Welcome to the latest edition of Workout Wednesday! I was going to call this article how to make your treadmill runs fun, but I thought you might question my sanity if I used the words fun and treadmill in the same sentence. Let's just go with How To Make Your Treadmill Runs Not Suck.

I love outdoor running. I never had the kind of love for treadmill running as I do for the outdoors. However, I have to admit there are many good reasons to use the treadmill: They allow you to have strict control over your speed and time, they provide shelter from the weather and a safe environment to run, day or night. They are great for speed work training. The problem is that is that treadmills can be mind-numbingly boring. No one likes to feel like a hamster, going nowhere.

The thing is, you may be going nowhere is terms of physical space, but treadmill runs can help you meet your running goals. If your goal is to run faster, the treadmill can take you places. Here are some boredom busting treadmill workouts that will make the time fly by!


Here are a few ideas for treadmill workouts that beat the boredom. Interval workouts are great for your fitness and can help you mentally get through the workout. By changing up the variables you'll find that the time goes by so quickly you may not even need to cover the console with a towel.


1. Walk for five minutes on the treadmill to warm up.
2. Increase your pace to a slow running pace that feels easy and comfortable to you for one minute. 
3. Every minute increase the MPH by .5 on the treadmill until you reach your max running pace.
4. Run for one minute at each .5 increment until you reach your max. You'll know your max when you get there, if you can't keep it up for a minute or if your breathing is really labored, you went too far.
5 Once you reach your max, start moving back down at .5 MPH increment at a time, for one minute, until you reach your slowest running pace again.
6. Repeat 2-3 times.

This is an example of what this workout might look like. Do not arbitrary follow these speeds. This example may be too advanced for some runners and too easy for others. The key is start at your easy pace and advance the speed by .5 mph until you reach your max. It will be different for everyone.

The great thing about this workout is that you can adjust it as your get stronger so that you are always pushing yourself. Adjust your slowest and fastest time to your current fitness level. If this is too slow for you, start at a faster pace and peak at a faster pace. This is a beginner's workout example. If it is too easy or too hard, adjust accordingly.


This is my favorite treadmill workout that I do all the time in the Shredshed. You can do it for 15 minutes or repeat for a full 30 minute workout. Each speed interval gets a little faster and shorter. You should build your speed gradually until you find the right pace for your workouts. Again, I can't stress enough that you should run at your own fitness level and not necessarily the speeds on this workout, it is just an example. Adjust your pace slower or faster according to your current fitness levels. 

1. 3 minutes warm up at a very easy speed

2. 3 minutes at a speed that is challenging, but not so challenging that you can't maintain it for 3 minutes.

3. 2 minutes at a jogging recovery pace.

4. 2 minutes at a speed that is slightly faster than your 3 minute interval.

5. 1 minute at a jogging recovery pace.

6. 1 minute at a faster speed than your 2 minute interval

7. 1 minute at a jogging recovery pace

8. 1 minute at a near max effort

9. walk to recover



One of my favorite ways to incorporate strength into my running workouts is to mix up treadmill intervals with strength training. Run for 3 minutes then jump off the treadmill to perform one minute of an arm or core strength move in between intervals. Your "work" effort should be an effort that challenges you for three minutes but not so difficult that you can't sustain it for that time. 

Remember that making a treadmill run not suck is mostly about conquering your mind. For me, it is more of a mental battle than a physical one. When I finish a high intensity treadmill run, I usually step off the treadmill and onto cloud nine. It seems like the more I sweat, and the harder I worked, then the more intense the runner's high...and runner's high doesn't suck!

How about you? How do you make your treadmill runs not suck?

Download a PDF of these 3 workouts here!


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Any questions? Ask them in the comments or join the conversation and submit your question to be answered in a future blog post. 

Coach Lea

I am a NASM personal trainer and RRCA adult distance running coach that specializes in strength training for runners. I offer in-person training in the Shredshed, online training and Fit to Run bootcamps. If you are interested in a more in-depth running or strength training plan, please contact me. Have questions? I'd love to help. 

While I am a certified personal trainer, I am not your personal trainer. Since I don't know your exercise abilities, injury background or medical history, please see your doctor before beginning any new exercise program.