7 Treadmill Workouts That’ll Make You a Better Runner

It’s hard not to dread the treadmill if all you’re using it to do is run the same pace for 30 minutes while zoning out to some terrible reality TV show. Yeah, that sucks. But using the treadmill for interval workouts instead—shorts bursts of work followed by recovery periods—can make your workout more exciting and the time pass faster.

Plus, there’s a whole slew of body benefits. “For existing runners, doing interval work improves running efficiency, increases anaerobic endurance, helps build fast-twitch muscle fibers, and increases V02 max”—all of which will help you go faster for longer, says Leanne Pedante, an RRCA-certified running coach and head of training for STRIDE. “And for people who don’t consider themselves ‘runners,’ interval workouts are a great way to introduce some mileage in small chunks on a low-impact surface, which lets your body adapt and can help prevent injury while burning a ton of fat and calories in relatively short amounts of time.”

Experts recommend incorporating an interval workout into your training at least one a week. You can turn literally any run into interval training just by picking up the pace sporadically throughout, but to max out the benefits, try one of these treadmill interval workouts created by pro run coaches.


7 Treadmills That’ll Keep You Running Strong This Winter

1. Treadmill Interval Workout for Speed

The key to running faster is… running faster. “Speed work helps build and maintain strength by using your fast-twitch muscles to explosively fire big muscle groups like your glutes,” explains Pedante. “And high-intensity workouts like this elevate your EPOC (post-exercise oxygen consumption), which means you’re burning calories and fat at a faster rate for up to 24–48 hours after your workout.”

Dynamic Warmup: 3-min. drills including high knees, leg swings, butt kicks, followed by 5-min. run slightly faster than a jog @ 1% incline

4 x 2 min. at fast pace followed by a 1-min. recovery walk or jog
After 4th round, take a 3-min. recovery walk or jog
4 x 2 min. at fast pace followed by a 30-sec. recovery walk or jog
After 4th round, take a 3-min. recovery walk or jog
4 x 40 sec. at sprint pace followed by a 40-sec. recovery walk or jog

Cooldown: 3-min. jog

2. Descending Ladder Treadmill Interval Workout

The trick to this workout is increasing your effort as you decrease the length of the intervals. “That teaches you not only how to flip through gears quickly, but to find turnover and speed after a short recovery period,” says Matthew Luke Meyer, an instructor at Mile High Run Club in New York, NY. “As the efforts get shorter, you can really dig into them.”

Warmup: Easy jog for 10–20 min.

3 min. at 75% of your max effort followed by 1 min. recovery walk or jog
2 min. at 80–85% of your max effort followed by 1 min. recovery walk or jog
1 min. at 90% of your max effort followed by 1 min. recovery walk or jog

Cooldown: Easy  jog for 10–20 min.


The Best Running Workouts to Increase Speed and Endurance

3. Treadmill Interval Workout for Endurance

The speed here isn’t slow, but the build is. “The goal of endurance training is to teach your body to perform well under longer intervals of time, and the key is to vary your speeds rather than remain at a constant pace,” says Andrew Slane, a coach with Equinox Precision Run. “By increasing the speeds in every bundle, you’re easing your body into the intensity and allowing your body to create muscle memory to deal with the higher levels of intensity in each new bundle.”

Warmup: 5-min. walk at moderate pace. Then, face one side of the room and perform a side shuffle on the treadmill for 15–30 sec. on each side. After, perform butt kicks, quick steps, and high knees for 30 sec. each. Jog at easy pace for 5 min.

Editor’s Note: Find the fastest pace you can hold for a 1-minute sprint at a 0% incline. Start your workout at a speed that’s half of that.

Run for 5 min., increasing speed by 0.5 mph every minute
Do a 2-min. recovery jog
Repeat 6 times, increasing each set’s starting speed by 0.5 mph more than your original starting pace

Cooldown: Jog for a few minutes to cool down.

treadmill jogging
Stefanovic Mina / Shutterstock

4. Pyramid Treadmill Interval Workout

Hills provide the same benefits as speedwork, says Pedante—like improved running economy, higher calorie burn, stronger muscles, and improved stride. “The incline is essentially resistance training for your run,” she explains. “Even if you’re going at a slower speed than you would on flat ground, you have to lift your knees up higher than normal and increase your power output, which translates to being faster off the hill.”

