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How to improve your running speed on a treadmill

October 21, 2021 5 min read
Improve running speed on a treadmill Improve running speed on a treadmill

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    Did you know running can be a gamechanger? 

    It’s true; running can help build strength, muscle, cardiovascular fitness, help us lose and maintain weight.

    This exercise is an effective all-rounder workout for your whole body. Plus, the great thing about running is that you don’t have to be an expert to do it, and you can weave it into any fitness regime.

    On the contrary, though, if you’re not blessed with beautiful outdoors or space around you, running can become monotonous, a bit like it’s part of your daily chores. 

    One way to change the common misconception about dreary, time-consuming, dull long runs is by using a treadmill and implementing interval and sprint training into your routine. 

    What is interval and sprint training? 

    Interval training 

    If you’re looking to make running more fun and time to pass quickly, you can always incorporate interval training into your routine. This type of training involves running for several high-intensity minutes, switching to low-intensity runs following it and then repeating the process. 

    The purpose of this type of training is to help increase your aerobic and anaerobic fitness. These workouts also take less time to do and burn just as many calories, if not more, than long runs at the same pace. Interval training is perfect for you to do on the treadmill if you’re short on time.

    Want to read more about the differences between HIIT and LIIT then check out our article here.

    Example of an interval workout on a treadmill:

    To give you an idea of what an interval workout looks like, here is an example you might want to try:

    • Briskly walk on the treadmill, progressing to a slow jog for the first 10 minutes.
    • Run at 10 mph for 30-60 seconds.
    • Walk at 3.5-4mph for 2 minutes.
    • Repeat this 7 more times.

    Sprint training

    Sprint training involves you running fast at high speed for a short period of time (around 20-30 minutes) to help boost your endurance levels. Plus it also helps build fat, burn muscle and boost your basal metabolic rate. Sprint training is great to do on treadmills as you’re in control of your movements, you don’t have to worry about running into anyone, and you can stop your running at any time. Plus, you can choose whether you want to run on an incline or not. 

    Example of speed training on the treadmill

    Here is an example of how you incorporate speed training on the treadmill:

    • 30 seconds of fast running)
    • 30 seconds of active rest i.e. walking
    • 45 seconds of fast running 
    • 45 seconds of rest
    • 1 minute of running
    • 1 minute of rest
    • Repeat this 3-5 more times up to 23 minutes in total. 

    How often should I work on speed training?

    Depending on the reason you want to run, you might want to add in speed training on the treadmill a few times in your week. In particular, if you’re planning on running for an upcoming race, then you should plan to add it in around 2-4 times a week. If you do it for this amount of time, you will allow your body to adjust and develop muscle memory quickly. 

    How can I increase my speed? 

    While running is a natural exercise anyone can do, it takes time, practice and consistency to increase your speed. Don’t worry though, you can easily increase your speed on the treadmill, but you must be prepared to alternate between your pace. 

    When increasing your speed on the treadmill, give yourself ample time between each set for rest and rest days, so your body can get adjusted to the pace.

    Are there specific speed-focused workouts that I can do? 

    One of the most beneficial aspects of using a treadmill is that many modern ones come with pre built-in programs to help increase your speed. This means you don’t have to spend much time worrying about ways to make you run faster. On the contrary, though, if you want a manual routine, you can try implementing the following workouts: 

    Less is more 

    When running on the treadmill, distance isn’t always everything. The best way to get faster is doing short workouts over an increased speed. Generally, this workout involves you running from a time of 5-15 seconds maximum. To do less is more, you will need to do the following:

    • Set the treadmill up to 75%
    • Sprint for 5-10 seconds, then rest for 20-30 seconds
    • Repeat the above and gradually add 0.5-1mph for each set
    • Do this 2-6 times with 2 minutes to rest after each set 

     Generic interval workout

    Another great way you can increase doing your speed is by doing a standard interval workout such as the following:

    • 3 min active warmup doing high knees, leg swings, butt kicks and more
    • Light 5 min run slightly faster than a jog a 1% incline
    • 2 minutes fast pace
    • 1 minute recovery walk or jog
    • 2 minutes fast pace
    • 1 minute recovery walk or jog
    • 2 minutes fast pace
    • 1 minute recovery walk or jog
    • 2 minutes fast pace
    • 1 minute recovery walk or jog
    •  After every 4 rounds, take a long 3 minute walk or light walk on the treadmill
    • Once done finish off with a light jog for 3 minutes to act as a cool down

    How can I increase my speed for specific sports? 

    Treadmills are so versatile; they can help better your running and even speed in certain sports such as:

    • Football: Do sets of sprints on the treadmill to allow you to accelerate quickly on the field
    • Tennis: Practice sprints across a period of intervals so you can quickly move on the court
    • Basketball: A treadmill can increase your need to run in basketball with less impact on your knees.

    Final thoughts

    Overall, these are just a few out of many sports in which treadmills can complement your speed and agility. The beauty of a treadmill is that you can improve your cardiovascular endurance and fitness goals from your gym or your home. Most treadmills nowadays also come with built-in features and digital displays, allowing you to undergo various programmes. 

    Basically, they’re great pieces of equipment to have because you’re in full control of your workout and can use them anywhere. But you don’t wanna just purchase any treadmill, though. Ideally, you should take time to make an informed decision before buying. To help you with this, check out our treadmill buying guide

    To take a look at our full product range, check out our store. Or for more expert exercise information, check out our features hub.

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