Five Workouts Professional Runners Do on the Treadmill

Professional runners like Kara Goucher and Marius Bakken all swear by their favourite treadmill workouts, when going outdoors isn’t feasible. Here are five workouts that work for them, and might work for you. 

The treadmill is no longer a machine for beginners. Professional runners and coaches agree that a treadmill allows you to create specific paces and simulate courses in a controlled environment. Here are some indoor running workouts to inspire you.


The Endless Uphill

An uphill workout is one of the best workouts for professional runners, and a treadmill is the perfect tool when you don’t have a mountain around to run from the bottom to the top and back down. It provides stimulating climbs that help increase the number and type of muscle fibres recruited, and improve the same effort when running on flat ground.

Here’s how to go about it: Set the treadmill incline at 4 to 8 percent grade, and climb long and steady for the next hour. Anything over 8 percent may not make sense since it will feel like climbing, rather than running. This will disrupt your form.   


The Long Run

Did you know a long run on the treadmill is definitely a pro-workout coaches swear by? We mean a really long run, at marathon pace, where runners are on the treadmill for 20 to 30 minutes longer than they would be in a marathon.

Use a site like, and print out an elevation chart. Match the race course’s terrain with your run mile for mile. The idea is to keep the pace comfortable but steady, without changing speeds when elevating the treadmill bed.


Increasing Pace Tempo

Tempo runs help increase your lactate threshold, and the treadmill is ideal for this running workout. Wonder why? Unlike running outdoors, here you do not have to think about how to pick up the pace or maintain this pace: the treadmill does it for you! American long distance runner Kara Goucher vouches this as one of her favourites!

Here’s how to do it: Choose a sustained speed, midway between your jogging pace and sprinting pace. The idea is to get your body to run relatively fast for long periods of time. You will realise that a treadmill workout allows you to maintain a consistent pace, which would have been harder to do when doing the workout outdoors.


Interval Training

Treadmill workouts can get a tad monotonous, especially if you aren’t staring outdoors into something scenic! So interval training is perhaps the best running exercise on the treadmill! Try running in short intervals, increasing the speed with each repetition to make it fun!

Runners like Marius Bakken swear by intervals when doing treadmill running. Often, continuous running gives the muscles too much of a static impact. So, increasing the pace by tiny margins allows the body to get through most of the physiological zones.

Some tips: Start at a pace 30 seconds lower than a recovery pace, run one minute and then back off to a recovery pace for 30 seconds. Continue increasing the speed each interval, till you reach the 5K pace. 


Treadmill Lactate Flushing

The lactate-flushing workout is ideal for athletes to practice pace control and work muscles in a number of ways. Keep the lactate-threshold speed as a starting point, and float up and down in speed at predetermined levels, going as fast as 4-mile race pace while recovering no lower than the marathon pace.

The idea is you get a flushing effect of the lactate when you touch down to low speeds, but not all the way down to recovery pace.


A treadmill workout allows you to maintain a consistent pace, which would have been harder to do when doing the workout outdoors.


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LIV3LY Editor
LIV3LY Editor

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