Some people dread running on a treadmill and have nicknamed it the “dreadmill”. Training for 5K on a treadmill does however have its place, whether that’s getting indoors on freezing and dangerous conditions, through to setting a good and correct speed for the specific training you’re doing and sticking to it. As runners, we have a tendency to train too hard. By that I mean, we try and push it too hard during the training sessions and over do it which can do more damage than good. Whereas, once we’ve determined our correct training paces (discussed later under the training plans), we can set the correct speed on the treadmill to correspond with the pace required for that particular training session and stick to it. The only thing to remember is make sure you set the incline to a percentage of 1 to correctly simulate the resistance you receive when running outdoors. The other obvious factors are to ensure that you’re running safely and have the emergency stop connection attached!! If required, you can do all your running training on the treadmill. There’s no real disadvantage other than it’s harder to vary your pace and some training requirements such as reps may mean that the treadmill is too slow to be used. The other issue could be using the treadmill at the gym might mean you can’t get the treadmill for enough time, as an example, some gyms impose a 30 minute time limit on usage which could be too short a time for your workout.

Don’t forget to use the RUN ROUTINE too when using the treadmill. This isn’t an excuse to not use the full routine. Obviously the drills still have to be performed NOT on the treadmill but otherwise, the warm up, running training and warm down are still performed on the treadmill.

Purchasing a Treadmill

If you are planning on purchasing a treadmill for your own home gym, make sure you get one which has the following features:

  • Speed range up to at least 18 km/h. This will generally mean the motor for the treadmill is of a decent strength and will last the distance
  • A good size running area so both long and wide
  • Has motorised incline
  • Has a good display which shows the speed, distance and time

The same also applies to when you use a treadmill at a gym. If it doesn’t look like it will do the job, avoid it. It will probably have a running surface that slips or is dangerously small.

If you’re thinking about buying a treadmill, see our reviews on the best treadmills.