Treadmill training to try

I used to turn my nose up at the treadmill, preferring to head off on road or trail to pound out mile after mile of same-pace stuff, with the odd track session or set of hill reps thrown in. Sport-specific, innit: I used to take part in running races and triathlons, and I needed to train that way.

These days, I do very little cardio, and the cardio I do needs to be short and sharp, stripping away body fat but preserving precious muscle (yep, it’s a good trick if you can do it). These days, I’m on first name terms with the treadmill (Chris), cross-trainer (Lesley) and rowing machine (Simon).

It dawned on me this morning, as I slid home from the gym on icy pavements (I’m still doing cardio during deload week), that even my triathlete and running pals might be getting familiar with a treadmill in this weather. And, why not. Sure, treadmill running isn’t as picturesque as a few glorious miles across hill and dale (unless the person on the treddie in front of yours possesses a particularly pleasing derriere…) but it does the job. And, actually, for the endurance folk amongst you, a short sharp treadmill session could deliver measurable benefits which are quite different to your longer, slower outdoor runs. So this post is for you, too!

I don’t (currently) do anything longer than 30 minutes of cardio in one go, and I prefer to do 20 minutes of “work” with a warm up and down. But the work does need to be work! Got 30 minutes? Then here are three treadmill sessions to try today (not all in one day, obvs). They’re my current “favourites”:

I’ve written about this before. This was given to me by a PT called Ben Lauder-Dykes. It’s a true delight. Really, just try it. And if you think it’s too easy, well that’s great, because you can also do 12/12/12 or whatever you like. You’re only limited by the % to which your treadmill will incline.

How to do it:
– get on the treadmill, warm up (walk/jog) for 4 mins
– set the treadmill to 11kph, 11% incline
– start running and run for 15 seconds
– jump to the side of the treadmill (so you’re straddling the belt) and rest for 15 seconds
– keep doing this 15s on/15s off for 11 minutes (if it all gets a bit much, just remember you’re looking for “15:00” on the display)
– hit that speed button and decrease it slowly for 5 minutes til you’re walking to cool down
There. 20 minutes out of your day=boosted metabolism, fat burning, speed work, incline training, glutey-bootay greatness

Hill intervals
I did this today. How to do it:
– walk/jog for 5 minutes on an incline of 0.5% (only because completely flat feels weird)
– run at a sustainable pace (read the full session to guess at what this might be for you) for 2 minutes
– increase incline to 2% for 2 minutes
– down to 0.5% for 2 minutes
– increase incline to 4% for 2 minutes
– down to 0.5% for 2 minutes
– increase incline to 6% for 2 minutes
– down to 0.5% for 2 minutes
– increase incline to 8% for 2 minutes
– down to 0.5% for 2 minutes
– increase incline to 10% for 2 minutes
– hit that decline button, bring the incline down, and start to bring the speed down too so you jog/walk for a 5 minute cool down
There. 30 minutes of deceptive, increasingly heart-pounding work which will leave your metabolism ramped up for hours and do you much more good than just running at the same pace and the same incline for 30 minutes.

Flat intervals
How to do it:
– 5 mins warm up until you’re running at a sustainable pace (somewhere between 5 mile and 10K race pace I’d say)
– alternate 1 minute at this pace with 1 minute recovery (jog not walk) pace. Try not to bring the speed down too much, simply because then part of your next minute’s effort will be spent getting the treadmill back up to speed
– do 20 minutes of 1 min on/1 min off
– decrease the speed for a 5 minute jog/walk cool down

Do one session per week (or, if you dare, do all of these in one week) and tell me how you feel and how it’s affected your body recomposition and/or fitness goals. Don’t underestimate them, though. I’m always hugely hungry and very tired for a day or so after doing one of these sessions; a sure sign that they work the body hard.

Treadmill training to try is a post from The Fit Writer blog.

Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist who writes for the sport and fitness industry. Her main website is here.


7 Responses to Treadmill training to try

  1. Kristen says:

    I do flat intervals, exactly as you’ve described them, almost every time I get on a treadmill. Mostly this is because I find the treadmill boring and would rather use a stepper, so when I *have* to run, intervals are where it’s at.

    I may try out your 11/11/11 thing though — but in mph instead 🙂


  2. bearrunner says:

    good job 🙂 The treadmill can be your friend! haha


  3. Donloree says:

    Yup! I do 10 minutes of HIIT sprints after training if I have anything left and then I want to eat the whole house….literally. 😀


  4. Pinky says:

    Love this post. Thank you.


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