Ways To Level Up Your Next Treadmill Workout
Ways To Level Up Your Next Treadmill Workout

Ways To Level Up Your Next Treadmill Workout

The treadmill will always be a valuable piece of gym equipment because it has so much to offer – from easing the body back into running after injury to pacing interval sessions. Here, four running coaches explain how to make the most of it.
By Tor West

Pace Yourself

“The treadmill is often overlooked in the gym for fancier pieces of equipment but, used smartly, it can help you improve your running, whether you’re looking to reach a PB or are training for a race. Treadmill running is convenient, lower impact and offers more precision in terms of pacing and speed. Plus, if you’re recovering from an injury, the soft surface of the treadmill belt can reduce impact on the body and provide a great way to ease yourself back into running. Variety and pacing yourself are key for results – avoid doing the same session twice in one week and make playing with speed and inclines a priority. This will ensure you’re using different systems of your body to challenge both physical and mental strength and endurance.” – Emma Bord, PT & running expert


Perfect Your Technique

“Poor technique can lead to injury and is a less efficient way for your body to move. Everyone – even the professionals – needs reminders on good technique. First, drop your shoulders back and keep your chest open, and don’t let yourself hunch forward. This will help to create a straight line throughout your body. At the same time, look straight ahead, and not at your feet or the screen – looking down can place strain on your knees, hips and back. Avoid leaning forward when running on a treadmill, which can lead to back pain. Ensure your posture is on point with your shoulders above your hips and abs pulled in. Relax your body, pin your shoulders back and avoid pounding the belt with heavy feet – think light and soft.” – Omar Mansour, PT & run coach at WithU


Always Warm Up

“To maximise a treadmill workout, technique and structure is important. Always start off with a warm-up, moving from a walk into a gentle run, including mobility exercises and dynamic stretches. You can also include a short incline run to fire up the posterior chain (i.e. the back of the body) and activate the hamstrings. A cooldown is also vital, allowing your body to wind down from your session, aiding the recovery process. A post-run stretch will avoid pulled muscles and tightness the following day.” – Emma


Set The Incline To 1%

“Studies show setting the treadmill incline to 1% mimics outdoor running more closely. While striking a balance between indoor and outdoor running is best, if a treadmill is your only option, up the incline. This is also a useful function to utilise if you live in a flat area and are training for a hillier run. Start at 1% incline and work your way up to 2%, and alternate between the two to engage more muscles and mimic an outdoor workout. Try a hill session, starting out walking at 5% incline and then alternating between 45-second runs at a 3-5% incline followed by a 90-second slow walk or jog repeated five times.” – Lewis Moses, founder of New Levels Coaching & running advisor at CEP


Increase Your Speed

“Running on a treadmill is different to running outdoors. While your running gait and biomechanics don’t necessarily change, the amount of force you’re required to apply does change. As a rule, treadmill running requires less effort, explaining why most people typically run faster and for longer on one. One recent study suggested that running speed needs to be 15% higher on a treadmill to mimic an outdoor effort. If you are at an intermediate level, feel free to up the pace slightly on a treadmill – you want to be running at a seven out of ten effort.” – Arj Thiruchelvam, head coach at Performance Physique  


Try Interval Training

“Even professional athletes use treadmills from time to time, especially when it comes to speed sessions. By manually setting your speed on a treadmill, your pace is maintained for the duration of a session, making it a great way to get used to a more challenging pace. Incorporate shorter bursts of a faster pace for an intervals session, too – a great way to improve your running speed and raise your lactic threshold. Warm up at an easy pace for five minutes, then do ten 30-second intervals of fast running, with 90 seconds of walking in between. The effort at which you’re running is more important than the speed itself – the idea is that the fast sections are hard work while the recovery is a slow jog or walk. This should allow you to recover around 80% by the time the next interval arrives.” – Arj


Do A Ladder Workout

“If most of your treadmill workouts are spent looking at how much time you have left, you’re not alone. If this sounds familiar, try switching your focus to short, snappy intervals rather than how long you’re running for. A ladder workout is a form of interval training where you go ‘up’ the ladder and then back ‘down’ – an effective way to use your time. Start with a two-minute walk, a one-minute easy jog and then two minutes of slightly faster, but still easy, running. Then alternate between two minutes of running and two minutes of walking for around ten minutes – this will get the body warm. As the workout progresses, incorporate a 90-second run at 2% incline, followed by a 90-second walk at the same incline – repeat twice. Then, do a one-minute run at 4% incline, followed by a minute walk at the same incline – repeat twice. Finish by cooling down with a two-minute walk.” – Omar


Run Outside Too

“For the best results, mix treadmill running with outdoor runs. And if you’re training for an event, plan to run most of your training on an outdoor surface that replicates your race day terrain. When running outdoors, your feet and legs have to adjust to uneven surfaces and changes in direction, which activates smaller, stabilising muscles that aren’t needed on a treadmill when you’re running in a constant and smooth direction. Mixing it up will also keep the body strong – running at the same pace in a repetitive motion on the treadmill can lead to overuse injuries. If a treadmill is your only option, keep varying your speed and incline to ensure your constantly challenging your body.” – Emma


Book in for one of these treadmill-focused studio classes…

The Fore

Only the brave need apply to Foretitude, the hero class on offer at this King’s Cross studio. Sprints are done on the self-powered Skillmill and paired with strength work on the TRX.

Visit The-Fore.co.uk

Barry’s Bootcamp 

A decade on from the opening of Barry’s first studio in London, there are now nine studios across the UK, all serving up the iconic formula of sprints, incline runs and strength training.

Visit Barrys.com


Whether you’re a long-distance runner or casual jogger, this intervals-based class will help you run faster and more effectively. Floor-based work focuses on building strength to keep you injury-free.

Visit KXU.co.uk

Victus Soul 

Classes at this Tower Hill-based studio are small – no more than 16 people – so expect hands-on training. Woodway treadmills guarantee a smooth ride to see you through sprints, hills and sled runs.

Visit Victus-Soul.com


Reshape is the go-to class for those looking to supercharge fitness levels. Constantly switching between treadmill sprints and floor-based HIIT has earned this class cult status on London’s fitness scene.

Visit 1Rebel.com

DISCLAIMER: Features published by SheerLuxe are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. Always seek the advice of your GP or another qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health-related programme.

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