7 ways to become a better treadmill runner according to a Peloton Tread instructor

a woman running on a treadmill
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Treadmill running; most people either love it or loathe it. No matter which side of the fence you lie on when it comes to running on a treadmill vs running outside, treadmill running has its many benefits.

Getting your miles in on one of the best treadmills allows you to complete a run no matter the weather, it's a softer surface on the joints and it makes it easier to maintain a certain pace.

However, many people shy away from the treadmill due to a lack of experience with the exercise machine or simply because they find treadmill runs rather boring. To help spice up your sessions, we asked Peloton instructor Jermain Johnson for his seven top tips on how to become a better treadmill runner. 

a headshot of Peloton Instructor, Jermaine Johnson
Jermaine Johnson

Jermaine Johnson is a Peloton Instructor and teaches tread, strength, and boxing classes from Peloton Studios London. He was previously a professional dancer and strength and conditioning coach at several boutique gyms. 

7 ways to become a better treadmill runner

Want to experience successful treadmill running? Johnson is here to walk you through the steps to get you here. Before transferring these tips onto a treadmill, make sure you have a pair of the best running shoes on your feet for a more comfortable ride.

1. Gradual progression

Similar to road running or track running, making progress on the tread is best when done gradually.

"Start with a mix of walking and running intervals if you’re new to treadmill running or returning after a break," says Johnson. "Gradually increase the duration and intensity of your runs to build endurance and prevent injury."

2. Use incline

a woman's legs walking on a treadmill incline

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Take advantage of the treadmill’s incline feature to simulate outdoor terrain, says Johnson. "Incorporating uphill walking or running intervals can strengthen your leg muscles and improve cardiovascular fitness, essential for marathon and race preparation," he says.

Need more evidence that incline running is worth doing on a treadmill? We discussed the benefits we experienced after adding incline runs to our workout for two weeks. Let's just say that it gave the quads and glutes an awesome workout.

3. Interval training

If you find treadmill running a slog, yet only do long steady state runs on them, then no wonder you'd rather be outside pounding the pavements. But by varying your sessions with the best treadmill workouts, you can keep things interesting. 

Johnson agrees, "Mix up your workouts with interval training sessions. Alternate between periods of high-intensity running and recovery periods of walking or slow jogging. This method helps improve speed, endurance, and overall race performance."

4. Fartlek workouts

Incorporate fartlek-style workouts, which involve alternating between periods of faster running and slower recovery periods, adds Johnson. "This flexible training approach enhances both aerobic and anaerobic fitness, preparing you for various race scenarios."

If you want to learn how to run faster, fartlek training is not one to miss and is another way to spice up your tread running.

5. Cross-training

Johnson suggests supplementing your treadmill running with cross-training activities like hiking. 

"Hiking on an incline or at varying speeds engages different muscle groups and improves overall strength and endurance, translating to better performance in marathons and races; hiking classes on the Peloton Tread are great options for this."

6. Focus on form

a woman running on a treadmill

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Form is important on and off the treadmill.

Take on board these simple but effective notes on form from Johnson: "Maintain good posture, engage your core muscles, and land softly on your feet to reduce the risk of injury and optimize efficiency, crucial for long-distance running success."

7. Track your progress & don't forget rest

Finally, "use the treadmill’s built-in metrics to track your progress over time, such as distance covered, pace, and incline," advises Johnson. 

"Additionally, listen to your body and adjust your workouts accordingly to prevent burnout or overtraining. Rest and recovery are just as important as training sessions for achieving peak performance and a holistic sense of well-being."

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Jessica Downey
Fitness Writer

Jessica is an experienced fitness writer with a passion for running. Her love for keeping fit and fueling her body with healthy and enjoyable food quite naturally led her to write about all things fitness and health-related. If she isn’t out testing the latest fitness products such as the latest running shoe or yoga mat for reviewing then she can be found writing news and features on the best ways to build strength, active aging, female health, and anything in between. Before then she had a small stint writing in local news, has also written for Runners World UK (print and digital), and gained experience with global content marketing agency, Cedar Communications.

Born and raised in Scotland, Jessica is a massive fan of exercising and keeping active outdoors. When at home she can be found running by the sea, swimming in it, or up a mountain. This continued as she studied and trained to become a PPA-accredited magazine journalist in Wales. And since working and living in London, she splits her time between weight training in the gym, trying new fitness classes, and finding scenic running routes. Jessica enjoys documenting this on her fitness-inspired Instagram page @jessrunshere where she loves engaging with like-minded fitness junkies.

She is a big fan of healthy cooking and loves learning more about this area with expert nutritionists she has met over the years. Jessica is a big advocate for building healthy relationships with food rather than building restrictive attitudes towards it. When she isn’t eating or running she also enjoys practicing yoga in her free time as it helps her to unwind and benefits her performance in other sports.