Treadmills are the go-to cardio machine for a number of reasons; one of the most popular being for the number of different exercise variations available to you. Finding a routine that is right for you can take some time experimenting with speed and incline. As you get familiar with treadmill training you may begin to wonder how long you should run for.
The duration of your treadmill workout will depend on your fitness level and your goals. Maintaining a steady pace and proper form is important to monitor during your run, you should never extend your run to the point where you are struggling to maintain good running form. A good way to increase the duration of your run is by following the 10% rule. Increasing the length of your run by 10% each week will make longer runs easier to complete.
How long you spend on the treadmill depends on the type of workout you are completing. For example, a HIIT workout should be shorter than a steady-state walk. Your fitness goal will also factor in, for weight loss it is best to train for longer as this equivalates to more calories burned.
If your goal is to maintain the fitness level you are at or get in your recommended amount of daily exercise then the treadmill will do just that. 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of intensive aerobic activity per week is suggested to maintain your current weight. Going for a brisk walk or jog on the treadmill 3-4 times a week for 30-45 minutes will be enough to stay healthy and fit.
If you are a beginner with little experience running, start off by jogging at a slow and comfortable pace incorporating regular walking intervals for 15-20 minutes a few times a week. If you want a longer workout with more intensity, a steady-state run or incline walk is the way to go. Try 30 minutes for a moderate intensity workout such as jogging or incline walking, otherwise 40 minutes for a low intensity walk.
Going for a walk or light jog on the treadmill is also a great way to warm up or cool down before strength training. This type of aerobic exercise will loosen your muscles and prepare you for the bulk of your workout. In these instances, only 5-10 minutes of low intensity treadmill exercise is recommended. If your treadmill warm up is high intensity you could risk burning out before you even start your workout.
If your goal is weight loss, High-intensity interval training (HIIT) should be incorporated into your treadmill routine. HIIT is a popular type of exercise that combines short bursts of high-speed runs with intermittent rest breaks. Interval training is effective in burning a high number of calories in a shorter period of time.
If you are starting out with HIIT training, a 10-minute session is a good starting length. As you gain confidence increase your duration to 15-20 minutes. Since a HIIT workout requires you to work harder and exert more energy, you’ll want to keep these workouts shorter at maximum of 20 minutes. The intervals themselves should involve running for a minute at a high speed then slowing down to a walk for 1 minute, then repeating for 10-20 minutes. If this interval is too difficult try completing a 30 second run and 2-minute walk. Slowly increasing the running intervals will help you improve your stamina so you can shed more calories in your workout. Due to the high impact nature of HIIT workouts it is common for people to overdo it, completing a HIIT workout 3-4 times per week will offer fantastic weight loss results.
Although treadmills are commonly known for their weight loss benefits, they are also great machines for increasing your strength. Running involves many muscles in your body, it can improve your core strength as well as tone the muscles in your lower body such as your calves, glutes and hamstrings. Running at a moderate to vigorous pace will activate these muscle groups.
Adding incline is a great way to add intensity to your workout as walking on an incline encourages your legs to work against the resistance. If you are new to incline walking start at a brisk walking pace typically between 4km/h - 5km/h then increase your resistance to level 5-7. Aim for at least 5 minutes on an incline before lowering your running belt back to flat, next interval try increasing the incline even more. Completing intervals will help you increase your confidence in inline walking and allow you to make increments along the way. More experienced users can complete an entire workout on an incline. Depending on the intensity of your incline, this workout can be completed from 20-40 minutes.
Training for a Race
Preparing for a charity race or marathon? A treadmill is the perfect tool for preparing for long distance runs. When training for long runs, aim to run for at least the distance of the race. If the upcoming race is 10km, be prepared to run for at least 10km on the treadmill to prepare. Building up your treadmill running to exceed the length of the race will make race day easier as you’ve already run a distance longer than the race. Since running on a treadmill is slightly easier than running outside, increasing your running distance will help cater to the more challenging terrain of outdoor running. If you know the race will involve hills, adding incline to your treadmill workout will help further replicate the outdoor course. As you practice, your running time will improve.
Many Lifespan Fitness treadmills have workout programs that allow you to select a pre-set course or make a custom one, this eliminates the need to manually adjust your speed and incline as the treadmill automatically adjusts according to your course. These programs vary in duration and intensity so you can find a course that is most accurate to your actual run.
Whether you are looking to maintain your current fitness level, lose weight, build strength or train for a race, a Lifespan Fitness treadmill can help you achieve these goals. If you are new to treadmill training it is recommended to take it slow then steadily increase your duration as you progress. Over time you will be well versed in all the functions of the treadmill and be on your way to smashing your fitness goals.