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Treadmills

Treadmills allow you to train in a controlled manner at any time of the year. If the weather is bad and you don't fancy going outdoors for a run, then just jump on the treadmill for a good workout.

As a beginner, treadmills also allow you to control the pace and intensity of the run. This is very important if you are injured or overweight, as extra intensity is something that needs to be avoided until you are 100 per cent again or a bit fitter.

The action of the treadmill is to provide a running carpet (belt) to run on. The belt just spins around on a large wooden base. As you jump up, the belt spins along and provides some feedback when landing.

However, it is easy to cheat on a treadmill. You can either hold onto the bars at the front, side or just jump up higher so the belt goes around more. Both of these cheats are easy to spot but are very tempting, especially when you get tired.

This type of cheating isn't an option when you are running outdoors. To compensate for the belt doing most of the work, you need to increase the incline of the machine to around 1 or 1.5 degrees. This will give you a little hill to run up and will simulate outdoor running better.

Treadmills are a great training aid, but they can often cause more problems due to the fact that they are forcing you to run in an unnatural position. The belt is doing most of the work and you are trying to keep up with it. Sometimes this puts extra pressure on joints as you run differently on a treadmill compared with how you run normally.

Try running outdoors on soft surfaces like grass and see if that helps your knees. Also, check to make sure you have the correct trainers for running. This can make a big difference to your legs and how they feel.

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