I have been running for 5 weeks (only my 3rd week on Hal Higdon’s ½ Marathon Training Program). Leaving the gym this morning I was feeling pretty good about my level of commitments and my progress so far until my training partner burst my bubble by stating that we need to run outside more.
“What difference does that make?” I wondered.
She claimed that it was easier to run on a tread mill because it was a softer surface and your body doesn’t take as much of a pounding. Ugh!
After researching the topic, I’m still not backing her theory about the body taking less of a pounding on the tread mill, but I can say that there are some major differences between the two running conditions, differences that are causing me to be a little nervous about my upcoming 5k race on Saturday.
According to my research there are three primary differences,
- Lack of wind resistance
- The flat unchanging surface of the treadmill deck
- Effect of the moving belt on your running or walking stride
Lack of wind resistance
Overcoming this difference is simple; just elevate your treadmill to 1% or level 1. The slight incline will make a treadmill workout more equal to a free range run.
The flat unchanging surface of the treadmill deck
To overcome this you should do two things. First, when running on the treadmill, maintain a heightened awareness of the position of the belt, the position of your hips, the angle of your feet, and the amount of forward lean at all stages of your running stride. Second, practice proprioception at all times.
“Proprioception is important in all running activities, but even more so when running on the treadmill. Runners tend to allow the action of the belt and the lack of wind resistance to change their stride to a more upright, bouncy form with a shorter, less powerful stride. Being more aware of your running mechanics will make it easier to transfer your normal stride to the treadmill and visa versa.”
Rick Morris (Running Planet)
Effect of the moving belt on your running or walking stride
Your running form should not change when you are training on the treadmill. You can avoid this from happening by focusing on your running mechanics.
“The most efficient running posture is one that is mostly upright and relaxed, with a slight, whole body, forward lean beginning at the ankles. You should not lean forward at the waist. Your chest should be pushed out and your shoulders back and relaxed. Avoid all tension in your upper body. Tension is a form wrecker.”
Rick Morris (Running Planet)
What should my stride look like?
According to an article on Running Planet (www.runningplanet.com), you should have a quick, compact running stride. You should take approximately 85-95 full strides per minute, less than that and your spending too much time on you feet.
Okay folks, I hope this helps! I am going to test this out during my runs this weekend.
Do you have any running tips for a running novice?