In this post, I want to share my experience in using the treadmill for training. In fact, it may not be what you are used to seeing on the internet since I am not completely healthy.
I am 55 years old, weigh about 100 kg, and am 1.8 meters tall. I use the treadmill mainly for walking up to 35-40 minutes and running for up to 5-7 minutes. This is what my condition permits – perhaps with time, I can incorporate more running into my routine.
So, for myself, I have developed three main styles of treadmill training.
1. Treadmill Before And After Low-Rep Strength Training
If you are looking to warm up before strength training, then here is how I do it.
1) First up, I do a light warmup on the treadmill. It’s 15 minutes in total and consists of 3 “segments”, all 5-minute:
- In the first segment, I set the slope of the treadmill from 15 to 20 degrees and the speed of the track to 3 miles per hour.
- In the second segment, I set the slope of the treadmill from 3 to 8 degrees and the speed of the track to 3.5 miles per hour.
- In the third segment, I set the treadmill flat and speed to 4 miles per hour.
Depending on the speed and how I feel, I may either run or do a fast walk on the treadmill. But I mostly walk due to my excessive weight.
2) After warming up, I lightly stretch my muscles to prepare them for strength training. I then perform my strength training routine, which I will not describe in this post.
3) After the strength training portion, I like to do another 15 minutes of a treadmill run or walk. This time, I keep the treadmill flat and set the speed to 3-3.5 miles per hour. Depending on how you feel, you may do a fast walk or run.
For me, an incline allows for a relatively quick warm-up of the muscles, which saves strength and time for subsequent strength training.
Keep in mind that when you increase the slope, you are additionally burdening your muscles, joints, and lungs. So when increasing the incline, reduce the speed accordingly.
Besides, if there is any discomfort or pain, you may decrease the incline of the treadmill. Instead, you could set the speed higher to increase the intensity of the workout.
No matter what you do, keep everything easy if you have muscle or joint pain. This especially applies to senior readers. And remember that you do not need to max out during cardio training – you’re just warming up.
Also, you may want to run on your toes – it’s generally considered that heel landing isn’t good for your joints. With that said, also know that it seems that toe running directs more force into the ankles and Achilles’ tendons, while heel running directs more force into the knees. If you have injuries in any of these areas, you may try to adjust your running form accordingly.
2. Treadmill Before High-Rep Strength Training
In this type of workout, I do 30 to 40 minutes on the treadmill. The speed goes from 3 to 4 miles per hour as I get warmed up. I usually use this routine before light strength training.
1) The first 10-15 minutes can be done with a slight incline of the track. I prefer to start at 8 degrees and gradually decrease it to 3 degrees. With a decrease in slope, you can increase the speed of the track, which I usually do.
2) During the next 10-15 minutes, I decrease the intensity to be able to restore my breath. Then, I run for 3-5 minutes at a speed of 4 miles per hour.
3) Finally, I slow down for comfortable walking and finish training in the last third part. This portion lasts about 10 minutes.
3. Treadmill Cardio
The third type of training involves only the use of a treadmill for about 35-40 minutes without strength training thereafter. Though in the end, you could do a pair of exercises for your abs and light muscle stretching.
I set the speed and track incline like in previous cardio types. However, I usually can afford to incorporate longer runs, maybe up to 10-15 minutes – since I don’t have to do strength training after the session, I can train on the treadmill a little bit harder.
Let me remind you that the numbers indicated in this post are chosen for my personal comfort during training. You may try to play around with the numbers in accordance with your own condition and fitness. But keep the duration of the treadmill workout fixed and pick an intensity for which you can train for the set amount of time.
There is plenty of equipment that you can use for warmup, but I like the treadmill. This is partly because treadmills have cushioned belts, so even when I am running, I don’t feel the impact as much as on a paved surface. Apart from that, the treadmill allows you to gradually train your endurance. Weight loss is also a thing that you could achieve, but I am still trying to figure it out for myself.
Remember to run on your toes, which seems to be the most comfortable and injury-free style of running for many people. For me personally, toe running is the safest technique.
If you are looking for treadmills for home use, then check out our roundup of the 5 best treadmills.