The Ultimate Treadmill Training Programme

Looking to start treadmill running - in the gym or at home - and  looking for advice on pace, programmes, incline and the speed you need to run at? Here's how to get the hang of it quickly and fuss-free!


So you're ready to start treadmill running? The tempo of your training will be dictated by your objectives.

You should split your sessions into three phases (warm-up/run/cool-down), much in the same way as an outdoor run.

Here are those three phases in detail:


1. The Warm-up: A Brisk Walking Pace

Whether you're just starting out or an experienced runner, you should always warm-up by walking briskly. 

Your body needs to adapt to the treadmill and you need a few minutes to get your body position right.

Take five to ten minutes to warm up before every training session. 

Take the time to find the right position in the middle of the treadmill, keep a straight posture, engage your abdominal muscles and look straight ahead.

If you are not yet confident enough on the machine, then hold on to the handrails until you get your balance.



Once you've warmed up, you're ready to get running.

Before you start your run, set the incline of the treadmill in line with your objectives, the amount of effort you want to put in and your ability.

The steeper the incline, the more you will work your thighs, hamstrings and calves.

If you want to do cardio work, then you'll need to regulate the speed. Just bear in mind that you should never feel out of breath.

Whatever your objective is, run at a comfortable speed, at a pace that allows you to breathe easily. This will help you make better progress over time.

In terms of speed, treadmill running feels different from running outdoors. Treadmill running is easier because you're running on a flat surface.

You'll need to set the incline to 1 to 2% to recreate the same conditions you would find running outdoors on even ground.

To train effectively and achieve your goals (weight loss, stamina or toning), you need to spend 20 to 45 minutes running. .

Take little sips of water throughout your run.

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3. The Cool-Down: Catch Your Breath and Have a Good Stretch

Well done! You've given it your all and you can be proud of your performance.

It's time to lower your heart rate and bring your body back to a state of calm. Take five to ten minutes to cool down.

Make sure you return the incline to where it was for the warm-up and bring the speed back down to a brisk walking pace.

You should do some stretching too. It will stop you feeling stiff and it also loosens up all the muscles you've used (thighs, hamstrings, glutes, adductors, abductors).



Programme: 45 minutes / Treadmill incline: between 1 and 2%

Start off with a ten-minute warm-up walk at a speed of 4km/h

Then run for 20 minutes at a speed of 7-8km/h

Cool down for five to ten minutes at the warm-up speed of 4km/h.

How often? 

two to three times a week. Run one day and rest the next.



Programme: 1 hour 15 mins / Treadmill incline: to be varied between the warm-up and the run

Start off with a ten-minute warm-up walk at a speed of 5km/h and an incline of 5%

Then run for 45 minutes at a speed of 5 to 6.5km/h. 

Set the treadmill incline to between 8 and 15%, depending on your physical fitness.

Cool down for five to ten minutes at the warm-up speed of 5km/h.

Reduce the incline to 1% to help bring your heart rate back down.

How often? 

Three times a week. Run one day and rest the next.



Programme: 1 hour / Treadmill incline: between 1 and 2%

Start your ten-minute warm-up walk at a speed of 4km/h. Increase the pace gradually

Then run for 40 minutes at a speed of 10km/h

Give yourself five to ten minutes to cool down: gradually bring the speed back down to the warm-up pace of 4km/h.

How often? 

Three times a week. Run one day and rest the next.



If you train only in the gym or at home, you should do three treadmill sessions a week. 

If you're planning to run outdoors too, then focus on doing two treadmill sessions a week.


One of the good things about treadmill running is that you can train all year round, running at a moderate pace in each session.

You should try to break up your routine, though, by doing some interval training and also changing the treadmill incline to test yourself and keep progressing.

Work on your stamina and mix up your training by alternating sessions. F

or a typical one-hour session, for example, you could run for 30 minutes on the treadmill and do 2 x 20-minute blocks of cross-training, rowing or cycling.

So are you ready now to give treadmill running a go? Good luck!

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