Winter weather can force even the most dedicated outdoor runners onto the treadmill, but that doesn't mean you have to slog out six miles while half-watching the news. Justin Senense, a private trainer at Rich Barretta studios in New York City, showed us four ways to make running in place a little more interesting—and just as effective as a loop in the park.
The Workout: Interval Sprints
"If you can keep running after your sprint, you're not going hard enough," Senense says of this workout, which gets your heart pumping by alternating 30-second intervals of going all-out with 30 seconds of recovery. It’s a short routine that's especially effective combined with a strength training session or the day after a long run.
Get on it: Set the treadmill to a 2.0 incline; run 30 seconds as fast as you possibly can; walk for 30 seconds. More advanced runners can crank it up to one or two-minute intervals, with a one-minute recovery in between sets. Not sure what your sprint pace should be? Start on the slow side, then up the pace a few notches each interval. You should be running so fast that maintaining that speed for longer than your chosen interval time feels impossible.
The Workout: Squats and Lunges between Intervals
Incorporating squats and lunges into a treadmill routine is one of the best ways to mimic the way your muscles will feel on, say, mile 18 of a marathon, Senense says. "You're getting the lactic acid build-up and learning how to push through that."
Get on it: Senense recommends splitting up a run into two parts (a mile-long hill routine or interval sprints would work well) and doing some lunges and squats when you’re halfway through your workout. The key: Return to the treadmill right away. If your legs are shaky, that means it’s working.
Squats: 3 sets of 10; at the end of each set, hold the pose for 10 seconds
Lunges: 3 sets of 5 on each leg; hold the pose for 10 seconds at the end of each set
The Workout: Alternate Inclines
The best part about this hill workout: You only need to run two miles to get your blood pumping. "If someone's trying to hit a target mile time, this is a great workout," Senense says.
Get on it:
- Pick your target mile pace, and set the speed slightly slower. "You want to ease into it. You don't want to tap out," Senense says.
- Alternate the incline every minute. A good pattern: 5.0, 7.0, 10.0, and back down to 5.0 by the end.
- Increase your speed throughout the workout so that you hit your target mile pace. The goal: the final, low-incline minute will feel super speedy—and you'll pick up some time.
- Repeat once.
The Workout: Side-Shuffles and Backward Running
You might get a few stares running backward on the treadmill, but that's a fair price to pay for the benefits of this routine. It's softer on the feet but still manages to get your heart rate up and tire out your calves, Senense says.
Get on it:
- Set the treadmill incline somewhere between 5.0 and 8.0 (advanced runners: aim for 10).
- Stand sideways on the treadmill and hold onto the bar. Set the speed slow (between 2.5 and 4.5 MPH is a good starting point for newbies) and do a side shuffle for 30 seconds.
- Flip over to the other side of the treadmill for another 30 seconds; you'll probably notice that the move feels more natural on one side.
- Stand backward and stay closer to the front of the machine than you normally would—your butt should almost touch the bar. Run backward for 30 seconds (it's harder than it looks!).
- Face forward and jog it out for 30 seconds.
- Change the incline to 0 and sprint for 30 seconds.