Treadmill Workouts For Winter Training

Treadmill Workouts For Winter Training

Marathon Training on a treadmill

When you buy something using the retail links in our stories, we may earn a small commission. Middleagemarathoner does not accept money for editorial gear reviews.


Many people don’t like treadmill running.  I have a number of friends & clients who claim they hate the treadmill and will go to almost any length to avoid them. However, as winter approaches, the days get shorter and outside conditions get worse, running on a treadmill provides a safe and convenient alternative from the worst of winter. I find treadmill training fits very nicely into my training during winter months when I’m pressed for time or it’s either early in the morning or later in the evening.  In the following video and below, I describe some treadmill workouts I use and recommend to runners whom I coach.

Treadmill running can be completed at your gym, hotel fitness center or in your own home, if you have the money and space for something as big a treadmill (see below for information on treadmill reviews)

Before you start any of these workouts, I recommend that you complete a brief warm-up of lunges and leg swings. Click the link to see a video where I show how to properly conduct this simple, yet important warm-up routine. Once complete, begin each workout with approximately 10 minutes on the treadmill as discussed below.

The first workout is a beginner’s stamina workout.
I recommend that you start here if you’re just beginning your training plan or if you don’t have much experience on a treadmill. The duration of this workout is 20 minutes. You can increase it to 30 minutes by adding 10 minutes to stressful running.

1) Start with a 10 minute warm-up at a comfortable/jogging pace
a) Next set the incline to 1% and keep it at this incline for the duration of the workout.
b) Increase the speed of the treadmill to 6.5, 7.0 or 7.5. Keep it at this speed for 2:30. If you can’t keep up with the fast speed you’ve set, then try a speed .3-.5 less, just make sure you are breathing hard (but not labored).
c) After 2 ½ minutes, decrease the speed by 1.0 and keep it there for 2 ½ minutes
d) After 2 ½ minutes at the lower speed, go ahead and increase the speed back up to where you were before for another 2 ½ minutes. You should now be at 17.5 minutes total and have completed 1 ½ circuits alternating hard/medium effort with 1% incline.
e) Finish your workout with 2 ½ – 5 minutes at your comfortable pace and 0% incline.

2) To increase the duration of this workout, simply continue rotating hard, then medium paced intervals for 2 ½ minutes each while keeping the incline at 1%.

3) To add variation to this workout, you can increase the incline by 1% for each hard/medium circuit. You’ll notice that it really starts to get hard when you exceed 5% incline.

The second workout is for speed.  You’re not going to have any incline, so you’ll keep it at 0%. The focus is on speed. Time to complete this workout is 25 minutes.

After completing lunges and leg swings, step on the treadmill and start with a 10 minute warm-up at a comfortable/jogging pace
a) Next increase the speed of the treadmill to 8 or 9 or whatever really fast pace you can handle for 30 seconds.
b) After 30 seconds decrease speed to 4.5 or 5.5. Whichever is slightly comfortable, but allows you to recover for 1 minute.
c) Next increase back up to your really fast speed for 30 seconds.
d) Continue to alternate fast/easy for 9 minutes (this means 6 hard circuits + 6 rest circuits)
e) Finish with 6 minutes at comfortable/jogging pace.

winter treadmill training for runners

biggest running challenge
The third workout is like a pyramid. We’re going to steadily increase the incline throughout the workout. This is a tough workout, so I recommend that you’re able to complete the 1st two treadmill workouts before you attempt this one.

1) After completing lunges, leg swings and a 10 minute warm-up, run at a steady pace (5-7 depending on your ability) for 1 minute each @ 4, 5 and 6% incline. After 3 minutes, bring the incline back down to 2% and complete a 2 ½ minute recovery jog at 4-6 pace.

2) After the 1st set, complete the next part of the pyramid by running for 1 minute each at 5,6 and then 7% incline. After 3 minutes, complete recovery jog as before for 2 ½ minutes.

