Most people are afraid to start running outdoors so they start by dipping their toes in a treadmill routine. Treadmills are a great option when you just can’t take a break from running, but other circumstances make it hard to run outside. But as with running outside, there are some ground rules to make sure you are safe on a treadmill. After all, getting settings wrong may result in serious head injury, unlike say running outside, where the surface isn’t moving.

If you are using the FirstRun app, you would have heard the running coach give you the right speed guidelines at the right time. Follow these and you will be running in a relaxed manner. But in addition, do take a note of these tips that are crucial for staying safe on a treadmill.

Make a checklist
New runners feel a sense of comfort when their water bottle, music playlist, and shoes are in order. When running on a treadmill, there’s always a possibility of getting distracted and losing your step. So make a mental checklist to ensure your essentials are with you. It’s all the more important to focus on the task at hand when on a treadmill.

Get your balance
Treadmills may look similar but each has a different balance. Use your first few moments to get a feel for the support rails, and the belt. Get a feel for the most comfortable starting point for your body type. Always step onto the treadmill before pressing the start button.

Stay safe
Most treadmills these days have safety features to prevent injuries. Sometimes there’s a safety release clipped to your clothing, which gets pulled out when you step back as in a fall, and the treadmill immediately stops. Always use the safety features. It doesn’t make you a lesser runner if you take precautions; you’re simply safeguarding your long-term running health.

Familiarise yourself with the features of the treadmill (Image Pop Sugar)
Familiarise yourself with the features of the treadmill (Image Pop Sugar)

Check your speed
As we always recommend, never start running at full speed on a treadmill. Always have a range of speeds so that you can start slowly and then increase your pace gradually. Always do a warmup run to get used to the treadmill and its natural pace. You can run up quite a speed on the treadmill. But don’t be tempted to do your best Flash impression. Sprinting too hard increases your risk of injury exponentially on a treadmill. You would have very little time to react to a bad step.

Clear the area
Make sure children and other runners waiting for their turn are clear from your treadmill. It’s only common sense to have others at a safe distance. If other gym equipment is in close quarters with the treadmill, request that they be moved, or use a treadmill that’s clutter free. If it’s a personal gym, consider rubber matting or thin soft carpet for your flooring around the treadmill.

Read the manual
Bought a new treadmill? Read the manual, and always follow the instructions when it comes to operating speed and safety features. keep the belt clean, and service the motor regularly. You don’t want a treadmill glitch in the middle of a swift run.

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