- Listen to some tunes- This is your chance to safely listen to music while running. It isn't recommended that you listen to music while road running/racing for obvious reasons (like getting killed when you can't hear a car). However, the treadmill is not only a safe place to listen, but also it's a great way to distract yourself from the monotony of pounding on the machine for a whole workout.
- Turn up the incline a bit, like 2-3%- Running on the treadmill is generally easier than on the road where you need to propel yourself forward. To even the score while running on the treadmill, kick up the incline a bit. It will put a little effort into the run.
- Do not hold onto the handles, console, etc.- For me this seems obvious, but I know a few people that do this one that I had to correct. First, if you do this, you are changing up your form. Second if you need to do this for safety, you should slow it down, it would be safer and more efficient.
- The treadmill is the perfect place for short, quick strides and working on your stride count.- Turnover, or strides per minute is a huge deal for runners. Elite runners are generally about 180 per minute. The treadmill gives you the uniformity to check your stride rate and to work on quickly turning over those short steps for a faster rate. The easiest way to count is to count only one foot landing each time for a minute and double it.
- Often overlooked by treadmill runners, Look Forward, not Down!- Next time you go by the row of treadmills at the gym, stand there for a minute and watch how many people and how many times the heads look down. Immediately, the form of the runner changes. Try to look forward, visualize your run and looking to street signs ahead, intersections, etc. An alternative to listening to music, if you have a TV mounted in front of your treadmill, this can be a big help.
- Change it up!- For God sake, do not just get on the treadmill and jog every time you get on there. You will grow to hate that thing pretty quickly. Some treadmills have programs, or specific routes you can run. If not, make your own by visualizing a race you know or a favorite route you always do outside. You can also use the treadmill for Fartlek runs, hill repeats, or intervals really easily, since the incline and time are so easily at your disposal.
These are the best tips I came up with. There are more, but I thought these would keep you sane enough to get you to use the treadmill and I don't mean as a clothing rack. Good luck and again, feel free to drop me a note if you have anything to add!