The treadmill is a piece of machinery that is loved and loved throughout the fitness industry.

It provides an effective way of getting moving and burning serious calories without having to brave the elements, however it can quickly become a very tedious form of exercise.

If you find your exercise routine boring then you will struggle for motivation and will be unlikely to keep it up.

Here are a few tips and tricks which you can use to make your treadmill work, fun, exciting, engaging and challenging without having to spend hours a day on the treadmill (none of these workouts take much more than 20 minutes).

All of the workouts below involve a training method known as Fartlek training. Fartlek is a Swedish word meaning ‘speed play’.

Fartlek training involves adjusting the speed of your run at set intervals, this makes it far more interesting than steady-state cardio and crucially it allows you to run at faster speeds, thereby increasing your training intensity and giving you better results in less time.

Be aware that Fartlek training will involve frequent short sprints, these can make a lot of noise so you should ensure (especially if you are training at home in an apartment) that your floor is well insulated against all the vibrations you will make by fitting a treadmill mat to dampen the noise!

treadmill training lady


Here are three treadmill workouts we recommend you try:

The Short Sprint:

This treadmill workout is only 15 minutes long, 10 of those minutes are at a slow recovery pace however the other 5 minutes are all-out max effort sprints, it may not sound like much work but give this a go and I expect you will be surprised it!

  • 1 minute – slow recovery pace jog
  • 30 secondsmax effort sprint – crank the treadmill up as fast as you can go and hold that pace for 30 seconds
  • 1 minuterecovery pace
  • 30 secondsmax effort sprint
  • 1 minuterecovery pace
  • 30 secondsmax effort sprint
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The Hill Run:

Another way to increase intensity is to increase the angle on your treadmill to simulate a hill run. This interval workout does exactly that with ever-increasing incline percentages.

For this workout try to maintain the sort of pace you would try and keep in a 5km race.

  • 3 minutes race pace run, 4% incline
  • 1 minute at recovery pace, no incline 
  • 2 minutes race pace run, 6% incline
  • 1 minute at recovery pace, no incline 
  • 2 minutes race pace run, 8% incline
  • 1 minute at recovery pace, no incline 
  • 1 minute race pace run, maximum incline %
  • 1 minute at recovery pace, no incline 

This is only a 12-minute workout but those inclines can leave you gasping for breath. If you find this too easy increase the inclines or add a few more race pace sections in.

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3km Run:

You can use Fartlek training to make runs for distance go by quicker. Try breaking your workout into 500m runs, each with a different level of intensity as below. This method of training will save time as your warm-up is included in the first 500m and it will also give you a more varied and higher intensity run that a steady-state 3km would.

  • 500m – slow warm-up run
  • 500m – race pace run
  • 500m – as fast as you can
  • 500m – recovery pace
  • 500m – as fast as you can
  • 500m – recovery pace

You can use the same training principals in longer runs too.

Fartlek training is a great way to smash through performance barriers in your running while breaking the monotony of steady-state treadmill training. 

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Varying your speed allows you to push beyond your comfort zone leading to greater physical adaptations, improvements in conditioning and greater mental strength to help you keep pushing through the pain.

We hope you found these treadmill workouts useful, effective and fun.