How to Triumphantly Train on your Treadmill

Recently, I was interviewed by NordicTrack as part of their series on treadmill running along with several other running bloggers! If you’ve been following my training over the last few months, you know that I used the treadmill as a (very helpful) tool to get speed work and runs in during the hot, humid summer here in South Carolina. Although winter is the best time of year for running here in the South, I know the situation is the opposite for many of my northern friends! If you’ve got serious spring time goals but have the cold and ice to contend with as a barrier, check out these tips from NordicTrack. Note: this post is not sponsored – I just want to share it since I participated in the project! Check out the full article here.


Running on a treadmill is not ideal for many long-distance runners. But there are plenty of times when runners can’t cut loose and run outside. Although the reasons can vary, one thing is clear – treadmills can play a key role in helping a runner reach their goals. To give some insight on how to better take on treadmill running, NordicTrack joined with some of the best competition-level runners who train on treadmills. Whether you need entertainment ideas, a brand-new training regimen, or just a boost to your running focus, then keep reading!


Your Expert Running Bloggers

Antonio Vega – Minneapolis Running | Zoom Performance

Danielle Cemprola – T-Rex Runner

MK Fleming – Another Mother Runner

Laura Norris – This Runner’s Recipes

Marie Bean – Lazy Runner

Lauren Abbott – | Treadmill Reviews

How Treadmills Can Benefit Your Next Race

Taking a closer look at how a treadmill can improve your competition running times, we have asked our expert running friends. Here is what several other of our experienced treadmill runners had to say about how to best utilize your home treadmill:


“ … Treadmills are fantastic tools and should be embraced! I get that it’s cool to hate on the treadmill, but it’s even cooler to embrace it… Here’s why:

  • Treadmills tend to be located in controlled environments.
  • The biggest setback to training plans is injury.
  • When it’s stupid hot outside, do you really want to risk running in 95+ degree heat and dehydrating or getting heat stroke?
  • Does your race have hills?
  • For many of my clients with demanding jobs, small children, or visual/auditory impairments, the treadmill in their basement is a solid guarantee that the run will get done


T-REX RUNNER: Danielle Cemprola

“ … As someone who runs very poorly in the heat and humidity of South Carolina summers, I often see my training drop off massively this time of year… I wanted to focus on speed work this summer, and it just didn’t seem realistic to think I was going to have success at tough workouts when the temperatures and the humidity are in the upper 90’s! … Constantly changing up my pace keeps things interesting, and being indoors means I can push myself much harder than I would be able to outside. This summer, I ran a half marathon having not done a run over 6 miles for more than two months beforehand … I attribute that directly to being able to run on the treadmill and improve my fitness at a time in my life when I normally am the most out of shape … ”


“ … I have always found that running on the treadmill has kept me honest both on my pacing and the distance that I run. Most runners, including myself, always tend to push the recovery pace or run further than intended. I have always found that when I run on the treadmill, I will never run further then I plan and the pace tends to be a true recovery pace … “


“I prefer to use the treadmill for speed and tempo work. It is perfect for that sort of training. It has all the gadgets to let you know how you are going with your pace during your run, and you can also see how you are doing every step of the way … ”

Expert Treadmill Running Tips

Below are the training schedules our competitive runners found most effective with workout tips. With their advice, you can improve your running stamina, strength, and speed!


“One of the tempo workouts I do for myself and the runners I coach on the treadmill is ascending and descending tempos. Meaning you run faster and faster until you are running as fast as you can then you start to slow down until you are back to normal pace…”

T-REX RUNNER: Danielle Cemprola

“For me personally, I find that constantly changing up my pace is key to keeping my interest on the treadmill. I start at a 1-2% incline to simulate the friction of the road, and do a 1-mile warmup before focusing on speed. I love to do quarter-mile intervals at progressively faster paces with a quarter mile of recovery in between. Recently, I’ve started doing half-mile progressive intervals with a quarter-mile recovery. I find that more challenging mentally, but it’s a great workout! ”


“ … Once I started incorporating weight lifting and intentionally building the muscles in my body (and my legs in particular), I realized the huge positive effect it was having on my running. This helped me to push past my running plateau, and now I run and lift on a semi regular schedule each week … ”

Focused Training When Using A Treadmill

To make the most of your treadmill, you need to have a specific goal and focus when training. Our running pros have had to identify their running focuses and have advice for how others can find their individual focus.


“Since gym treadmills might not be perfectly calibrated, I focus on perceived effort over pace on the treadmill … If I am training for a race, I replicate my planned workout on the treadmill with some tweaks to prevent boredom. If I am not training for a race, I use the treadmill as an opportunity to have fun with a workout that is normally not part of my routine … ”


“This always depends on the race that I am training for. If I am training for a longer race like a marathon or a half marathon, I try to focus on hydrating while running. If I am getting ready for a shorter race, I tend to focus more on form and staying relaxed at a faster pace, as this is what I generally try to do when I am running outside.”



“I have had 3 babies in the past 5 years, and have leaned heavily on treadmills during that time! … Each time it’s taken at least 18 months for my body to find that same familiarity once more. At the beginning of each training cycle, I do my first few tempo runs on the treadmill to get familiar with a specific pace and effort levels that feel like before I set loose on the roads … ”

Love Your Treadmill Running

While you’re training hard, the newness of treadmill usage can keep you focused. But as time wears on, you will likely need something to keep you entertained on the treadmill, especially as your treadmill runs become longer. Here are some ideas our pro blogging runners have used to enjoy their time on the treadmill:


“ … I play with my pace a bit. I try to push myself to run faster in short increments, going up and up and up until I feel I cannot run any faster. Then I try to maintain that pace for as long as I can. When I am feeling like I am going to fly off the back of the treadmill, I start to decrease the speed slowly until I get back to my normal pace and then cool down… The time goes very fast when I run on the treadmill this way.”


“I like to bounce between a running playlist that I’ve made as well as podcasts. I found that if I start my run by listening to a podcast, I’m more capable of setting a maintainable pace…”


“ … I like to do fun workouts on the treadmill, including interval runs and hill workouts. One of my favorite treadmill workouts is a variation of hill repeats that utilizes different grades from 0% incline (to mimic downhill) to 6% incline …

While I opt to run without headphones outdoors, I rely on podcasts, audiobooks, and music to entertain me during a treadmill run. My favorite running podcasts include Running for Real with Tina Muir, Diz Runs with… Radio, and I’ll Have Another with Lindsey Hein … ”


“ … What has worked for me is to watch infomercials as it is a great way to watch something mindless, and you don’t need to pay to close of attention to know what is going on.”

Treadmill training can sometimes be rough, but that can be remedied. Developing a strong routine, planning ahead, and setting targeted objectives before every session is crucial to improvement. Your treadmill can be the key to running breakthroughs if you utilize it correctly.

NordicTrack is grateful for the cooperation from these expert runners. We hope you have found some inspiration as well as motivation to plan and engage in some great treadmill training!