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The Best HIIT Treadmill Workouts for Better Cardio

If you’re a runner, there’s a good chance you’d agree that there are few things more enjoyable than a run along your favorite trail or route on a beautiful spring or fall day. With the sun shining and a slight breeze, you can bound along for miles as if nothing can stop you. However, with inclement winter weather and dark and cold mornings, many runners turn to the treadmill to get in their workouts and find themselves battling with the all-too-common lack of motivation to run.

treadmills in gym.
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Treadmill running can be boring and monotonous, the minutes feeling like they stretch to an eternity, which is probably why some runners lovingly dub this useful piece of exercise equipment a “dreadmill.” Plodding along at a steady pace will mimic a glorious outdoor distance run, but it can make you long for the days of warmer weather and dry roads. On the other hand, taking on a HIIT treadmill workout can not only boost your fitness and translate to faster race times and better running, but also help the workout fly by. While HIIT treadmill workouts can certainly be challenging, they may just be the ticket you need to embrace treadmill running and boost your fitness. Not sure how to get started? Keep reading for our guide to the best HIIT treadmill workouts, and get ready to hit the speed up arrow.

What Are HIIT Treadmill Workouts?

HIIT stands for high-intensity interval training. It involves alternating short bursts of vigorous exercise with less intense recovery periods in cycles, which allow you to work harder during the intense periods and keep your heart rate elevated throughout the workout—even while you rest. HIIT workouts can be done with any sort of exercise, from squats and burpees to treadmill running.

When it comes to running, treadmills are an especially effective tool for HIIT workouts because you can program in specific speeds and inclines and watch the time right in front of you on the display rather than needing to check your watch and approximate paces on the road or track. HIIT treadmill workouts, therefore, involve cycling between intervals of sprinting or fast running (or up steep inclines) and easy recovery jogs. Most HIIT workouts last anywhere from 15-45 minutes, but there are even HIIT styles, such as Tabata, that last just four minutes.

Benefits of HIIT Treadmill Workouts

running on treadmill.
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HIIT treadmill workouts are no walk in the park—or leisurely jog. You’ll be pushing your body to near-maximal intensity, but the payoff is worth it as there are quite a few benefits of HIIT you’ll reap from engaging in HIIT treadmill workouts, including the following:

  • Boosting metabolic rate
  • Burning calories efficiently
  • Training your anaerobic system as well as the aerobic system
  • Improving your running economy
  • Increasing VO2 max and lactate threshold
  • Building strength
  • Passing the workout time
  • Presenting a mental challenge to conquer
  • Boosting confidence

Best HIIT Treadmill Workouts

The possibilities and configurations of a HIIT treadmill workout are endless. You can choose any sort of hard interval duration, and even change the length throughout the workout. For example, a good HIIT treadmill workout may be sets of 30 seconds hard followed by 30 seconds easy, yet you can also do cycles of 30 seconds hard, 30 seconds easy, 60 seconds hard, 60 seconds easy. There are no rules. That said, all HIIT treadmill workouts should begin with a few minutes of easy running to warm up and should end with easy jogging to cool down and promote circulation of the metabolic byproducts out of your muscles. The best HIIT treadmill workouts should challenge you and leave you wanting to grasp the handrails by the end without crossing the line into being too intense. Below, we share a few of the best HIIT treadmill workouts to get you started.

Best HIIT Workout On the Treadmill.
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20-Minute HIIT Treadmill Workout for Beginners

  1. 5 minute warm up, walking or jogging slowly.
  2. 10 x 30 seconds hard, 30 seconds easy. Aim for a pace that feels like a fast run.
  3. 5 minute cool down walk.

30-Minute HIIT Treadmill Workout for Beginners

  • 5 minute warm up, walking or jogging slowly.
  • 15 x 30 seconds hard, 30 seconds easy. Aim for a pace that feels like a fast run.
  • 5 minute cool down walk.

30-Minute HIIT Treadmill Workout at 6-Minute Pace

Note that you can choose a different pace for your hard intervals. Just choose a speed that feels like you’re working at 85-90% capacity.

  • 5 minute warm up jog.
  • 16 x 45 seconds hard at 10 mph, 30 seconds easy at 6 mph.
  • 5 minute cool down jog.

30-Minute HIIT Treadmill Workout for Experienced Runners

  • 5 minute warm up jog.
  • 20 x 45 seconds hard, 15 seconds easy. For the hard intervals, complete the first ten at 5k pace and the second ten at mile pace.
  • 5 minute cool down.
  • Hit the Distance HIIT Treadmill Workout
  • 5 minute warm up jog.
  • 20 x 0.1 mile at mile race pace, 0.1 mile recovery jog. You’ll cover three miles, with two miles at race pace.
  • 5 minute cool down.

HIIT Hill Repeats

  • 5 minute warm up jog.
  • 1 x 1 minute at 5k pace at 2.0 incline
  • 45 seconds easy and at 0 incline
  • 1 x 1 minute at 5k pace at 3.0 incline
  • 45 seconds easy and at 0 incline
  • 1 x 1 minute at 5k pace at 4.0 incline
  • 45 seconds easy and at 0 incline
  • 1 x 1 minute at 5k pace at 5.0 incline
  • 45 seconds easy and at 0 incline
  • 1 x 1 minute at 5k pace at 6.0 incline
  • 45 seconds easy and at 0 incline
  • 1 x 1 minute at 5k pace at 5.0 incline
  • 45 seconds easy and at 0 incline
  • 1 x 1 minute at 5k pace at 4.0 incline
  • 45 seconds easy and at 0 incline
  • 1 x 1 minute at 5k pace at 3.0 incline
  • 45 seconds easy and at 0 incline
  • 1 x 1 minute at 5k pace at 2.0 incline
  • 5 minute cool down.

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