NO MORE FLATLINING ON INDOOR RUNS. USE THESE TRICKS TO RE-ENERGISE YOUR STRIDES.
CREATE A SOLO CLASS
Channel the adrenalin of a group running class with a well-thoughtout playlist, says Harley Rodriguez, a trainer at Barry’s Bootcamp in New York City, which alternates treadmill segments with strength sets. Use music to time your intervals, choosing songs with uptempo choruses that get you pumped to pick up your pace with each refrain. “In your head, say: I’m doing a 30-second sprint in four, three, two, one – then give it your all,” Harley says. If you’re spurred by the competitive spirit of a group class, hop on a treadmill next to someone who looks like a strong runner. You can race them by setting your pace to something higher than theirs – and they’ll never need to know!
USE ALL THE BUTTONS
Take advantage of the machine’s speed and incline range, and you’ll boost your burn, strength, and interest. First, alternate sprinting (from 10 to 90 seconds each set) with jogging (sets can be equal to or shorter than your pushes) for 15 minutes. Then set the incline to 10 per cent and find a slightly uncomfortable pace. Drop the incline by 1 per cent every 30 seconds until you’re on a flat road. Go again and faster. Pushing your pace melts more fat and increases your cardio capacity, while climbs build your power – a mix that makes you leaner, faster, and stronger, says Rebecca Skudder, founder of Mystryde treadmill running studio in Boston.
GO IN WITH A STRATEGY
“Always step on a treadmill with a plan,” says David Siik, creator of Precision Running at Equinox in the US, and author of The Ultimate Treadmill Workout: Run Right, Hurt Less, and Burn More with Treadmill Interval Training. That plan can be as simple as saying you’ll go 0.3km/h faster each minute you run, or you can get really inventive with intervals, inclines, tempos, and even treadmill strength-training moves (find ideas for all these as you read on). When you have to concentrate on what’s next, your brain gets as much of a workout as your body does. “Executing your plan requires you to be alert and to make decisions,” David says. In other words, focusing on your workout’s moving parts busts the monotony of a steady slog.
DO A TREADMILL TONE-UP
The treadmill belt can supply resistance, and the machine itself can be used to target muscles differently, says Rebecca. Alternate between 4-minute sets of a fast run with 4 minutes of strength moves. Try this: Run, then stop the belt. Get into a plank with palms on the tread and feet on the floor. Do incline push-ups for 30 seconds (or level up by placing palms on the floor and feet on the belt for decline push-ups). Next, step onto the treadmill for 30 seconds of triceps dips: Facing away from the dash, grasp handles and straighten arms to lift body (bend legs behind you) to start; bend elbows 90 degrees behind you to lower body [shown below], then press up to start. The height allows for a greater range of motion, and because you’re dipping your entire weight, you have more resistance than when you’re doing dips on the floor or a bench. (Newbies, start with dips off the back of the tread.) Then get into plank, palms on the floor and feet on the belt, and hike the hips to pull the feet towards you (the belt will move with you) until your body forms an upside-down V. Do pikes for 30 seconds. Finally, set the treadmill at 0.8 to 1.6 km/h and do 30 seconds of walking lunges. Do the whole sequence three times.
SPICE UP YOUR COOL-DOWN
Instead of walking it out or just hopping off the treadmill as soon as your workout is over, use the machine for dynamic stretches like the kind track stars do, says Jake Schmitt, a cofounder of Thoroughbred Treadmill Studio in Mill Valley, California. With the treadmill set to 0.3km/h and a 1 per cent incline, do 1 minute each of walking toe touches (bring left leg straight out in front of you at hip height, foot flexed; grab your left toes with your left hand and pull them towards you; repeat on other side), walking knee hugs, and walking quad stretches (alternately bringing your heels towards your glutes, briefly grasping your ankle as you go). Bonus: These stretches mimic the way your body moves during a run, so they can help you develop better movement patterns and become a more efficient runner, Schmitt says.