Treadmill running gets a bad rap (so boring. going nowhere. not as effective). But David Siik has been giving the workout a reputation makeover—in terms of both treadmill technique and giving the machine its due—for a while now.
The Los Angeles-based celebrity trainer is the creator and content director of Precision Running at Equinox, an indoor running workout that brings the effectiveness of interval training and the motivation of group fitness classes to the genre.
And in his new book, The Ultimate Treadmill Workout, Siik details the principles he used to create the program—his Balanced Interval Training Experience (or BITE) method—which is meant to take the guesswork out of how fast to go, at what incline, and for how long—lest you just jog along aimlessly for half an hour and call it a day.
It’s that kind of treadmill misuse that creates boredom, and hints at other mistakes you’re already making, says Siik who wants you to “strip everything down to understand what your workout is to begin with.”
Below, the treadmill running pro outlines five common things runners do wrong when they hit the “on button,”—which, if you can correct, will have you on pace to make indoor running a way more effective part of your year. —Jamie McKillop
1. Running way too close to the front. We get it, it can be scary towards the back, closer to the edge you may fly off of. But huddling yourself near the handles can mess with your stride. “For better form, don’t run too close to the front of your treadmill,” Siik advises.
2. Not finding your stride. Your stride should vary with speed and incline, to maximize efficiency. “Be careful to not overstride when sprinting,” Siik says, “and remember to shorten stride on steep hills.”
3. Swinging your arms in front of you. “Avoid swinging your arms side to side across your center-line,” he says. “Keeping a nice parallel arm-to-leg drive is important for healthy running and a better body.”
4. Practicing poor posture. When you’re running in one place for a long period, you may lose focus on posture. “Maintain runner’s tilt, avoid sitting back on your hips when you feel fatigued.”
5. Landing on your heels. “Heel-first striking is okay for slow speeds such as walking and jogging, but faster speeds require a forefoot strike to lessen impact,” Siik says. Training your body to land in that way may take a while, but there are lots of simple tricks you can incorporate into your workouts to make that happen.
Need a new pair of running shoes for your treadmill workout? Check out these three pairs Well+Good readers swear by.
(Photos: Larkin Clark for Well+Good; David Siik)