McMillan's Guide to Treadmill Training

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Gotta hit the treadmill? Learn my secrets to success including:

– How much to adjust the incline to replicate the effort of overland running,
– Are you a pusher or a puller?
– Treadmill lag – what it is and how to account for it.

In this quick video, you’ll learn everything you need to know to get the most from your treadmill running.


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  • Very interesting and informative. I didn't realize the lag could be as long as 15 seconds nor did I realize that I was risking injury by keeping the treadmill on the same speed for those 45 minute steady runs. I thought treadmill running was much easier than overland running because the treadmill feels more bouncy than the ground. To counteract this, I adjust the incline to 1.5% so that it feels more like an overland run. So I was surprised to hear that it doesn't make any difference for slower runners like me. Not sure I will adjust the treadmill incline back to 0% because I am used to 1.5% incline and enjoy the challenge.

  • When doing an interval workout, an option to prevent lag time is to keep the treadmill running and just step off until your ready to go again. Also, when pausing the treadmill and then restarting -the lag time is quite short

  • chrisgg says:

    I never thought about the lack of air resistance on a treadmill compared with outside, a vital point. However I would definitely disagree that air resistance is negligible at speeds below 8:30/mile. If you are running at 10 min/mile you are going at 6mph. So outside, even with no actual wind blowing at all, you will feel it as a 6mph wind hitting your face and body as you run. If you are running into a 6 mph wind at 6mph it will feel like a 12mph wind made up of 6mph wind and 6mph air resistance. That will feel like a strong wind. Turn around 180° and run with the wind. It will feel like there is no wind at all as it will be following you at the same speed. Here the following wind will have cancelled out the air resistance and you feel it so much easier to run. It's equivalent to running in a vacuum (assuming you have oxygen to breath!). So the wind and the air resistance have equal effects in slowing you down if your speed equals the speed of the wind. I say 6 mph is no negligible air resistance.

  • Great video Greg! All very valid points. I've experienced all of these aspects and elements you listed.

  • This is super helpful. I particularly like the advice about varying the incline and speed a bit even on a steady/easy run. The puller/pusher thing is also interesting. I find treadmill running much more difficult than outside running.

  • seoul588 says:

    After 6,000km of outdoor running over the last three years I'm literally joining a gym today after much prodding. This is helpful and very timely. Thanks, Coach.