Most road runners only turn to the treadmill during bad weather or when they’re travelling, preferring their open spaces to the apparent constraints of a gym. However, there are several ways to tweak your hours at the treadmill to maximize your running capacity – drills and intervals that you may not always be able to practice on open roads. Thanks to the adjustments allowed in incline, speed and time, the treadmill can simulate conditions different from your everyday training and keep your workouts challenging and fun. Keeping in mind that not all gyms let you hog the treadmill for long hours, here are some great 20-30 minute workouts you can try out.

Incline race

Much like an interval workout, this varies your incline level rather than your speed. Begin with your treadmill speed set to half of your best speed and the incline at 3%. Run for 20-30 seconds and then return to normal incline for the next 30 seconds. In the next sequence, repeat the same but this time at 5%, and then & 7%. This set makes up one repetition. Do about 8-10 in total with 5 mins of warm up and cool down. You can even increase each interval time to 1 minute after the first few times.

Speed intervals

Probably one of the simplest ways of working out on a treadmill is by increasing speed gently until you’ve maxed. After a five-minute warm-up, gently increase the pace at set increments e.g. every three minutes or every half a kilometer. Do this until you’re running at 5-K pace and then cool down for 5-8 minutes.


Sprints are similar to intervals, but you need to exhibit an all-out effort and you will need actual rest breaks. After doing a five-minute warm-up jog, turn up the speed so you are in a maximal sprint. Run for 20 seconds, then place your hands on the handrails and lift yourself from the belt. Carefully place your feet on the sides of the belt and rest for 40 seconds. Once your rest break is over, lift yourself back onto the belt, remove your hands from the handrails and sprint again. Repeat this sequence 20 times and finish with a light five-minute cooldown jog.

Hill runs

Hills demand more from the leg muscles and they also cause you to burn higher calories because of the added intensity. After doing a five-minute warm-up run, increase the incline by one percent over the next 10 minutes. As you do this, lower your speed slightly with each rise in incline. Once you get to 10, you should be at a fast walking pace. After this minute is over, reverse the sequence by lowering to the incline and speed each minute. Finish with a light five-minute jog or a brisk walk with the belt flat.

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