6 Treadmill Tips You've Probably Never Heard

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If you run on a treadmill often, you might think you know all the tricks and tips. Covering up the display with a towel? Check. Cranking up the incline to one percent to simulate wind resistance? Done it. But there might be a few things you haven't tried. The next time you log treadmill miles, try one of these unique tips!

Use a different pair of shoes.

If you regularly alternate between running outdoors and indoors, consider having a dedicated pair of shoes for the treadmill. Dirt, salt and sand can all cause the machine's belt to deteriorate faster (and make a mess of the floor). Treat yourself to a snazzy pair of shoes that you'd like to keep looking clean and new—wearing them on the treadmill will feel like a treat!

Set up a mirror in front of your machine.

Most gyms have rows of mirrors, but if you're running on the treadmill at home, consider installing one in front of the machine. As you run, periodically check in on your form. Are your shoulders down and back? Are your arms swinging back and forth rather than across the body? How's your foot strike? If nothing else, focusing on your mechanics can help the time pass.

Enlarge the font on your e-reader or buy/borrow large print books.

Music, movies and TV shows are all popular treadmill pastimes, but have you considered reading? If you own an e-reader, play around with the font until it's large enough to read comfortably while you run. Alternatively, you could experiment with large print books. This might not be an activity for intense speed work, but it's certainly possibly to read during an easy run or walk. If however you're prone to motion sickness, you might want to skip this one.

Split your runs.

Can't stomach an entire hour (or more) on the treadmill? Try dividing up the run! If the weather is very cold or hot, log a few miles outside before coming indoors and stripping down (or grab a cool drink, depending on conditions) and finish your run in a climate-controlled room. If you have access to an indoor track, you could also try logging a few laps or miles there before you transition to a machine.

Practice running downhill.

Most runners have played around with the treadmill's incline feature, but have you considered running downhill? Besides changing up the demands on your muscles and tendons, running downhill can help you prepare for outside terrain. Training for a marathon like Boston? Practicing downhill running will prep your quads for those early (steep!) declines. To keep things interesting and engage different muscles, try alternating the incline and decline throughout your run.

Mix in some strength exercises.

Who says the treadmill is only for running or walking? Try running for a mile then slow the speed down and trying some walking lunges. Looking to squeeze in some upper body strength work? Pause the treadmill and try a few triceps dips or push-ups.

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