3) Complete sets 3-5 as follows:
a) 1 minute each @ 6, 7 and 8% incline followed by 2 ½ minute recovery @ jog
b) 1 minute each @ 5, 6, and 7% incline followed by 2 ½ minute recovery @ jog
c) 1 minute each @ 4, 5, and 6% incline followed by 2 ½ minute recovery @ jog

4) Finish the workout with 5 minute recovery jog (added to the 2 ½ minutes for total of 7 minutes of recovery.

If you’re interested in purchasing your own treadmill, you may be wondering which one is best.  I think it really depends on your needs, budget, space available and how much you intend to use the machine. The people at recently reached out to me and told me how they spent six weeks testing and evaluating 65 treadmills currently available. They consulted with various experts and ultimately compiled four stand out recommendations: best for walkers, training, runners, and best entertainment features. Their findings have been published. Click here to get details.

BONUS:  2 More Treadmill Workouts

1) Short Intervals (repeats) – following are 3 different workouts that can be combined in any way to make a longer workout. I would only combine the workouts, if can’t access the track or marked trails due to weather.  These workouts are short (time it takes to complete), so they’re perfect for busy people. The longer intervals will do a great job at building your stamina.

a) 10-15 minute warm up at an easy pace (5 – 6) – start with 10 x 1 minute at “ON” or 5-10K pace, then 1 minute at “OFF” (very easy) to add difficulty, increase to 15 x 1 minute intervals – finish with 10 minute cool down at an easy pace (5 – 6).
b) 10-15 minute warm up at an easy pace (5 – 6) – start with 8 x 400m or 1/4 mile at 5-10K pace with 400m or 1/4 mile at easy pace to add difficulty, add 4 more 400m for total of 12 – finish with 10 minute cool down at an easy pace (5 – 6).
c) 10-15 minute warm up at an easy pace (5 – 6) – start with 2 sets of 1 minute fast (half marathon pace) then 1 minute faster (10K pace) then 1 minute fastest (5K pace) with 1 minute between intervals and 3 minutes between sets to add difficulty, add 1 more set – finish with 10 minute cool down at an easy pace (5 – 6).

2) 34 Minute Ladder Workout – another short workout to build stamina.  I like this workout because you get to spend time at various race paces.  It’s a great workout for when you’re pressed for time.

a) After lunges and leg swings, get on treadmill for 10 minute warm up at an easy pace (5 – 6)
b) Complete alternating “hard/easy” intervals for total of 6 minutes as follows.
-5 minutes at your marathon pace + 1 minute recovery at easy pace
-4 minutes at your 1/2 marathon pace + 2 minutes recovery at easy pace
-3 minutes at 10k pace + 3 minutes recovery at easy pace
-2 minutes at 5k pace + 4 minutes recovery at easy pace

If you need a proven marathon training plan or affordable coaching to prepare you for your next race?
Train with me where I provide a CUSTOM EXPERIENCE based on your specific situation.

[Updated] – Treadmill Training & Buying Guide

[Updated] – Treadmill Training & Buying Guide

Marathon Training on a treadmill

Pre Covid 19, I had a lot of experience with 600am or 900pm workouts on hotel gym treadmills.  Last Summer I decided to purchase my own treadmill to take the quality of my home gym up a notch.  I wrote a detailed post about workouts my wife and I now complete with the treadmill, stationary bike, dumbbells and other fitness accessories in our home gym.

I’m updating this post to discuss some workouts & features we most enjoy with our treadmill.  I understand that not everyone can afford $1,500+ treadmills, so I did a little digging for inexpensive treadmills.  The problem is many are not robust enough to handle regular & long use.  You might even consider some to be junk.  I completed a little more research and found a very thorough review site that’s run by a young lady across the river in Portland, OR. If your budget is a bit tight you can still pick up a treadmill to use at home without overspending, Spikes & Heels has a great run down of the best budget models.

Usually my treadmill workouts include gradually increasing the treadmill speed up to 7.5 – 8.0, so I can complete 4 – 5 miles within 30 – 40 minutes.  I also put the incline at 1.5 to 2.0.  To add variety & get me in better shape, I’ve started some actual workouts on the treadmill.  These pre-programed workouts include a hill workout which can get up to 9.0+ and 6+ on the incline.

