Three Ways To Take Your Treadmill Workout Up A Notch

I am all about running outside. I love it. For me being in nature is the best form of therapy out there. I like the sun on my face, the wind on my back, the change in terrain and taking the scenery in.

BUT there are times (icy roads, frigid temparatures, torrential downpours when I simply need to rely on the treadmill. If you’re like me (or how I used to be) perhaps you tend to hop on the treadmill and hit “quick start” to simply get going. By default this takes you to the “manual” program setting and then you need to adjust speed & grade/incline. Then you plod along maybe even flipping through a magazine until you get bored and decide that it’s ok to cut your workout a little bit short.

Make that mistake no more!!


Here are 3 ways to take your treadmill workout up a notch.

  • Get really clear on how long you want to run for and enter it in the “Time” data setting – don’t skip this step. Here’s why – when you don’t get intentional about how long you want to run it’s easy to negotiate with yourself and start playing mind games. You might start off saying “Ok, this is gonna be a 45 min run” but by 20 minutes you’re feeling bored and so you decide that if you make it to 30 min that’s good enough for today, you can make the rest up tomorrow…or whenever.
  • Change it up – pick a different program setting besides “Manual” The manual setting means you pick the speed and the grade and then it stays constant – kinda what you’d choose for a LSD (long slow distance) run.

But this gets boring! My life changed when I happened to choose the “Random” setting – with this one you have to pick the level (between 1-20) and your speed. One you hit start the grade is the thing that varies and you never know what’s coming next. What I love most is the grade changes every 30 seconds and the little red bars count down in 10 second increments – so you can see when there’s a “hill” coming and you can also see when you’re going to get a break. I love it.

My mantra is “I can do anything for 30 seconds”.

Every workout you can challenge yourself by either keeping the level the same and increasing your speed OR keeping your speed the same and increase the level. And as a bonus – I can burn more calories in 25 minutes at the “random” setting than I can running for 45 minutes on the manual setting – great if you need a quick, effective workout!

  • Training – skip the LSD run and go for intervals. I get bored on a treadmill so I need to keep my workouts interesting. That’s the main reason I love intervals – it allows me to focus and stay engaged with my workout.

For this you would choose the “manual” setting, set the grade to 1 or 1.5* pick an initial speed to warm up with and then increase that speed for your interval keeping the grade constant. The goal is to be breathless on that interval – something that you find challenging.

A great basic interval workout would be:

Warm up 5-10 min

1 min on – 1 min off

2 min on – 1 min off

3 min on – 1 min off

2 min on – 1 min off

1 min – 1 min off

Cool down – 5 minutes

This is a 25 minute workout and it kicks my butt every time! I’d love to hear your favorite running or treadmill workouts – feel free to share in the comments section below.


*settings depend on the type of treadmill you’re using

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By | 2017-10-01T07:50:03-07:00 July 25th, 2013|Energy, Exercise For Weight Loss, Fitness, Keeping Weight Off|5 Comments

About the Author:

Jennifer coaches busy, successful women with imperfect lives who want to look and feel amazing from the inside out. With her tried-and-proven weight loss method—ENERGY to Thrive™—Jennifer takes the fascinating science of physiological transformation and breaks it down into six empowering steps.


  1. Laura July 26, 2013 at 8:59 am - Reply

    I like running outdoors especially at the lake first thing in the morning that really gets me going for the day. I have found though that running is not the best for the knees really tough on them, so I walk a bit then run a bit. I think I will always make running a part of my activities love the feeling!

  2. Tina Gleisner August 5, 2013 at 12:32 pm - Reply

    Jen, I never thought (or explored) the random setting but makes perfect sense as I do get bored much too fast. Thanks for the tip

    • Jennifer Powter August 5, 2013 at 3:49 pm - Reply

      Yes!! Exactly – must prevent boredom. Have no idea why I’d never tried it but it’s my go to setting now!!

  3. Vickson Domue October 7, 2019 at 10:40 am - Reply

    I use treadmill three times a week and then run outdoor 2 times a week. i find it amazing this way

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