When I started running I stuck to doing it on a treadmill. Although now I much prefer outdoor running, starting on a treadmill definitely helped me to build up my confidence and gain a technique.
I started out by running for ten minutes (it’s all I could manage) and had to have a few walk rests. I gradually started to try to increase my pace – going from a 9 on the treadmill to a speed setting of 10.5. Doing this definitely helped me to build on my fitness and after a few weeks I was finding I could hold a steady pace and take shorter walking breaks.
But by far the best training I did on a treadmill was interval training. It is meant to be a better cardio workout and a more efficient way of burning fat, which is always good, but I also found it was the best way to build up my running technique and consistency. After a few weeks of interval training (usually consisting of fast running for three minutes followed by a two minute walk break) I was able to run my first 3k on the treadmill.
Now I use interval training on my outdoor runs – I don’t think there’s anything wrong with walk breaks. They give you the chance to assess your strategy, take in some water and (for me) it ensures I stay motivated.
Although I find treadmill running a bit boring now I still use it as part of my training – it’s a good way to practice pace and, let’s face it, it’s not always nice to run outside in the pouring rain…