August 14


FREE Treadmill Running Plan for All Fitness Levels

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One of the most popular machines in a gym is the treadmill. It is simple to use, far easier to work than some of the more complex machines you might find. There isn't any complicated technique to learn either - we all know how to run. We may not however know how to plan our treadmill running so we can improve our fitness in the best way possible.

Isn't it just a case of jumping on, hitting 'start' and off you go? Well yes and no.

You certainly can, but as with all aspects in fitness - if you want to improve your treadmill running, it's better to have a plan.


The Basics of Treadmill Running

Treadmills are easy to use. You are the boss. You are the one in control when you use them. They will do exactly what you tell them to. Running outside doesn't offer the same kind of control.

Treadmill Form - key points to think about

The treadmill really allows you to think about where your head should be. You should be looking comfortably into the level distance, like watching the horizon. If you're aimed at a television, make sure you don't have to look up or down. Try not to clench your jaw.

From there, work down your body; loose, relaxed shoulders are key. Don't hunch and bring them up to your next. Allow your shoulder blades to comfortably slide behind your ribs.

Next, are your arms - they can help maintain good core strength if used correctly. They should be loose with unclenched fists. Try to swing them back and forward rather than across your body.

A good core workout will enable you to keep upright. Run tall.

Your Free Treadmill Running Program explained

Treadmill Running Plan Paces

Easy Runs

Used to build basic fitness and recovery from harder training. You should be able to talk fairly easily, if slightly breathlessly, for a couple of sentences at a time.

Steady Running

Used to build aerobic fitness and conditioning. You can still speak a sentence or two at a time.

Tempo Running

A very effective way of building fitness and burning calories. That being said, more recovery is needed after these demanding sessions. Speech will be in short sentences and there will be a feeling of discomfort.

Interval Training

This is intensive work with efforts of no more than a maximum of 5 minutes with recovery in between. You won't want to be speaking!

The Free Treadmill Workouts

Try to complete all sessions more than once. Feel free to change them slightly to introduce variety to your treadmill running plan. 

Start with Sessions 1 and 2, then progress to session 3 and finally to session 4. 

In between sessions 3 and 4, return to doing sessions 1 and 2 to help build your base fitness. As you progress, you will start to see improvements but never expect every session to always be better than the one before. 

Whatever your level of fitness, aim to alternate the harder and easier sessions. This allows you to achieve the appropriate level of intensity on the harder sessions.

Your treadmill running plan is easily customisable and can be adapted as your fitness levels and running experience improve.

Free beginner training program heading image with green treadmill image

Beginner Treadmill Running Plan

Session 1

Easy Run

Get used to running and think about your technique.

Start off at a controlled pace - this could be fast walking if that's what you are comfortable with.

Try to maintain constant effort for 20 - 30 minutes

Even if your pace feels slow, just focus on continuous, constant but honest effort spread evenly over the session.

Session 2

Steady Run

This will be slightly faster than the easy run

Look to stay controlled. Aim to work for 30 minutes but include walking breaks if you need them.

Spread any walking breaks evenly, rather than running to exhaustion and then taking a breather.

For example; run 3 minutes and walk 1. As you progress move to 4 minutes running and 1 minute of walking.

Session 3

Upping the Tempo

Time for a gentle introduction to tempo running. After 5 minutes of walking and light jogging, run 3 blocks of 5 minutes at a pace you find yourself getting quite breathless.

You should not be flat out, instead think 'uncomfortable.'

In between these 5 minute blocks, walk or jog slowly for 2 minutes. Finish with 5 minutes walking and light jogging.

Session 4

Introducing Speed

Speed is all relative. You don't need to be breaking world records.

Start with 5 minutes of easy running.

Then run 10 efforts of 1 minute at a fast pace. Have 2 minutes of walking or very easy jogging in between efforts.

The 1 minute efforts should all be quite hard but aim to spread your effort evenly between them.

After you have done the 10 intervals, get your breath back and jog slowly for 5 minutes to warm down.

There you go - 3 separate treadmill running plans suitable for all fitness levels. You might be a beginner now, but as your fitness improves, you can progress onto the intermediate and advanced programs. 

In a few months, your treadmill running will have improved dramatically. Not to mention your overall fitness too.

New to running altogether, or want to move on to the great outdoors? Have a read through these tips for getting started with a running program for the complete beginner.

Happy running!

Paul Stokes Perth Personal Trainer Sports Nutritionist Group Fitness Instructor Massage Therapist

About the author

Paul Stokes

Paul Stokes BSc (Hons) is a Certified Personal Trainer, Accredited Sports Nutritionist, qualified Exercise to Music Instructor, Precision Nutrition coach, Massage Therapist and teaches 8 of the Les Mills Group Exercise programs.

He currently works in the Oil & Gas industry as a Wellness Coach, imparting his vast knowledge and experience to improve the quality of life of several hundred offshore workers.

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