Running on a treadmill is a reality that many outdoor runners have grappled with for years. For those who like to feel the fresh air while running, a treadmill just does not cut it. However in the winter months, even the most outdoorsy runner would not mind a spot on the treadmill. It’s not just safer than running outside – hello, slippery ice – but you can actually turn the “dreadmill” into a fun, engaging way to do your workout. All you need is a bit of variety in your workouts to cut through the monotony. These three treadmill variations are exactly that:

The Ramp
The human body is amazing; make it workout excessively in a short span and you would find it revolting. However, build up the intensity gradually, and your body will embrace the extra work and make it easier for you. That’s the idea behind the ramp workout on a treadmill. Start you run at an easy pace of 5-6 kmph for 10 minutes. After that has warmed you up, increase the pace by 2 kmph every 3 minutes or shorter, depending on your run. Want a bigger workout? Raise the inclination while you ramp up the speed at each stage. After finishing your target time, bring your speed back down gradually, and finish with the same easy paced run for 5 minutes.

That routine over time will build up your endurance like no regular daily run can. The biggest benefit will be seen in an active race or competitive run scenario, when you will find that you are actually running fast even though you are tired.

The Jukebox
We are just making up these names but the idea behind these names is that they remain easy to recall. What’s a Jukebox? Well, simply set a playlist (mobiefit Run’s native music player works very well for this) that is a mix of hi-tempo and low-tempo tracks. Then run as if you are matching the tempo of the track. Typically you can set the playlist to simply alternate between tracks, but for a real ‘surprise’ workout, set it to shuffle and you can use the same playlist for different speed intervals workouts each time.

A treadmill lends itself to various routines and drills
A treadmill lends itself to various routines and drills

This is Fartlek reimagined for the treadmill set. In a competitive run, you will find that your practice of alternating speeds means you can take it up a gear or slow down as per the conditions and situation of the race.

The Rollercoaster
This is our most challenging treadmill workout – both because of its complexity and the fact that you would need to fiddle with the treadmill settings a lot more. It’s great for those practicing for short trail runs such as 10Ks.

Like in the Jukebox, set a playlist that is a mix of hi-tempo and low-tempo tracks. To keep things simple, set them to alternate between each other. Run at a high speed for the fast tracks and go easy for the slower tracks. But at the same time increase and decrease the inclination of the treadmill. Go uphill on fast tracks and run downhill/flat on slower tracks. You can even increase the belt resistance during high-tempo tracks to boost your speed.

The chief goal of treadmill workouts is to simulate race day conditions, where you may not be familiar with the route. But your body has to be agile in responding to any challenges or surprises along the way. Our three treadmill workouts are building muscle memory in your body to be able to deal with them smoothly. Structured runs just can’t do the same. It’s not as fun, but a treadmill workout is sometimes exactly what you need.

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