counterbalance the movement of your legs, stabilize your body, and conserve energy. If you're doing a sprint workout, swing your arms straight back with about a 90-degree-angle bend at your elbows and forward up to eye level. This will help you generate and maintain speed. For longer distances, swing your arm back to your hip and then forward, bringing the arm up to your chest — the movement will not be as vigorous as when sprinting.

Your Stride Is Too Short

Stride length will vary person to person, but there is a tendency to take shorter steps when running on the treadmill.

The fix: When doing a speed workout, you want your stride to be a little shorter because the key to running faster is a quick turnover of your feet. A ninety-degree angle in the knee joint and striking the foot down directly underneath your body, instead of far out in front, is ideal. For longer, slower runs, try to find a neutral stride that isn't too long or short. You want to be covering the ground, but it shouldn't feel like you are floating in the air or taking hundreds of little steps.

You Never Switch It Up

You know the saying: "doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is insanity." Well, doing the same workout over and over again will eventually lead to a plateau.

The fix: Change up the intensity and incorporate an incline. The next time you hop on the treadmill, try one of these interval workouts that will leave you sore for days!

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