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I just started walking/running on the treadmill, 1 mile each day. It's going great (down from 15:30 to 13:40), except that, especially at higher speeds, I don't feel entirely stable on the treadmill, and tend to sort of wobble back and forth.
I'm wearing Vibram Five Fingers, which are more comfortable for me than regular shoes (they were my street shoes for months before I tried running in them).
What's going on mechanically, and what do I do to fix it?
I've experienced something similar at higher speeds, and to be honest it really is just a matter of getting used to it. I used to feel very unstable doing speed work at 6.0mph, after a year I'm comfortable doing it at 8.0mph now. Just keep working at it, I'm sure it will get better!
5K - Apr 2009: 39:00
5K - Jun 2009: 36:55
5K - Sep 2009: 34:06
10K - Oct 2009: 1:13:45
5K - Nov 2009: 34:23
5K - Feb 2010: 32:28
Half Marathon - Apr 2010: 2:39:06
5K - May 2010: 29:49
10K - Jun 2010: 1:01:48
5K - Aug 2010: 27:57
Half Marathon - Oct 2010: 2:12:18
10K - Nov 2010: 52:44 (PR)
5K - Feb 2011: 23:45
Half Marathon - Apr 2011: 1:49:18
Marathon - May 2011: 3:56:05
Half Marathon - Oct 2011: 1:49:14 (PR)
5K - Nov 2011: 22:20 (PR)
Marathon - Dec 2011: 3:41:42 (PR)
You could always try putting the incline of the treadmill up to 1.5 as this will make you feel like you are running on solid ground as opposed to just bouncing up and down on a moving belt!
Otherwise you could make sure that you are focusing on the same spot in the distance that is about eye level as there is nothing worse for balance than craning yoiur kneck up to watch a tv suspended above the treadmills or leaning to talk to a friend on the treadmill next to you.
Hope that helps
Wobbling on the treadmill could likely be an indicator that you suffer from slight overpronation. Overpronation occurs when your feet roll inward when you run. Its extremely common, and you can either do a few tests yourself to figure out if this is your issue, or just pop into a running store that will analyze your gait, such as Runner's Roost. They will have you hop on a treadmill, and actually videotape your feet, so you can see the action yourself. If you do suffer from overpronation, shoes with more cushioning and support usually aid in correcting the problem. The Vibram FiveFingers are awesome running shoes, but offer zero in the way of motion control. Good Luck & Happy Running!
I bumped up the incline. You're right, Kinver, that does feel better. I still feel wobbly, but I'll give it some time as Angelique suggests -- I am at speeds of 5.5-6.0 when the wobbliness sets in.
I'm a n00b when it comes to running, but I'm strongly inclined against buying new shoes with more cushioning. I'd rather strengthen the muscles than simply compensate for them, if there's a good way to do that.
The problem is that overpronation (and underpronation, aka supination) can lead to uneven stresses on muscles and joints all the way up the legs. While strengthening the muscles is fine in theory, you might end up injured first. And long-term injury is something to be careful of. Now I'm not saying these things will happen, just that you need to be aware of the possibility. Some of us can get away with over/under pronation, some can't. Clearly you can do exercises to strengthen the various leg and foot muscles and that can help. I personally feel that running barefoot builds foot strength. But I look at it as part time - maybe 10% of total miles.
I'm attaching a link to a video showing someone who overpronates a good deal. Note how his ankles roll inward as he runs. He also happens to be the current marathon world record holder.
Are you sure that you are what is wobbling? I have run on some fairly light weight treadmills and they tend to bounce around a bit. Also if the treadmill is sitting on a soft surface like carpet then it will tend to wobble. The treadmill should be sitting on a hard surface. You might try running on a different treadmill and see it it feels better or not. Most of the treadmills they sell in sporting goods stores are too light weight and have stability problems.
Lies Spectators tell Marathoners: 1) Last Hill! 2) Almost there! 3) You look great!
Could be just a matter of getting stronger. You may be unstable because you're legs just aren't ready for that intensity. But if you keep it up you'll see an improvement.