No matter how negatively you feel about it, the treadmill is one of the most effective gym tools for torching calories and building endurance. Even die-hard runners don’t much care for running in place. Maybe it’s because a treadmill run has a way of making you feel like you’re working out on an overgrown hamster wheel. Maybe it’s because the person next to you keeps comparing his pace to yours. Maybe it’s just too boring.
Skip the slow and steady pace because it makes all these annoyances seem so much worse. Going for a more intense effort will take your mind off the clock and other distractions while boosting your fitness to a new level. Try these five workouts to look like an elite athlete in no time.
1. Tempo run
This classic workout is the standard for any endurance runner. Tempo runs improve your lactate threshold, the point at which your body exhausts at a given pace, meaning you’ll be able to run faster with less effort. Additionally, they improve your mental toughness because you have to fight through discomfort until the end of the run.
Men’s Fitness recommends a 30-minute workout that includes a 10-minute warm-up, 10 minutes of hard effort, then 10 minutes of cool-down. Nailing the exact pace can be a little bit tricky because it won’t feel very difficult to start. If you’ve ever raced a 5k, aim for a pace slightly quicker than your best time. The goal is to feel challenged, but not spent. Seasoned runners will want their hard segments to be significantly longer, so adjust depending on your fitness level.
If a straightforward tempo sounds like too much to start, try a broken tempo instead. Do the warm-up and cool-down normally, but try two hard segments. Run 5 minutes at a comfortably hard pace, then break for a recovery jog for about 2 minutes before going into the next challenging segment.