I purchased the Sole F80 treadmill (pictured below).

Sole F80 Treadmill Review

This is a durable mid range treadmill.  Top speed is 12mph & it comes preprogrammed with 5 workouts + a manual mode.

Sole F80 Treadmill

If you’re considering purchasing any kind of treadmill (not just an economical one), I’ve worked with a friend to put together the following buying guide.


The path to successfully running a long distance running event can be filled with ups and downs and there are going to be times when outside conditions, a work schedule, or some other inconvenience is going to mean that you can’t get a daylight training run in. Sure, you can go for a run after dark, but most people prefer to train in high visibility for safety reasons.

One fantastic investment you can make, budget permitting of course, is in a home treadmill. Treadmills can be a perfect addition to a home gym, or perfectly fine as a stand-alone piece of cardio equipment because they allow you 24-hour access for training. Of course though, treadmills come in all shapes and sizes and the price can vary greatly from model to model.

You don’t want to pay a large sum of money for a treadmill that just doesn’t suit your needs. It’s for this reason that a firm grasp of what to look for in a treadmill is important. To help you with your buying decision, here are 10 points to guide you in your treadmill purchase.


Decide on where the treadmill will be placed within your home and measure it carefully. Keep in mind that most treadmills are heavy and once you place them in a given location, it is may be difficult to move it around too much. It should also have additional space on the sides and back for an easy dismount once you’re done with your workout.


The treads on treadmills often vary in length. If you are tall or an experienced runner, you might want to look for a treadmill with a longer deck that can handle your stride.

Special Features

Treadmills have varying consoles for your vital signs, gadgets and connectivity. Some extra bells and whistles like iPad docks, USB ports or Wi-Fi connectivity are becoming a more prevalent as manufacturers add them to new models they roll out. The best thing to do is choose what features would help you maximize the workout you will be doing.

Treadmill Assembly

Since we have established that a treadmill has significant size and weight, you should check whether it would be fully assembled once delivered or will you need to put it together once it arrives. Treadmills can weigh over 100 kilos and with this in mind, assembly would definitely require more than a single person.


Good quality treadmills are often maintenance-free machines. The time spent maintaining the treadmill, such as lubrication, should be used in other important things and not with the machine. Some manufacturers have considered adding a reversible deck so that when one side is worn out, you can turn it over to a new deck.


We have discussed earlier that when you are searching for a treadmill, you should make sure that it requires the least amount of maintenance possible. Even though this is so, a treadmill still contains electronic parts that may need some maintenance at some point and being a major investment, it would be best to know what warranty comes with the unit.

Apply the acronym R.U.N.

Review the price – Keep in mind your budget. Investing your money’s worth is important and there are a lot of great investments out there.

Understand your needs – are you going to use it for power walks or running? Look at the features offered by each unit and choose which one gives you the workout you need.

Never settle for less – the expensive cost of an item does not always equate to a good buy. Inspect the equipment carefully and try it out.


This feature increases the intensity of your training without the need to increase the speed of the treadmill. It is a good feature for building leg strength for runners. Some lower priced models have only 3 levels of manual incline while larger models can give up to 20 levels of electronic incline.

Speed Range

You can use your goals as a determining factor for your treadmill purchase. Treadmills for running will often have speed capacity two times that of walking treadmills. SO be sure to check the maximum speed capacity before buying.

Built-in Programs

Some treadmills have programs which assists in your training goals. The configurations of the training programs can vary from brand to brand. If you are the type of runner who wants to try out these programs, search for this under its specifications when you are browsing for a treadmill in the store or online.


Purchasing a treadmill can be a hefty investment and getting the best workout from what you’ve spent is the main goal. Take your time and do some research about the treadmill that you would like. This will help you acquire the right treadmill the first time.


Good luck with your treadmill training.  Don’t forget that alternatives to treadmills include stationary bikes, eliptical, stair master and rowing machines.  I use all of these regularly to give my legs, ankles and knees a break from the pounding of running.  This is especially important during marathon training when my mileage is up to 50+ per week.