Skip to content HOLIDAY HOURS

Treadmill Running

treadmill running“I ran on the treadmill all winter, I don’t know why….”  This is a comment I hear on a regular basis.  The warm weather returns and people start running outside again after running inside on a treadmill while watching the Oprah network all winter.  Yet, despite all this training they have somehow developed low back pain, shin splints or knee pain, or are just plain tired and exhausted despite running less distance outside than they have inside.

The most simple and easy answer I can tell people is -when running on a treadmill the ground is moving beneath your feet.  This means that all you have to do is lift your leg and then put it down again and the ground pulls it behind you.  You do not have to propel yourself forward, you just have to maintain position.  This obviously does not happen when running outside (although it might be nice).  When running outside you have to propel yourself forward by using your posterior chain muscles (think calf, hamstring and bum muscles).   If your body is not used to having to push yourself forward all winter these muscles can be under trained, and actually learn bad habits of being lazy during running.  Now when you run outside these muscles fatigue, don’t fire properly and in general create bio-mechanical problems which can eventually pain.

So when venturing outside in the nicer weather it may be prudent to gradually work up to it at a slower pace.  Just because you can run 10km on the treadmill does not mean your muscles are ready to run 10km outside yet.

Strengthen that posterior chain!  Hip strengthening exercises are crucial for runners and preventing pain.  This falls in the core strength category.  Think about trying to fire a cannon out of a canoe.  You can’t create power and push off with a weak core.

A lot of people will try to say that putting the treadmill on a 2% incline will help to offset this problem.  However, this does not change the fact that the ground continues to move beneath you – now it just moves beneath you on an incline.

Happy spring running!

Add Your Comment (Get a Gravatar)

Your Name


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *.