Trying to improve your running form? Dust off that treadmill belt and dig into these tried-and-true treadmill tips to help you up your running game.
Editor’s note: This is a part of a weekly series featuring training, running and motivational tips from marathoner @trackclubbabe. Tune in every Tuesday for her newest tip.
I LOVE using the treadmill as a chance to really focus and work on my form. I’m not going to lie, when I first started to use the treadmill, especially for easy runs, I was lazy about it. I slumped my shoulders and took long, loping steps. I didn’t think easy miles counted for anything except time on your feet and checking off the mileage box for the day. Now I realize that we have so few hours in the day and if we only get an hour to train each day it’s important to make it count. Now EASY RUNS = FORM WORK time for me.
Here’s why I love the treadmill for form work:
Why Use the Treadmill for Form Work?
1. Less distractions. Running on the treadmill means no rocks in your path, stoplights or other pedestrians,which means you can focus on your form.
2. Go at your own pace. You can slow it down to an easy pace so it’s easy to just work on form.
3. You’re forced to alter your stride. If you’re like me and want to take the LONGEST loping steps of all time, you’re forced to cut your stride so you’re not hitting the front of the treadmill and overreaching.
How to Use the Treadmill to Improve Your Running Form
I used mental cues to help improve my form. I have a couple go-to’s that I think of during a run when I can feel my form breaking down. I practice holding good form on easy days so my body knows and has the strength to maintain good form during tough runs.
Here are my top three tips for using the treadmill to improve running form:
Shorten Your Stride
I focus on small steps. For tall people (I’m 5’9”), it feels SO weird. But that’s okay. You won’t be efficient or find real speed if you don’t improve your cadence. Practicing this on the treadmill is a great place to start.
Keep Your Shoulders Back and Lean Forward
Practicing GOOD posture and also the right lean to get you “falling forward” has helped me a lot. I focus on good posture so that my core stays engaged and holds me up. What you practice and enforce on easy days shows on race day.
Focus on Keeping Your Arms Relaxed
I focus on keeping my arms relaxed. Your legs are doing the majority of the work while your arms should be in sync but also along for the ride. I want them HELPING the cause, not flailing around or so high up that I’m missing out on the fulcrum swing.
Do you like running on the treadmill? Have you used it to improve your running performance? Comment and let me know!
Author Bio: @trackclubbabe, AKA Kimberly Clark Underwood, started running in 2012 to see if she could train for a marathon & fell in love with running. She went from hoping to run 10 minute miles in the marathon to aiming for a sub 3 marathon. She posts the highs & lows of training + everything that has helped her to improve on her IG.