Warmup: 3-min. dynamic drills including high knees, leg swings, butt kicks, followed by 4-min. run at pace that’s slightly faster than a jog @ 1% incline

90 sec. at fast pace at 1% incline, followed by a 45-sec. recovery walk or jog
90 sec. at fast pace at 2% incline, followed by a 45-sec. recovery walk or jog
90 sec. at fast pace at 3% incline, followed by a 45-sec. recovery walk or jog
Set the incline at 5%, then run for 2 min., 3 min., and 4 min., following each interval with a 45-sec. recovery walk or jog
Set the incline at 4%, then run for 2 min., 3 min., and 4 min., following each interval with a 45-sec. recovery walk or jog
Set the incline at 3%, then run for 2 min., 3 min., and 4 min., following each interval with a 45-sec. recovery walk or jog
3 x 1 min. @ 5% incline, followed by a 45-sec. recovery walk or jog

Cooldown: 3-min. jog


This Is the No.1 Reason Why You Should Be Running in Cold Rain

5. Alternating Float Treadmill Interval Workout

“This is a classic fartlek—Swedish for ‘speed play’—workout,” says Meyer. The “on” intervals should feel nice and challenging, around 80–90% of your max effort, while the “float” is around 60–65% of your max effort (not a recovery walk or jog). “But don’t get too caught up in the pace, really focus on the feeling,” says Meyer. “Not only are you building endurance and getting fitter, but you’re also teaching your legs how to quickly shift through gears and recover without having to walk or jog.”

Warmup: Easy jog for 10–20 min.

2 x 2-min. on — 2-min. float
4 x 1-min. on — 1-min. float
4 x 30-sec. on — 30-sec. float
4 x 15-sec. on — 15-sec. float

3-min. recovery walk or jog

2 x 2-min. on / 2-min. float
4 x 1-min. on / 1-min. float
4 x 30-sec. on / 30-sec. float
4 x 15-sec. on / 15-sec. float

Cooldown: Easy jog for 10–20 min.

6. Uphill Treadmill Interval Workout

Running uphill builds strength in the explosive, fast-twitch muscles in your posterior chain, says Slane. “This workout helps you explore speed on an incline in short bursts, then lets you show off the strength you’ve built by adding even more speed when you hit the flat surface in round two.”

Warmup: 5-min. walk at moderate pace. Face one side of the room and perform a side shuffle for 15–30 sec. on each side, then perform butt kicks, quick steps, and high knees for 30 seconds each; jog for the remainder of the time.

Editor’s Note: Find the fastest pace you can hold for a 1-minute sprint at a 0% incline. Start your workout at a speed that’s half of that.

6 x 1 min. followed by a 1-min. recovery walk or jog; increase the incline by 1% (from 0% to 5%) each interval
4 x 30 sec. followed by a 1-min. recovery walk or jog, increasing the speed by 0.5mph each interval
6 x 30 sec. followed by a 1-min. recovery walk or jog; start at your fastest pace for a 1-min. sprint at a 0% incline and increase speed by 0.2 each interval

Cooldown: Jog for a few minutes.


A New Study Shows Running Adds Years to Your Life

7. Race Pace Treadmill Interval Workout

“If you’re training for a marathon or half-marathon, this interval workout is a great way to teach you to get comfortable in your goal pace and still have plenty of gas left in the tank when you push through some harder threshold efforts,” says Meyer.

Warmup: Easy jog for 10–20 min.

1 mile @ marathon or conversational pace
4 x 90 sec. @ 80% of max effort or 10K pace
1 mile @ marathon pace
4 x 90 sec. @ 90% of max effort or 5K pace
1 mile @ marathon pace

Cooldown: Easy jog for 10–20 min.

The post 7 Treadmill Workouts That’ll Make You a Better Runner appeared first on Men’s Journal.

It’s hard not to dread the treadmill if all you’re using it to do is run the same pace for 30 minutes while zoning out to some terrible reality TV show. Yeah, that sucks. But using the treadmill for interval workouts instead—shorts bursts of work followed by recovery periods—can make your workout more exciting and the time pass faster. […]Read More

Share this post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

one × 4 =